Outstanding Secondary Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding secondary teachers recognized at 2017 FCPS Honors

2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher 

Sarah Thompson, English Teacher, Twain Middle School, Region 3a picture of sarah thompson

Sarah is lauded as a leader and risk taker who is involved in almost every aspect of Twain. In five years as an English teacher, she pioneered both the flipped and paperless classroom, filming lectures in advance (some of which are spotlighted on the FCPS YouTube page) and using Google to manage class assignments. She also took over the school’s website and is heading up a pilot program to give all students access to individual netbooks. “She has personally brought the use of technology in the classroom to a new level,” says a fellow teacher. Her students benefit from her novel “stress-free writing lessons and ability to relate the texts they’re reading to their own lives. “Her passion transfers to them,” notes a colleague. “It’s rare to see teenagers so excited to read and write.”



2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Allison Bailey, Orchestra Director, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Region 2a picture of allison bailey

In the TJHSST orchestra, Allison has musicians rotate chairs so everyone gets a turn playing in front. While that might seem unusual at the county’s most competitive magnet high school, it’s done by design. “The idea is to create a cooperative group where students are not concerned about being better players than others in the section, but in making beautiful music together,” notes a fellow teacher. Allison still maintains high standards, assigning professional level music she encourages students to interpret creatively. But while the many first place awards TJ has won in her 17 years of teaching are nice, the graduates who return wearing their orchestra t-shirts are why she keeps coming back. “Years from now my students may not remember that they played a Bach Fugue,” she says, “but they will remember that as members of the TJ orchestra they were happy and belonged.”



2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Michael Craven, Special Education Science Teacher, Burke School, Region 4a picture of michael craven

Michael is known for his ability to reach even the most unmotivated students. Coworkers say he has a gift for engaging those who might view themselves as unteachable and for coming up with creative ways to present new material so that it sticks. “He is undaunted by challenges,” says one, “and somehow involved in all the events that make our school so amazing.” This energizes other teachers who see Michael as a passionate mentor and role model who stays above the minutiae so he can concentrate on students. Michael, who came to FCPS after 20 years in retail, says he relies on help from fellow teachers and is guided by the belief that there are multiple ways to solve any problem. “My students teach me that the human spirit is resilient,” he says. “Anyone can overcome some serious issues if they are supported.”



2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Selwyn Lawrence, Business and Information Technology Teacher, South Lakes High School, Region 1a picture of selwyn lawrence

Selwyn’s passion for technology and ability to connect with each of his students has made him “a legend” in his school community. “He’s cracked the code when it comes to forming relationships with high school kids that are professional, but also warm, nurturing and positive,” says a parent. In 20 years of teaching, Selwyn has also cracked the code on how to foster interest in computers and programming, earning praise and national recognition for engaging girls and hard to reach students. A curriculum writer for FCPS’ programming courses, he’s also helped several colleagues achieve their National Board Certification in Technology and is developing a cybersecurity class for next year. “Selwyn,” a colleague notes, “has created an esprit de corps among both students and teachers. He’s a powerhouse of energy and innovation.”



2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Mark Taylor, Orchestra Director, Stone Middle School, Region 5a picture of mark taylor

With his contagious enthusiasm and professionalism, Mark has developed one of the most diverse and popular school orchestras in FCPS. In the eight years he’s been teaching strings at Stone, enrollment in the orchestra has more than tripled. Colleagues credit his approach, which combines the high standards one would expect from a teacher who conducts research, composes and writes in his spare time with the ability to put a student’s social and emotional welfare before their musical development. “He shares his knowledge and leads with his heart,” says one. Mark says he tries to be not just a music teacher but a mentor, who offers students what they need, be it a solo performance or simply an opportunity to belong. “My challenge is to be at my best for each student in each moment,” he says. “To be in tune with them. “



2017 Outstanding Secondary Teacher - School Recipients

  • Burke School
    • Michael Craven, Special Education Science Teacher*
  • Carson Middle School
    • Barbara Poole, English Teacher*
  • Cedar Lane School
    • Kevin Rehrig, English Teacher
  • Centreville High School
    • Margot Brown, English Teacher
  • Chantilly High School
    • Shannon Khatcheressian, Theatre Teacher
  • Davis Career Center
    • Debbie Driskill, Career and Transition Teacher
    • Lauren Forshay, Career and Transition Teacher
  • Edison High School
    • Stacey Kiggins, English Teacher
  • Fairfax High School
    • Erich Dicenzo, Theatre Teacher*
  • Franklin Middle School
    • Linda Gillen, Math Teacher
  • Frost Middle School
    • Julie Healy, Algebra Teacher*
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Lynn Eckerman, Science Teacher*
  • Hayfield Secondary School
    • Bobby Nelson, English Teacher*
  • Herndon High School
    • Ben Hutton, ESOL Teacher*
  • Herndon Middle School
    • Heather Ziab, English Teacher
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Bridget Cheatham, Physical Education Teacher*
  • Hughes Middle School
    • Hannah Prince Converse, English Teacher
  • Irving Middle School
    • Jenny Hay, English Teacher
  • Key Center
    • Richard Ka'ala Rapoza, Severe Disabilities Teacher*
  • Key Middle School
    • Tracey Kyle, Spanish Teacher
  • Kilmer Center
    • Mary Onusko, Special Education Teacher
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Jacky Schnuda, Math Teacher
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Jenifer Celko, English Special Education Teacher
    • Laura Peters, Algebra Teacher
    • David Wickham, Social Studies Teacher
  • Lanier Middle School
    • Greer Mancuso, ESOL Teacher
  • Lee High School
    • Gary Powell, History Teacher
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Erin Murray, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Longfellow Middle School
    • Bindhu Zachariah, Science Teacher*
  • Luther Jackson Middle School
    • Rosanne Tempesta, English Teacher
  • Madison High School
    • Andrew Foos, Social Studies Teacher*
  • Marshall High School
    • Dean Wood, Social Studies Teacher*
  • McLean High School
    • Jennifer Choumil, Biology Teacher
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Glen Peppel, ESOL Teacher
  • Mountain View Alternative High School
    • Jude Welling, Math Teacher
  • Oakton High School
    • Edmund Lau, Mathematics Teacher
  • Pulley Career Center
    • Barbara Henrie, Special Education Teacher
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Jim Evans, High School Mathematics Teacher*
  • Rocky Run Middle School
    • Suzanne van der Eijk, English Teacher*
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Josiah Nuhfer, Physical Education Teacher
  • South County High School
    • David Long, Gourmet Foods Teacher*
  • South County Middle School
    • Sandra Burns, Mathematics Teacher
  • South Lakes High School
    • Selwyn Lawrence, Business and Information Technology Teacher*
  • Stone Middle School
    • Mark Taylor, Orchestra Director*
  • Stuart High School
    • Eric Welch, Government Teacher and AVID
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Allison Bailey, Orchestra Director*
  • Thoreau Middle School
    • Wendy Kamen, Math Teacher
  • Twain Middle School
    • Sarah Thompson, English Teacher*
  • West Potomac High School
    • Nicole Borghard, Social Studies Teacher*
  • Westfield High School
    • Mary Constantino, Biology Teacher
  • Woodson High School
    • Molly Zimpel, Systems of Support Teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient

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