FCPS Honors Recognizes 2021 Outstanding Employees
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) recognized exceptional employees from across the division at the FCPS Honors event held Wednesday, June 9. Sponsored by the Foundation for FCPS, the 2021 celebration was hosted outdoors at Jiffy Lube Live, for the first time. Annually, more than 700 employees in both instructional and operational roles are recognized through the Outstanding Employee Awards Program. This year, 74 finalists representing twelve categories were recognized in the special award ceremony. More information on FCPS’ Outstanding Employee program is here.
Superintendent Scott Brabrand provided opening comments and expressed his gratitude for the efforts of all FCPS staff throughout the pandemic and the preceding school year.
“Together, you created a collaborative workforce and a safe environment where voices, ideas and opinions could be heard. We appreciate you bringing your individual talents and perspectives to your job, and we are lucky to have you. You are treasured members of the FCPS family, an inspiration to us all, and we appreciate your outstanding service.”
A listing of the 2021 FCPS Outstanding Employee finalists in all categories is listed here.
Below are winners in all 12 categories:
2021 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher
Physical Education Teacher
Dave’s dedication and enthusiasm for teaching is shown in every interaction he has at Rose Hill Elementary. He builds meaningful relationships with his students to ensure that their social emotional learning needs are met. His background in Adapted P.E. makes him uniquely qualified to advocate for all students. He is at the forefront of new initiatives and serves as a model for his colleagues to ensure equity is kept firmly at the center of our interactions and instruction with students. Dave has an awareness to know when you’re in need of a quick smile. He’s even surprised his students by dressing up as Spiderman to keep things exciting. Dave is a trusted leader who is an inspiration to staff and students.
2021 Outstanding Secondary Teacher
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 New Elementary School Teacher
Walking past Amelia’s kindergarten classroom, you’ll probably hear singing, see children dancing, and multiple hands raised proudly ready to add into the current discussion. Amelia equally cares about her students’ emotional development and their academic growth. She understands children learn best when they feel welcomed, loved, and represented. Due to the classroom community Amelia has created, her students debate in Socratic Seminars, discuss current events, interview community helpers, play, and elevate their math and reading skills. Amelia allows her students to bring their individuality into her classroom and collaborates with other teachers. She makes silly videos for brain breaks and to teach sight words along with using arts integration lessons and culturally responsive teaching to reach and connect with every student.
2021 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher
Spanish Language Teacher
Empowering Latino students to take advanced Spanish courses at McLean was Melissa’s initial goal. Her actions resulted in higher academic achievement for all McLean students across demographics and a true sense of community among students in the spirit of achievement. Through her dedication to an inclusive environment, she fosters an atmosphere in which students gain academic confidence. For them, it’s a gateway to enrollment in AP courses in addition to AP Spanish. She’s held in high esteem among her colleagues for her leadership of Spanish teams, the Equity Committee, and “Conversations.” Melissa fosters collaboration, a sense of belonging among students and staff, and from this mutually beneficial relationship stems the understanding that we all play a vital role in the future of humankind.
2021 Outstanding Principal
Lindsay N. Trout
The school motto, “We see you. We welcome you. You belong here.” epitomizes Lindsay’s leadership.Through authentic kindness and a passion for people, Lindsay cultivates capacity among children, Terraset staff and families. Her leadership focuses on the strengths of people, a genuine sense of belonging and a culture that empowers adults and students to recognize and reach their potential. This year Lindsay created the concept of #TerrasetTogether to provide a safe place for children to be their authentic selves; for families to share their celebrations and their struggles and for staff to elevate their passion for teaching. Having attended Terraset, Hughes, and South Lakes herself, Lindsay strives to give the children of Reston the gifts that these schools gave her.
2021 Outstanding New Principal
In his first few months, Alfonso began his tenure as principal of Robert E. Lee High School, then pivoted into a role as principal of John R. Lewis High School. Regardless of the name on the building, Alfonso’s focus has been to develop a “Culture of Excellence” among his students, staff, and community. Already, Alfonso has led his community through a worldwide pandemic, a historic school name change, and a transition to virtual learning. As communicated by one of his teachers, “While he has many strengths, his ability to build relationships grounded in respect and empathy stand out. Mr. Smith is approachable, charismatic, perceptive and walks alongside his staff to support the students of John R. Lewis High School.”
2021 Outstanding Operational Employee
Students refer to Ms. Talford as the “Burke Mom,” as her calm demeanor, equitable approach, and instructional skills help them to flourish. Ms. Talford is a unique and exceptional paraeducator who is recognized for her collaborative spirit, content knowledge, and behavior management skills. Her positive attitude, dedication to student success, and organizational abilities make her a regular candidate for positions of leadership, including After School Program Coordinator, new staff mentor, and Equity Team member. Ms. Talford strives to celebrate student diversity within Burke School and to enrich learning with responsive approaches. Trained in cultural proficiency practices, she provides critical support to staff in their efforts to ensure that equity is at the center of teaching throughout the school.
