Sharing Our Success From 2022-23 School Year

Sharing Our Success, also available as a printed document, is a reflection of our accomplishments

Dr. ReidMessage from Dr. Reid

Dear Team, FCPS Families, Staff, and Community,

As I begin my second year as superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools and reflect on our accomplishments since 2022, I’d like to thank you for your wonderfully warm welcome. I’m proud to be a part of our vibrant community and, thanks to your partnership over the last year, can truly say that I’m sharing our success!

To those of you I’ve met with, all across our district: thank you for trusting me with your voices, ideas, and experiences. These conversations help us keep our educational commitments to our students–and as a listening leader, they’re critical in helping me keep FCPS strong.

Dr. Reid in science classTo those I haven’t yet had the opportunity to connect with: I’m looking forward to meeting with you! Together, we’ll build on last year’s progress.

This includes our 2023-30 strategic plan, which is our North Star in guiding us towards excellence, equity, and opportunity for each and every FCPS student. This studentcentered, data-driven framework provides academic opportunities at every stage of public education, from ensuring a strong academic start for our youngest students to providing our graduates the tools they need to thrive in any future they choose.

Reid in front of school with studentsI’m very much looking forward to updating you on our measurable progress in meeting these goals, which represent our fundamental commitment to our students: to provide an environment where students feel safe, supported, included, and empowered throughout their education.

Together, we’re anchoring FCPS as the nation’s premier school division. As we continue our journey into the 2023-24 school year and beyond, I’m thrilled for us to continue learning and leading as one community. Together, all things are possible.

Warmest regards,

Michelle C. Reid, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Fairfax County Public Schools

FCPS by the Numbers

FCPS by the Numbers

Accessible data from "FCPS by the Numbers" graphic above

  • 181,851 enrollment as of June 30, 2023
  • Total operating budget: $3.5 billion 
  • Special education: 15.7% 
  • English for speakers of other languages: 20.4% 
  • Economically disadvantaged: 34.9% 
  • Students are from 204 countries and territories 
  • Students speak 200+ home languages
  • Demographics (2022 fall membership): Asian 19%, Black 10%, Hispanic 28%, White 37%, Multiple Races 6%, Native American: .3%, Native Hawaiian: .1%   
  • On-time graduation (class of 2022): 94.1 % 
  • FCPS students mean SAT Score in 2022: FCPS students performed well above state and global averages 
  • 15,474 took an Advanced Placement test in 2022 
  • In 2023, 238 FCPS students were named National Merit Semifinalists
  • FCPS has 842 Commended Students in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • Employees (all employees, including substitute teachers and hourly employees): 39,409 (as of June 1, 2023)
  • 15,788 teachers (as of June 1, 2023)
  • 79.3% of teachers hold advanced degrees 
  • 79 Superintendent community conversations, topic-based community meetings, strategic planning forums     

Strategic Plan 2023-30

Strategic Plan cover imageIn June, The Fairfax County School Board unanimously voted to adopt Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) 2023-30 strategic plan. FCPS’ new strategic plan will direct the school division’s work until the end of the decade.

The new strategic plan’s development involved 124,302 engagement opportunities and significant participation from thousands of FCPS parents/caregivers, staff, students, and community members.

“Our new strategic plan sets us up for success well into the future,” says Rachna Sizemore Heizer, Fairfax County School Board Chair for 2022-23, and member-at-large. “Fairfax County Public Schools is already known for educational excellence, and our strategic plan will build upon that, ensuring our students are well prepared to innovate and thrive after they leave FCPS.”

The strategic plan comprises five student-centered goals; measures to monitor the progress toward those goals; equity commitments to support each and every student with attaining those goals; and four pillars that identify what FCPS must do well in order to reach our goals for all students.

Goals for Strategic Plan 2023-30


Dr. Reid with group of studentsThe strategic plan goals include:
GOAL 1: Strong Start: PreK-12 | Every student will develop foundational academic skills, curiosity, and a joy for learning necessary for success in Pre-K through 12th grade.
GOAL 2: Safe, Supported, Included, and Empowered | Every student will experience an equitable school community where student health and well-being are prioritized, and student voice is centered.
GOAL 3: Academic Growth and Excellence | Every student will acquire critical and creative thinking skills, meet/exceed high academic standards, and achieve their highest academic potential.
GOAL 4: Equitable Access and Opportunity | Every student will have access to high-quality academic programming and resources to support their success.
GOAL 5: Leading for Tomorrow’s Innovation | Every student will graduate ready to thrive in life after high school and with the skills to navigate, adapt, and innovate for a sustainable future.

