2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader, Finalists, and School Recipients

The Outstanding School-Based Leader, Finalists, and School Recipients For 2023

The Outstanding School-Based Leader Award recognizes school-based leaders who demonstrate outstanding leadership and strengthen and improve the learning environment through their work. Any FCPS employee or community member may nominate an employee who is a Schedule C employee that has held the position for at least one full year for this award.

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader 

Karen J. HertelKaren J. Hertel

Assistant Principal
Bryant High School, Non-Region 

Karen's leadership philosophy is deeply anchored in trust, transparency, humility, and accountability, forming an unwavering foundation for instructional excellence. She actively collaborates with the community and business partners and procures vital resources for Bryant High School students and their families. Under her guidance, the resource room was transformed, empowering student service leaders to prepare essential "to-go" bags and kits for families in need. Her approach to leadership is centered around the school's core beliefs, which include family, excellence, and relationships. As a passionate, collaborative, and communicative leader, Karen cultivates an enriching learning environment where staff and students thrive. She perceives each interaction with students as a chance to fortify relationships, deliberate on aspirations, and develop skills crucial for post-secondary success.

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalist

Serena Andrea GironSerena Andrea Giron

Director of Student Services
Holmes Middle School, Region 2

One way to describe Serena is through Maya Angelou's famous quote, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." She has the tenacity to bring out the best in others and influence team collaboration while giving others a voice and space to lead. Serena stretches the staff's thinking, grounds them in being student-centered, and considers their perspective. She continuously promotes deep and critical thinking with staff to increase their sense of efficacy. Also, she is intentional about building relationships with staff, students, and families to support and maintain a positive school culture.

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalist

Kate KirklandKate Kirkland

Assistant Principal
Mount Eagle Elementary School, Region 3

"Stay curious just a little longer. It will lead you to a better place." This is the guiding principle of how Kate Kirkland approaches every interaction. Kate sees an opportunity to develop a partnership built on mutual respect and equality, whether with a student, parent, or staff member. She models what it means to collaborate and build something stronger to serve all students. Kate's superpower is her ability to create processes to hold all accountable for excellence. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) she co-constructed with school staff. One teacher said, "It has been a hard couple of years, and Kate has had unfailing empathy, patience, and optimism."

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalist

John McCaughanJohn McCaughan

Assistant Principal
Katherine Johnson Middle School, Region 5

John sees a miracle and purpose in all children. His mission is to help students grow positive relationships with others as they navigate the challenges and experiences of daily school life. By building those connections with one student, parent, and teacher at a time, John finds an opportunity for learning within each interaction. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), restorative justice, and partnerships with parents highlight the collaborative tools John uses to impact relationships. For example, his "spiraling strategy" efforts led the math department to post some of the highest achievement results in the division for Katherine Johnson's exceptional education students. John also has a joyful heart in guiding students to be their best version.

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalist

Lisa M. O'DonovanLisa M. O'Donovan

Assistant Principal
Wolftrap Elementary School, Region 1

Lisa believes in the power of building strong relationships with those she serves. An integral part of building those relationships is modeling positivity, being visible in the school building and the community, being transparent in all communication, and learning alongside others. She cultivates a caring community by meeting students in the hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, and at dismissal. In addition, Lisa dedicates the time and opportunity needed to help grade-level teams plan for student success while making them feel valued as leaders and decision-makers. She can often be seen singing with the chorus, joining a violin class, or throwing the football at recess. Lisa's attention to relationship building shows a commitment to a caring culture at her school and across the division.

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalist

ann wongAnn Wong

Associate Principal
Robinson Secondary, Region 4

True to the quote on her office wall, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Ann leads by example and models best practices. Ann is responsible for establishing a school leadership plan to support instructional practices that impact student growth. In doing so, she guides the work of the Instructional Council, Collaborative Team leaders, and schoolwide professional development to elevate excellence for all. Ann is dedicated to creating an inclusive, caring culture and fosters strong relationships with students, staff, and the Robinson community. One of her teachers noted, “Ann has proved to be a supportive, positive, and motivational leader. She deeply cares about education and does what is best for teachers and students at Robinson.”