2021 Outstanding Non School-based Operational Employee
As a navigator facilitating enrollment since 2000, Maria builds rapport with families and assists them with their concerns while she ensures parents and students have their critical needs met working to instill a feeling of excitement about FCPS. She builds trust with her diverse team, creating a positive work culture while encouraging them to render “service above self.” The team in the Student Registration Office nurtures and supports each other, celebrates successes, and strives to have fun along the way, and Maria is a big part of that team. She also goes the extra mile working with community members to connect families to additional resources available to them.
2021 Outstanding Professional Employee
School Based Technology Specialist
“What do we want students to know and do?” Margaret focuses on student learning above all else, stepping into conversations with this phrase as she helps educators plan. She leads with empathy and in service of others, supporting their growth regardless of their starting point. The lens she brings to every conversation is a focus on what is best for students. She works to build strong relationships to improve and disrupt systems and traditions that are not yet serving all learners. Margaret is a learner and often brings an idea from a book, podcast or conversation to teachers and teams. She connects ideas and people. Her vulnerability and transparency invite others to also be vulnerable, take risks and grow tremendously.
2021 Outstanding Non School-based Professional Employee
Christopher Lester Daniels
Transportation Operations Manager
Christopher is committed to ensuring the staff that he engages with are supported and rewarded. He is widely recognized for his dedication to staff and student success and timeliness in resolving staff and student needs. Christopher attributes much of his success to his fellow Office of Transportation Services (OTS) team members. He leads by example, appreciating the contributions of other staff in the organization. Christopher takes pride in being a good communicator, listener, positive role model, responsive, and professional. He says “If you are positive and professional, your employees and your organization will be positive and professional.” Christopher strives on a daily basis to ensure he and his team members work hard to carry out the OTS’s mission.
2021 Outstanding School-based Leader
Kathryn Crump Teague, Director, Student Services
“I have an idea,” are the words most often uttered by Kathryn in meetings, conversations, or even when she is at home with family. She is constantly thinking of innovative ways to build a more positive and inclusive community at Lanier. You can often find her walking the halls, checking on students during passing, or having lunch with her mentees. As the lead singer of Lanier’s staff band “The Screaming Eagles,” Kathryn has performed at school pep rallies and successfully delivered opening-of-school professional development through song. Her love of working with middle school students is matched only by her love of data and spreadsheets. She is equally happy helping students strengthen their social-emotional skills and working with her colleagues to analyze data.
2021 Outstanding Non School-based Leaders (two)
Information Technology Support Services
Tracey is dedicated to problem-solving and empowering teams to success. In 2020, every process, need, and problem for every school, department and student household in Fairfax County became a remote technology challenge, and most of them fell squarely into Tracey’s lap. While leading her own teams in deploying remote tech support, COVID-safe distribution of 150,000 laptops to 200 locations, new support streams for thousands of parents, and internet access for thousands of FCPS homes, Tracey was also advising countless principals and department leaders in how to reimagine their functions and tasks with technology. Described as unflappable, positive, collaborative, and resilient, one colleague concluded this: “we quite literally may not have had a school year 2020-21 without her.”
Director III, Food and Nutrition Services
Maria is committed to leading a nutrition program that serves high-quality, healthy meals that are an essential part of every school day and complement the unparalleled education offered in Fairfax. Her tenure of nearly fifteen years with Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has been dedicated to providing year-round nutrition support while enhancing programs and optimizing operational efficiencies to best support families and school communities. Maria also provides strategic direction to the FNS team with a focus on reducing food insecurity, elevating the nutrition integrity of meals, and creating a welcoming cafeteria environment with top-tier service to students – our most important customers. Maria strives to ensure all children receive the nourishment needed to achieve academic success.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Outstanding Employee Awards were postponed. In October, 12 staff members received a surprise video call from Dr. Brabrand announcing that they were the winner in their category. The finalists and winners were invited in November to a small, red-carpet celebration that complied with health, safety and distancing protocols. Employees were also recognized on the Department of Human Resources and school websites, and through a broadcast video sharing these accolades with the broader Fairfax community. Learn more about FCPS 2020 employee honorees who were recognized last Fall.
The Honors event was made possible by the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools, which is the non-profit organization established to assist FCPS in achieving its strategic goals, through philanthropic gifts and public/private partnerships. Sponsors of the evening included: Signature Sponsor – Innovation Health; Highest Honors Sponsor – Apple Federal Credit Union; Honors Sponsors – Cox Business, Guernsey, Kaiser Permanente, and Milestone Towers; Event Sponsors – Finley Asphalt & Concrete, Moseley Architects, and United Bank.