Guiding Principles for Strategic Plan 2023-30

Guiding Principles

Kids in hallway with iPad“The strategic plan is FCPS’ North Star in ensuring excellence, equity, and opportunity for each and every student now through 2030,” said Superintendent Dr. Michelle C. Reid. “I am incredibly grateful to the entire Fairfax County community for partnering with us to co-author our strategic plan. Together, we have created a blueprint for mountaintop educational opportunities that will support closing achievement gaps and help our students fulfill their greatest academic potential.”

The next steps for implementing the strategic plan involve aligning, prioritizing, and organizing the work of the school division, and establishing a monitoring and reporting structure for the plan. The five guiding principles that informed the development of the new strategic plan are:

  • Student-centered: Keep students at the center.
  • Engaging diverse voices: Create multiple avenues for parents/caregivers, student, staff, and community engagement.
  • Data-driven: Use data to drive the development of the plan.
  • Alignment: Create unity of purpose.
  • Research-based: Development approach and content guided by research.

What's New in FCPS

Play Pays Off as Impact of Middle School Recess is Felt Across Fairfax County

At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, FCPS introduced middle school recess after a pilot program showed this age group does better in the classroom when free play factors into their day. Read more about middle school recess.

middle school student at recess

FCPS Welcomes First-in-Nation Neurodiversity Specialist Amongst Two New Hires to Support Students Who Learn Differently

This year, FCPS became the first public school division in the nation to hire a Neurodiversity Specialist to help ensure students who learn differently, including those with autism or attention challenges, reach their full potential. Learn more about these new hires.

Neurodiversity teacher in classroom

Twilight School Helps Seniors Graduate on Time

twilight schoolFor some seniors, whether they graduate or not comes down to a tough reality, such as attending school or helping support their families or themselves. That is the situation West Potomac High School senior Madelyn found herself in late last year. With the responsibility of a younger sibling to take care of, her schoolwork became less of a priority.

To help Madelyn and others like her, FCPS began a pilot program this spring to provide instruction outside of traditional school hours for students at six high schools across the division. Students meet with teachers in-person, three days a week, from 4 to 6 p.m. and work independently from home for the remaining two days.

“These students are facing difficult times that none of us can even imagine having to manage at a school age,” said Joe Thompson, special projects administrator for the Non-Traditional Schools and Programs who oversees the pilot. “For example, they can be responsible for sibling child care, for financially supporting their family as the primary wage earner, and there can be transportation issues that hinder attendance. “The smaller setting, the flexible setting, the one-on-one aspect, has really given these students the support they need to succeed.”

Teacher Trainee Program Helps Get Qualified Educators in the Classroom

teacher traineeCatherine Coulter seems like the perfect hire for any Fairfax County Public School community looking to bring on a new teacher. Coulter, who has a master’s degree in education, six years of classroom teaching experience, and is an FCPS grad herself, had long wanted to teach in the community where she grew up.

Amid headlines about national and regional teacher shortages, Coulter was eager to stay in the classroom. There was just one hiccup — Coulter has a middle school teaching certification, and she hoped to pivot to teaching elementary students.

A new FCPS teacher trainee program is helping Coulter, and others like her, bridge the gap to start teaching this fall while finishing up requirements to become fully licensed in Virginia. Coulter started in September as a fifth grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Fairfax Station, while taking a four week class in elementary education instructional methods.

“My end goal in being a teacher was always to come back to FCPS and work here,” said Coulter, who spent the last three years teaching in Washington, D.C. “I had the best educational experience here and honestly the reason I wanted to become a teacher is because of the experience I had as a student in FCPS.”

Building Our Future:  Capital Improvement Projects

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) includes dollars for renovations, modular classrooms, additions to existing schools, and construction of new schools. The Fairfax County Public Schools CIP annually reviews current student membership analysis and facilities data to identify future capacity needs and capital requirements. The CIP for FY 2024- 28 includes a five-year membership projection, program capacity utilization, and potential solutions to consider for each school with a capacity deficit.


West Potomac HSWest Potomac High School - An addition was constructed at West Potomac High
School to accommodate increasing enrollment. The building had a program capacity utilization percentage of 119% in SY 2021-22, indicating a substantial capacity deficit. The completed project provides approximately 71,000 SF and and includes science classrooms and a cafeteria. The project construction was funded by the 2019 bond, with planning and design phase
funded by the 2017 bond.

