Celebrating 55 Years With FCPS

By Office of Communications
Employee News
May 16, 2024

Andrea Bregstone, speech language pathologist at Woodley Hills Elementary School, “just loves kids.” 

Her remarkable tenure is proof—she’s in her 56th year of employment with Fairfax County Public Schools! 

When Andi was in college to become a teacher in the 1960s, she took a class on speech therapy for teachers. After that one class, she changed her major. On a visit to a school for children with intellectual disabilities, Andi said, “I don’t know if the supervisor was being facetious or not, but she said, ‘Can you see yourself working with these kids?’ I said, I sure can!” 

And she has! Andi has held the same title for all 55 years of her career and has been at Woodley Hills for the last 26 years. 

“The love of the kids” is what Andi says has kept her working for so many years. “I love seeing their progress, even if it’s at a snail’s pace,” she said. “Working here every day keeps me young! It is my purpose in life to help the children reach their full potential.” 

She generally meets with students for a half hour at a time either one-on-one or in small groups. Some students need support in conversation, building vocabulary, or articulation. “Each child is different,” she said. “You meet each child where they are.”  

two hands of an older person grasp the hand of a young personOver the years, Andi says the caseload has become more manageable. Also, everything is electronic now. “I blame my arthritis on having to write IEPs by hand for many years,” she joked, referencing the Individualized Education Plans used to ensure that students are receiving the services they need. She is also pleased that now students with intellectual disabilities can attend the public schools in their neighborhood. “There is so much more inclusion now, and this is helpful for everyone!” she said. 

Andi has promised parents over the years that she won’t retire until their child is in middle school. And this year, she has a first-grader she wants to see grow and learn. “I just really love them. They give me a reason to get up in the morning and go to work,” she said.

Andi’s supervisor, Uma Chaudhary, said she “has a wealth of knowledge regarding the field of speech-language pathology and how it has evolved over the years. She is a cherished asset to the communication disorders program as she shares her expertise with students, parents, teachers, and other speech-language pathologists in the county. Ms. Bregstone cares deeply about her students and is passionate about their learning journeys.”

Although she also says she has had great principals and great teachers to work with as a team, of course Andrea’s greatest memories involve her students. 

“There are a lot of good memories over the years,” Andi said. She worked at Groveton before direct deposit was used to deliver pay to employees. The principal made an announcement to remind teachers to pick up their checks before they left that day and a little boy said to her, “You get paid for this?”