Outstanding Secondary Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding secondary teachers recognized for 2021

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher 

Jenny HayJenny Hay
English Teacher
Irving Middle School, Region 4

Her famous cookie dough cupcakes aren’t the only thing legendary about Jenny Hay, a devoted teacher and Navy veteran. Whether welcoming students into her cozy classroom with flexible seating, collaborating on a PBL or cross-curricular lesson, or delivering a professional development session, Jenny is a leader who is passionate about teamwork and building authentic relationships in the community. Connection, with some southern sweetness, is her signature strength. “It is these personal connections,” shared a colleague, “that inspire students to learn and achieve in Ms. Hay’s class.” What’s most remarkable is her ability to think beyond the four walls of the classroom. She empowers her students to believe in themselves as impactful game changers who can make a difference in this world.

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Stephen FoxStephen G. Fox
Chemistry Teacher
Edison High School, Region 3

Since joining Edison’s staff, Stephen has sought opportunities to collaborate with and lead his colleagues in blending 21st century learning into instructional practice and infusing Portrait of a Graduate skills into student learning experiences. Although Stephen wears many hats at Edison, his primary role as a science teacher has been creating excitement and deepening understanding of how science shapes the world around us. His students learn through the lens of real-world issues, project-based learning, and constant opportunities for feedback and reflection. As technology integration has become increasingly important, Stephen has strived to promote equitable access for students across the building and has been a model and resource for his colleagues of how to use technology to drive meaningful learning experiences.

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Shannon GrayShannon Gray
Mathematics Teacher
Glasgow Middle School, Region 2

Shannon’s passion and creativity make class engaging for all students. She creates a learner-centered classroom where students have choice and ownership and feel safe and welcome. Since the beginning of virtual learning, Shannon has sought student feedback and used it to improve their virtual learning experience. One of her greatest joys this year has been helping students learn new skills through collaborating with classmates virtually. A colleague shares, “Shannon has a calm demeanor while setting high expectations. She is always adapting and refining her teaching practice ensuring her students are successful. A natural problem-solver, her impact can be felt throughout the whole Glasgow community.” In her classroom and beyond, Shannon demonstrates dedication and enthusiasm that inspire those around her.

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Rob HornfecRob Hornfec
Mathematics Teacher
Lanier Middle School, Region 5

In the past five years, Rob, a veteran teacher, has made the switch from unit-based teaching to a spiraling curriculum that meets the students where they are and increases in rigor throughout the year. Individual student progress is rewarded while continuing to hold the grade level standards as the primary goal, and more students are becoming Algebra-ready. He has utilized power point animations to help visualize abstract concepts and has created YouTube videos of these presentations for student follow-up. His integration of new technology and multiple platforms into this teaching has raised the bar as to how math can connect with students and improve their learning.

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Jane KortanJane Kortan
History & Social Studies Teacher
Herndon High School, Region 1

In her last six years at Herndon High School, Jane has enthusiastically and creatively led the Government, Leadership and Political Science programs to build courses with a focus on developing real world connections for her students. In these courses, she has placed students in internships on Capitol Hill, successfully raised money and matched donors with local families in need, and hosted guest speakers in person and virtually. She serves in a multitude of positions at school and is “one of the few teachers…who can truly connect with her students and can make the classroom feel like home,” writes one student. Another student says, “Our school has become a brighter and more inclusive place because of Ms. Kortan.”

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Jennifer M. SaundersJennifer M. Saunders
Alternative School Teacher
TSRC Vienna, Non-Region

Jenn creates and fosters a classroom environment where students feel safe to take academic risks while honoring their unique abilities, learning styles, and life experiences. As one parent expressed, “Ms. Saunders has the perfect balance between leadership, direction and setting expectations and respect, kindness and understanding.” After being inspired to change her path from social work to special education, Jenn has spent her entire career working with Interagency Alternative Schools. She has the privilege to work with students who thrive in a non-traditional setting and believes in the transformational power of education. With her experience teaching multiple subjects, Jenn models a sense of wonder and curiosity for her students and connects the content to their world and experiences, cultivating life-long learners.