Under Construction

Cooper Middle School - The Cooper Middle School project was identified according to the Renovation Queue, approved in 2009 with additions totaling approximately 179,000 SF. The completed project will provide modern amenities, new classrooms, library, administrative offices, and site improvements including parking, along with removing a modular classroom. Funding: 2015 Bond (Planning), 2019 Bond (Construction) Future Building Area: 179,000 SF Anticipated Future Capacity: 1120 Estimated Completion: Fall 2023

In Planning

Dunn Loring Elementary School - The Dunn Loring Administrative Center project will create a new elementary school, addressing the needs of a rapidly growing community and restoring the site to its original purpose. Honoring the historical significance of the building and land is an important part of the project. Artifacts from the original building will be preserved and displayed in the future elementary school. Additional ways to honor this important history are also being considered. Funding: 2021 Bond (Planning/Design) Future Building Area: 118,000 SF Estimated Completion: 2027

Career and Technical  Education — A Pathway to  Hands-On Success

Our renowned Career and Technical Education programs are second to none. From nursing and cyber security, to carpentry and marketing, our talented instructors bring real world skills and career qualifications that are in demand in today’s workplace right to the classroom. If they so choose, our students can graduate and walk straight from school into a valued profession.

Classroom to Career: FCPS, Giant Team Up to Offer Internships, Job Opportunities to Pharmacy Tech Students

Students can take advantage of a partnership between FCPS and Giant Pharmacy that allows them to earn school credit, get hands-on experience, and potentially lead to a paid position. Learn more about the Pharmacy Tech program.  

Pharmacy Tech student

FCPS Grads Turned Auto Shop Teachers Recount Decades of Service

auto tech teacher and studentVeteran auto technology teachers and best friends Dominic Prakash and David Plum have more than 50 years combined teaching experience in Fairfax County Public Schools. 

The Lake Braddock Secondary School automotive instructors first met in an FCPS auto class themselves at South Lakes High School in the 1980s.

After working as lead automotive technicians at dealerships, both wound up as teachers and have run the Lake Braddock auto shop together for almost 25 years.

They say they share the same work ethic, and trust each other to keep the students’ best interests at heart, whether someone is college-bound and wants hands-on experience before majoring in engineering or aiming for a  career as an auto technician themselves.

“They are the two teachers whose class I look forward to every single day,” student Wesley Carson said. “They teach that life is a lot like operating a manual transmission — you stall sometimes, but you let up the clutch, roll backwards a bit and then keep pushing forward.”

Innovation Every Day

Out of This World Idea with a Local Impact: Middle Schoolers Use Vertical Farming System to Feed Families

Tucked behind Luther Jackson Middle School is a small ordinary-looking shed, but step inside and you’ll see a futuristic vertical farming operation run by engineering studentsand supported by grant funding from Northrop Grumman, Dominion Energy and the Micron Opportunity Fund at the Community Foundation. Learn more about the farming operation

student with plant

Students Explore the Use of Bugs in Global STEM Challenges Program

Students make an enclosure for bugsThe Global STEM Challenges Program at Thomas A. Edison High School has students tackling major environmental issues year-round.

The three-year program, in which ninth graders focus on food access and agricultural issues, 10th graders target clean water, and 11th graders contemplate sustainable energy, makes Earth Day every day.

Global STEM Challenge Program students are tasked with problem solving in teams of their peers, researching current solutions to vexing global matters and then coming up with their own plans to tackle them.

Two groups saw insects as an untapped resource for helping the environment.

One student group turned an unused file cabinet in a Fairfax County Public Schools storage warehouse into a bug incubator. Students transformed the file cabinet into a home for black soldier flies, and plan to use their larvae as a more environmentally friendly food source.

In the same classroom, another group is building a container for mealworms, gathering their “frass,” or waste product, which will drop through a mesh lining on the bottom of the crate into a collection unit to use as fertilizer. Mealworms happily eat plastic, PVC and styrofoam, thereby reducing the waste associated with those materials as well, the students say.

“Our goal is to teach students to break the mold in thinking about critical issues for our society and our planet,” Lead Global STEM Challenges Program Teacher Chris Kniesly, says. “In a traditional classroom, things are very prescribed, you teach a set of circumstances and students are tested on their understanding. In this program, we want students to upend circumstances so they can become changemakers in their future careers.” 