Outstanding School-Based Leader Finalists Slideshow

2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader School Recipients

  • Annandale High School
    • Sarah Eqab - Assistant Principal
  • Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
    • Mirnaly Vega - Assistant Principal
  • Bonnie Brae Elementary School
    • Elaine Woo - Assistant Principal
  • Braddock Elementary School
    • Holly Dowling - Assistant Principal
  • Bryant High School
    • Karen Hertel - Assistant Principal *
  • Bull Run Elementary School
    • Susanne Shahidi - Assistant Principal
  • Burke School
    • Thomas Sweet - Assistant Principal
  • Canterbury Woods Elementary School
    • Melinda Milliron - Assistant Principal
  • Cardinal Forest Elementary School
    • Keith Hirsch - Assistant Principal *
  • Centreville Elementary School
    • Rachel Forte - Assistant Principal
  • Centreville High School
    • Mike Parker - Assistant Principal *
  • Chantilly High School
    • Corey Bowerman - Director of Student Activities
  • Chesterbrook Elementary School
    • Farris Thomas - Assistant Principal *
  • Churchill Road Elementary School
    • Jennifer Niccolls - Assistant Principal
  • Clearview Elementary School
    • Joshua Redford - Assistant Principal
  • Clermont Elementary School
    • Trevia Younger - Assistant Principal
  • Crossfield Elementary School
    • Barbara Fant - Assistant Principal
  • Daniels Run Elementary School
    • Michael Parker - Assistant Principal
  • Dranesville Elementary School
    • Allison Hoak - Assistant Principal
  • Fairfax High School
    • Troy Ketch - Assistant Principal
  • Fairfax Villa Elementary School
    • Shelia Sobeski - Assistant Principal *
  • Fairhill Elementary School
    • Courtney Korb - Assistant Principal
  • Fairview Elementary School
    • Meghan Ehrman - Assistant Principal
  • Falls Church High School
    • Missy Brady - Assistant Principal *
  • Flint Hill Elementary School
    • Ross Baker -  Assistant Principal
  • Floris Elementary School
    • Robert Gibbs - Assistant Principal
  • Forest Edge Elementary School
    • Ashley Fisher - Assistant Principal
  • Forestdale Elementary School
    • LaDonna Tate - Assistant Principal
  • Fort Belvoir Primary School
    • Mary Flint - Assistant Principal
  • Fort Hunt Elementary School
    • Katie Pluntke - Assistant Principal *
  • Franklin Sherman Elementary School
    • Scott Ralston - Assistant Principal
  • Frost Middle School
    • Phil Hudson - Assistant Principal
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Steven D'Adamo - Assistant Principal
  • Greenbriar East Elementary School
    • Amy Showker - Assistant Principal *
  • Greenbriar West Elementary School
    • Jordan Cook - Assistant Principal
  • Halley Elementary School
    • Lucy Zamora -  Assistant Principal *
  • Haycock Elementary School
    • Heather Boyd - Assistant Principal
  • Herndon Elementary School
    • Elizabeth Baxter - Assistant Principal
  • Herndon High School
    • Christina Oh - Assistant Principal *
  • Herndon Middle School
    • Fran Furr - Assistant Principal *
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Serena Giron - Director of Student Services
  • Hutchison Elementary School
    • Jackie Wilson - Assistant Principal
  • Irving Middle School
    • Marguerite Gollinger - Director of Student Services
  • Justice High School
    • Evan Carter - Assistant Principal
  • Katherine Johnson Middle School
    • John McCaughan - Assistant Principal *
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Christopher Musgnug - Assistant Principal
  • Kings Glen Elementary School
    • Cindy Agner - Assistant Principal
  • Lake Anne Elementary School
    • Brittany Rogers - Assistant Principal *
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Lindsey Kearns - Associate Principal
  • Langley High School
    • Braden Peterson - Director of Student Services
  • Laurel Hill Elementary School
    • Addison Smith - Assistant Principal
  • Lemon Road Elementary School
    • Angela Ulsh - Assistant Principal *
  • Little Run Elementary School
    • Colleen Vaughan - Assistant Principal
  • Longfellow Middle School
    • Amy Smith - Assistant Principal
  • Lorton Station Elementary School
    • Dawn Champion - Assistant Principal *
  • Louise Archer Elementary School
    • Jennifer Condra - Assistant Principal
  • Mantua Elementary School
    • Richard Deixler - Assistant Principal
  • Marshall High School
    • Joe Swarm - Director of Student Activities
  • McLean High School
    • Greg Miller - Director of Student Activities
  • Mosaic Elementary School
    • Jenny Smith - Assistant Principal *
  • Mount Eagle Elementary School
    • Kate Kirkland - Assistant Principal *
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Karin Boyd - Assistant Principal
  • Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School
    • Kathryn Ngo - Assistant Principal
  • Oak View Elementary School
    • Raegan Hanson - Assistant Principal
  • Oakton High School
    • James Oberndorf - Assistant Principal
  • Olde Creek Elementary School
    • Alison Butler - Assistant Principal
  • Parklawn Elementary School
    • Alison Meadows - Assistant Principal *
  • Pine Spring Elementary School
    • Jennifer Ganci - Assistant Principal
  • Poe Middle School
    • Nate Beard - Assistant Principal
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Ann Wong - Associate Principal *
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Sarina Moses - Assistant Principal
  • Sangster Elementary School
    • Karen Kleiber - Assistant Principal *
  • Saratoga Elementary School
    • Abigail Lower - Assistant Principal *
  • Shrevewood Elementary School
    • Katie Vandawalker - Assistant Principal
  • South County High School
    • Claudia Pirouzan-Jones - Assistant Principal
  • South County Middle School
    • Jon Halterman-Mitchell - Assistant Principal
  • South Lakes High School
    • Erin Sikes-Thurston - Assistant Principal
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Cynthia Hawkins - Assistant Principal *
  • Twain Middle School
    • Stephen Fitzgerald - Director of Student Services
  • Union Mill Elementary School
    • Jennifer Skerker - Assistant Principal
  • Waples Mill Elementary School
    • Joan Olinger - Assistant Principal
  • West Potomac High School
    • Ivan Johnson - Assistant Principal
  • West Springfield High School
    • Leah Conte - Director of Student Activities
  • Westfield High School
    • Terri Towle - Director of Student Activities
  • Willow Springs Elementary School
    • Lesley Hassen - Assistant Principal
  • Wolftrap Elementary School
    • Lisa O'Donovan - Assistant Principal *
  • Woodburn Elementary School
    • Elizabeth Watson - Assistant Principal
  • Woodson High School
    • Josh Peters - Director of Student Services

*Denotes pyramid winner

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