2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher School Recipients

  • Annandale High School
    • Jessica Klein, Mathematics Teacher
  • Bryant High School
    • Tarry Carapezza, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Burke School
    • Cari Schmucker, Learning Disabilities Teacher*
  • Carson Middle School
    • Elly Donlen, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Centreville High School
    • Margot Brown, English Teacher
  • Chantilly High School
    • Nikki Lehman, English Teacher
  • Cooper Middle School
    • Jimmy Kaden, Health & Physical Education Teacher*
  • Davis Career Center
    • Jennifer Kenney, Career & Transition Teacher
  • Edison High School
    • Stephen Fox, Chemistry Teacher*
  • Fairfax County Adult High School
    • Tom Wickham, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Fairfax High School
    • Patric Buchroeder, Band Director
  • Falls Church High School
    • Rhode N’Komba, World Languages Teacher*
  • Franklin Middle School
    • Melissa Rhoden, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Frost Middle School
    • Alexander Lantis, Multiple Disabilities Teacher*
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Shannon Gray, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Hayfield Secondary School
    • James W. Mercer, History & Social Studies Teacher*
  • Herndon High School
    • Jane Kortan, History & Social Studies Teacher*
  • Holmes Middle School
    • James Cho, Mathematics Teacher
  • Hughes Middle School
    • Kristina Burke, Mathematics Teacher
  • Interagency Alternative Schools
    • Jennifer Saunders, Alternative School Teacher*
  • Irving Middle School
    • Jenny Hay, English Teacher*
  • Justice High School
    • Brooke Gehenio, Biology Teacher
  • Key Center
    • Ashli Onunaku, Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Key Middle School
    • Laura Migdal, English Teacher
  • Kilmer Center
    • Kelly Thomas, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Sheryl Jones, General Science Teacher*
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Kat Young, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Langley High School
    • Tricia Poythress, Marketing Education Teacher
  • Lanier Middle School
    • Robert Hornfeck, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Lewis High School
    • Lisa Willson, ESOL Teacher*
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Donna Stebner, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Madison High School
    • Bianca P. Gilbert, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Marshall High School
    • Amanda Kahnell, Art Teacher
  • McLean High School
    • Jamie Heath, Spanish Language Teacher*
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Iris Stubblefield, Learning Disabilities Teacher*
  • Mountain View High School
    • Jeffrey Jones, Physics Teacher*
  • Oakton High School
    • Kathy Plecity, Chemistry Teacher*
  • Poe Middle School
    • Darcy Malone Hood, English Teacher*
  • Pulley Career Center
    • Melissa Bindocci, Career & Transition Teacher*
  • Quander Road School
    • Anne Lewis, Art Therapy Teacher
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Jessica Mayes, English Teacher, Middle School
    • Barb Caley, History & Social Studies Teacher, High School*
  • Rocky Run Middle School
    • Jason Linck, English Teacher*
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Nicole Kasiorek, English Teacher
  • South County High School
    • Walter Bagwell, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • South County Middle School
    • Margaret Wickham, English Teacher*
  • South Lakes High School
    • Cynthia Stowers, Culinary Arts Teacher*
  • Stone Middle School
    • Sandy Rogers, Learning Disabilities Teacher*
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Dan Tra, Math Teacher*
  • Twain Middle School
    • Kristin Pennebaker, Mathematics Teacher
  • West Potomac High School
    • Schavion Smith, Mathematics Teacher
  • West Springfield High School
    • Bradley Swain, History& Social Studies Teacher
  • Westfield High School
    • Gretchen Snyder, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Whitman Middle School
    • Karen Bullock, Family & Consumer Science Teacher
  • Woodson High School
    • Jordan Black, Emotional Disabilities Teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient

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