Students Seek Patent for Specialized Walker Designed to Help Parkinson’s Patients

two student inventorsKaavya Karthikeyan and Akanksha Tibrewala attended Greenbriar West Elementary School, Rocky Run Middle School, and Chantilly High School together. With a little extra time on their hands in the height of the pandemic, the two neighbors started playing around with modifying a traditional walker to make it more helpful to people with Parkinson’s.

Akanksha’s great-grandmother suffers from paralysis on the right side of her body, and Kaavya’s neighbor has a grandfather with Parkinson’s disease. “Our personal experiences had shed light onto the issue of people with degenerating muscles,” Akanksha said. “We wanted to do something to help address that.” And so, AutoTrem was born.

The walker on wheels will automatically move forward with the press of a button, and is equipped with a sensor at the front that stops movement if an obstacle is detected in its path. A laser on the top bar of the walker shines light on the ground, and users are directed to try to have their foot reach where the light is — with the goal of increasing stride length over time.

Their work involved consulting with actual patients at physical therapy offices and senior centers, getting their feedback and making adjustments along the way. The friends won the Fairfax Area Student Shark Tank competition, sponsored by the Fairfax Area 50+ Technology Committee, snagging a 2,500 cash prize for their efforts.

Akanksha and Kaavya say their work isn’t over yet though. The duo filed for a U.S. patent, and are awaiting word on if they receive one.

FCPS is a Caring Community

We support and welcome diversity in all forms at FCPS. Our students and staff bring with them differences of religion, race, geography, economic status, and gender identity. We pride ourselves on being a safe space where all can flourish and be appreciated for who they are. 

Family Academy Has Parents Learning Tips to Support Kids in FCPS

On Thursday evenings at Lutie Lewis Coates Elementary School in Herndon, roughly 20 parents are reporting for class. The Coates Elementary Family Academy is intended to be a boot camp of sorts for families adjusting to the American public education system. Read more about the academy.

Parents at Coates ES Academy

Students Get Free  Prom Attire at FCPS-Run Dress Shop

two students in prom shopA prom dress shop run by marketing students from the Fair Oaks Classroom on the Mall program has helped hundreds of financially challenged students attend prom in style each spring since 2006 by providing dresses and accessories at no cost to students. 

The marketing students apply the retail marketing and visual merchandising skills learned throughout the school year to transform a classroom into the Prom Dress Shop.

“Students apply learned marketing lessons to a real-world retail environment,” said Miranda Schick, Centreville High School and Classroom on the Mall marketing teacher. “And they support the School Board’s goals of helping students succeed beyond the classroom through Portrait of a Graduate attributes, including communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and global citizenship skills.”

Engineering with Empathy: Students Design Devices to Help Those in Need

student holding assistive deviceEighth grader Rishab Nanduri made a brace to help people with spinal cord injury inspired by his father’s back pain woes. His classmate Aasritha Duriseti made a specialized bottle cap opener after watching her grandmother struggle to open things on her own. And Roman Moreno-Hines made a “third thumb” that he hopes will help people with arthritis hold objects longer after noticing his grandfather’s difficulty hanging onto coffee mugs.

It’s all part of an “Engineering With Empathy” unit created by Rachel Carson Middle School Instructor Mark Bolt for students in his Engineering 3 elective course.

“The overarching goal of this project is for my students to understand that empathy is an important component of engineering,” Bolt says. “Engineers need to understand their users’ needs, and put themselves in the users’ shoes, in order to then build an effective solution.”

Bolt challenged his students to start the project by researching various disabilities and the obstacles individuals must overcome to perform daily tasks. Then he had students construct an adaptive device, have classmates test it and give feedback that can be used to improve the item.

“I loved the real world element,” said Rishab Nanduri, who made the back brace with velcro straps, chipboard, and fabric that he hopes would help people like his father on a daily basis.

See Our Amazing Students Shine

Our students amaze us every single day. We encourage them to reach for the stars.

Kilmer Middle School Student Organizes First Ever Nationwide Spelling Bee for Mongolian Immigrants

Last year, Erdem Dulguun, a Kilmer Middle School eighth grader, made history by organizing the first ever Mongolian Spelling Bee competition. Read more about the spelling bee

Kilmer MS student organzied spelling bee

Students Build and Launch Satellite into Space — the Culmination of a Seven-Year Project

TJ StudentsThe launch was the culmination of seven years of hard work for TJ Space. Led by Robotics Lab Director Kristen Kucko, many students from the high school a hand in this historic launch.

