Sarah Beck Named FCPS 2017 Outstanding School-Based Leader
Sarah Beck, academic dean at Glasgow Middle School, has been named the 2017 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Outstanding School-Based Leader. The announcement was made by FCPS Interim Superintendent Steve Lockard at FCPS Honors, a ceremony for the winners of FCPS employee awards.
“Sarah Beck exemplifies the high level of leadership professionalism that Fairfax County both cultivates and seeks. She has had tremendous influence over the work in our school, and I am certain she will help our district’s future,” says instructional coach Jeniva Miller. “Something unique about Sarah is her innate ability to very quickly synthesize multiple perspectives and determine how they fit within a bigger picture. She has been a tremendous asset as our academic dean to developing, implementing, and guiding our long-term planning.”
Beck began her FCPS career as a U.S. History teacher at Glasgow in 2011. One of her first leadership roles was in 2014 when she worked to redesign and relaunch Glasgow’s PBIS (positive behavior intervention support) program. Former Glasgow principal Penny Gros says that Beck was the driving force behind the program. “She researched, designed, communicated, and directed implementation of school-wide strategy, including explicit behavior expectations, student recognition programs, and increased student interventions.
“Ms. Beck designed and implemented Open Campus, a grade level celebration for students who met quarterly behavioral expectations, and created individualized and personalized remediation plans for students who needed additional support. It was through her leadership that we were able to secure buy-in and engage our entire staff in approaching discipline and behavior expectations in an entirely new way.”
Current principal and nominator Shawn DeRose says that Beck’s strength is in her authenticity. “Simply stated, she leads by example … many times you will find Sarah in the hallway skillfully de-escalating a student conflict while modeling relationship-building. In her leadership of instructional improvement, she consistently taps into her classroom teaching experience as a model to teachers. As one teacher shared, ‘Sarah Beck pushes us out of our comfort zone as we improve instruction for our students. However, she is not just asking us to try something new, she’s deep in the process doing the work alongside us. I am constantly inspired by Sarah’s ability to look ahead as she helps steer the ship at Glasgow.’ ”
Beck is also praised for supporting leaders and schools beyond Glasgow. She has presented multiple workshops on the topic of building school culture, and as a result, her work is now being used in buildings across the district. “I co-presented several sessions with Ms. Beck and our colleagues in Region 2 gravitated to her after the sessions ended. They knew even after a short session they could get better by collaborating with her,” says Gros. “She freely offered her time and expertise to assist colleagues throughout the region with whatever culture challenge they had to solve.”
Finalists for the award included Tiffany Bryant, counselor at Herndon Elementary School; Kristen Rucinski, assistant principal at Gunston Elementary School; Margaret Sisler, school-based technology specialist at Chantilly High School; and Amy Soos, assessment coach at Lake Braddock Secondary School.
For more information, contact Sarah Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.