“TJ REVERB is significant because the CubeSat was designed, built, coded and integrated entirely by high school students,” said Kucko. “The students did not use a satellite kit, nor did they have an industry or university partnership to assist them. Building satellites is not an easy task. According to Col. Nick Hague, astronaut, countries have not been able to build CubeSats. The students in TJ Space should be proud of their accomplishments.”

CubeSats are a small satellite, about the size of a tissue box. The technology was developed by Cal Poly and has become the industry standard. CubeSats allows for more standardized and cheaper deployment of satellites. TJ was the first high school in the world to launch its own CubeSat in 2013, called the TJ3SAT.

From Paris for $50 to K-Pop Immersion in Seoul: AHS Students Win Study Abroad Scholarships

students who won scholarshipsBarcelona. Berlin. Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Ghana. Rome. These are some of the places where 19 Annandale High School students spent their summer, aided by a collective $75,085 in scholarship funding they won after being encouraged to apply for the grants by their teachers.

“For $50, I’m going to Paris,” Meilhi Leon, a freshman, says. Meilhi says she learned about the opportunity, which comes through CIEE Global Navigator’s School Partnership program, in French class.

Annandale High School has a special partnership with the Council on International Exchange that results in some funding being earmarked for the school because of its commitment to world language instruction and having staff who are working to build awareness of scholarship opportunities to study abroad.

Annandale High School teachers pitched the program to students as a great opportunity to learn how to fill out applications, a life skill they hope the teens will remember when they begin the college application process, says Laura Wells, who coordinates the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. AVID classes seek to assist students with organization, writing, and college/career awareness.

“This chance to put themselves outside of their comfort zone is also important to success in college,” she says. “Studies show that one factor impacting the ability to adjust to college is having had an experience living away from your parents — whether study abroad, living on a college campus — so I am always trying to push kids to seek out these types of programs. It’s an enrichment opportunity.”

Shining a Spotlight on the Arts

“When I Sing, It Feels Like I Am Floating in a Space of My Own”

Nine talented students from Daniels Run Elementary School in Fairfax flew to Florida this spring after being selected to perform at a national music teachers convention. The seven sixth-graders and two fifth-graders made it through a tough audition process competing against elementary-aged students from across the U.S. and Canada. Learn more about this group of singers.

music teacher with singers

Student Theater Critics Learn Art of Writing Reviews, Help Honor Peers Through Cappies Program

theatrer productionThe Cappies (Critics and Awards Program) is an international effort to recognize, celebrate, and provide learning experiences for high school theater and journalism students that was launched in FCPS.

Within each Cappies program, every participating high school selects three to nine students for a critic team. After receiving intensive training in theater criticism and review writing, the team attends plays and musicals at other high schools in their area, and then writes 300-600 word reviews on deadline.

Volunteer teacher-mentors lead discussions and select the critic-written reviews that are later published by area newspapers, with student bylines. The student critics also determine who will be placed on a Cappies award ballot in each of 39 award categories.

At the end of the season, the critics who have reviewed five or more shows may vote for the Cappies award winners. A gala awards ceremony is held at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., every June.

Student Mentors, Led by Sisters, Share Love of Music

music mentor helps elementary school studentsOn Tuesdays after school, a group of middle and high school students volunteer their time and share their passion for classical music while mentoring elementary students at Dogwood Elementary School. The room is filled with lively sounds from the piano and string instruments, layered with laughs and words of encouragement. 

The room is filled with lively sounds from the piano and string instruments, layered with laughs and words of encouragement. 

Founders — and sisters — Ella Kim, of Oakton High School, and Emma Kim, of Rachel Carson Middle School, first performed piano and violin at Dogwood as part of an Instagram takeover for WETA’s Classical Radio Station, highlighting their lives as young classical musicians. They decided that they wanted to bring Dogwood students free music lessons on a weekly basis. The sisters began recruiting their friends to join their initiative. They partnered with FCPS teachers to help form music and art curriculums and train mentors on how to teach and engage with the mentees in a fun way. 

They also created an Amazon wish list that included keyboards, art supplies, and music books. For Dogwood Principal Kate Beckner, the value of the program is in students inspiring others by sharing their gifts and talents. “It’s beautiful to see students sharing their blessings with younger students,” she says.

Specializing in Special Education

Marching On: Student Who Is Deaf Shines on Drumline

Michael Gouin, a junior last year at Woodson High School, is completely deaf, but you wouldn’t know when you listen to him play his snare drum as part of his school’s drumline.

“I’ve been playing for about four years,” said Michael. “Other instruments have different sounds and it’s very hard for me to hear. The drum only has one sound. It’s louder than other instruments, so it works well for  me.”  Read more about Michael. 


Delicious! Handmade Cookies Get the Thumbs Up from our Superintendent

Student deliver cookies to superintendentYoung adults with disabilities enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at the Davis Career Center handdelivered cookies they made from scratch as a special gift to welcome Dr. Reid to FCPS.

The students who swung by her office with the special delivery were enrolled in the program, which teaches students skills like baking, cooking, catering, and food service. “These look incredible! Wow! My cookies never look this good!” Dr. Reid said in delight as culinary student Isvar Komakula handed her the cookie bouquet.

Culinary Teacher Lauren Forshay said the students light up when they see what they’ve accomplished. “To be able to see a product from start to finish is very educational and very rewarding for these students,” Forshay said.

Celebrating Our Exemplary Staff

Each year we recognize exceptional employees from across the division at the FCPS Honors event. More than 700 employees in both instructional and operational roles are recognized through the Outstanding Employee Awards Program. This year, 67 finalists representing 12 categories were recognized in the special award ceremony. Read about all the winners.

List of 12 Award Winners

Outstanding Elementary New Teacher
Elogien I. Ali | Sixth Grade Teacher, Saratoga Elementary School

Outstanding Secondary New Teacher
Melvin Burch-Bynum | JROTC Marine Senior Instructor, Mount Vernon High School

Outstanding New Principal
KJ An | Eagle View Elementary School

Outstanding School-Based Operational Employees
Alexa Pugnetti | Administrative Assistant I, Woodson High School
Leonard Roberts | Custodian II, Bull Run Elementary School

Outstanding Nonschool-Based Operational Employee
Nicole C. Wheeler | Bus Driver Supervisor, Lorton Center, Transportation

Outstanding School-Based Professional Employee
Katelyn M. Hagen | Intervention Specialist, South County Middle School

Outstanding Nonschool-Based Professional Employee
Ken Wilson | Safety Specialist, Gatehouse Administration Center, Facilities

Outstanding School-Based Leader
Karen J. Hertel | Assistant Principal, Bryant High School

Outstanding Nonschool-Based Leader
Alice Wigington | Executive Director, Budget Services, Gatehouse Administration Center, Financial Services

Outstanding Elementary Teacher
Laura Senturia | Fourth Grade Teacher, Colin Powell Elementary School

Outstanding Secondary Teachers
Daniel J. Miller | English Teacher, Fairfax High School
Annie Ray | Orchestra Director, Annandale High School

Outstanding Principal
April Cage | Garfield Elementary School

Class of 2023 Graduation

Farewell and Congratulations to Our Seniors!

Grads Return to Elementary School to Open Sixth Grade Time Capsule

For eight years, Wendy Casual, a former sixth grade teacher, has returned to Lynbrook Elementary School with newlyminted high school graduates who were once her students. Six years earlier, Casual had her then students build time capsules to be opened in June of their graduation year. Find out what was in the time capsules

Students opening time capsules

Teen Mom Is First in Family to Graduate: Bryant Senior Delivers Speech, Inspiration

Anyeli Saiguero at graduationAnyeli Salguero, a 16-year-old Bryant High School senior, received her high school diploma this June, a year ahead of schedule, with her 20-month-old daughter in her arms.

In doing so, she made history in her family: A Honduran immigrant who moved to the U.S. at age 7 while speaking little English, Anyeli is the first to earn a high school diploma. 

Her mother and father both left school after eighth grade, and her grandmother stopped going after first grade, she says.

“They are all so proud and excited for me,” Anyeli said. “My daughter is proud and excited for me too — like my graduation cap says: my diploma is her future.” Anyeli is grateful for a Fairfax County Public Schools program known as Project Opportunity, an initiative that aims to keep expectant and new parents on track to getting their high school diploma.

She transferred to Bryant High School in 2021, knowing Bryant had a daycare center on site. At first she would trudge to school in the August heat while seven months pregnant, since she lived less than a mile from the school and didn’t qualify for bus service.

She found staff at Bryant were flexible and eager to help. Principal Chris Larrick arranged for her to take a bus to school. Counselor Margaret Veenstra and other Project Opportunity staff helped her obtain a car seat, play pen, and diapers before her daughter was born. Anyeli says Bryant ensured school could be part of her life as a new mother. “The staff helped me a lot: there was homebound learning, I had a teacher bring both school work and diapers to my house, and I applied for the daycare in the building and by the time I was ready to go back to school my daughter had been accepted.”

She heads to Northern Virginia Community College in the fall, where she plans to study business administration and get her associate’s degree. “I get a lot of judgment being a mom at such a young age,” she says. “But, I see my future as bright right now.”

It Takes a Village

Seniors Make A SUBstantial Difference in FCPS Schools

Bunni Cooper, or Ms. Bunni as she’s known to students, has had students ask her to serve as a fill-in grandma. She’s also had a group of “feisty” sixth graders ask her to join them at their cafeteria table for regular lunches — and she obliged. Cooper, who worked at the World Bank for 23 years before retiring and becoming an FCPS substitute, gets hugs in the hallway and warm greetings from students she passes in the hallway on their way to recess. Read more about this substitute teacher.

Bunni Cooper

Native American IT Manager Taps Cultural Roots

Native American employeeRufus “Rick” Kelly knows he could do information technology work anywhere. But the Fairfax County Public Schools’ senior technology specialist says his Native American roots and cultural upbringing led him to a 30-year career in public education.

While working for a large technology company in his 20s, Kelly says he realized he wanted to do something else with his life.

“I needed to satisfy my social conscience,” Kelly said, adding his Native American upbringing instilled the value of public education. Over 30 years at FCPS, his work has gone beyond information technology: he’s offered input to the Virginia Department of Education on state curriculum and Virginia’s Indians. He’s met with elementary school classes and hosted learning luncheons with coworkers to teach them about Native American history and beliefs.

Both Bus Driver…and Mentor

bus driverJay Corwin is a bus driver who took a student with special needs under his wing. The student barelyspeaks to adults, but has bonded with Jay. Jay visits the student’s school once a week for an hour to play games and draw pictures.

“I absolutely love helping people,” Jay says. “BeforeI joined FCPS I was a Fairfax County firefighter for 30 years where I got to help people everyday. When I became a bus driver I saw that I could continue to help people, and it’s for that reason I was excited to become a mentor.”

Custodians Care for More Than Buildings

Frank SartoFrank Sarfo, Little Run Elementary School custodian, cares not only about the Little Run building, but also for everyone who uses it.

Mr. Frank, as he is affectionately known, is originally from Ghana, where he was a soccer player. Mr. Frank has been known to fix a student’s bike during the school day so the student could ride home. When a kindergartener was anxious and refusing to go to school, he began to excitedly greet him and walk him in. He is a super star in the annual sixth grade vs. school staff kick ball game (dressing head to toe in his Ghanaian soccer uniform).

“Frank comes to school every day to do his assigned job, but he also models kindness,” says Little Run Principal Christie Yarn.

Fairfax County School Board Members

school board membersThe 12 School Board members are elected for four-year terms; one member represents each of the County’s nine magisterial districts, and three members serve at large.

Elaine Tholen, Chair and Dranesville District Representative
Karl Frisch, Vice Chair and Providence District Representative
Megan McLaughlin, Braddock District Representative
Tamara Derenak Kaufax, Franconia District Representative
Melanie K. Meren, Hunter Mill District Representative
Ricardy Anderso,n Mason District Representative
Karen Corbett Sanders, Mount Vernon District Representative
Laura Jane Cohen, Springfield District Representative
Stella Pekarsky, Sully District Representative
Karen Keys-Gamarra, Member-at-Large
Abrar Omeish, Member-at-Large
Rachna Sizemore Heizer, Member-at-Large
Rida Karim, Student Representative

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  • Instagram - @fairfaxcountypublicschools
  • Twitter - @fcpsnews
  • Spanish Facebook - @fcpsES
  • Spanish Twitter - @fcpsES

Stream live School Board meetings on FCPS website

Call us at 571-423-3000 (General Information) 

Educate Fairfax

Educate Fairfax is a 501 (c)3 non profit that works to make a positive difference in the lives of FCPS students and our community.


Sharing Our Success - Printable Copy (PDF)