Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. I’m Lisa High, the assistant superintendent for Falls Church City Public Schools. It’s a great day in Falls Church because we’re honoring 15 employees and nine community partners for the commitment that they show to our students each and every day. These individuals are shining examples of the many dedicated, talented people who work on behalf of our children. In the nominations of these awards, colleagues, students, supervisors, and parents wrote beautiful testimonies about the work that they do day in and day out. I wish I could read them all bu,t in the interest of time, our presenters will read the quotes from some of the nominations. Listen for some of the common words among the descriptions that you will hear this evening. Commitment, dedication, love, creativity, collaboration, kindness, and leadership. First, we’re going to recognize eight community partners who contribute to the schools in a number of ways. The Business In Education Advisory Committee, also known as BIE, selected these honorees to recognize and thank them for the support to FCCPS. Here are Eric Pellton, chair of the BIE, and Mary Beth Connelly, community outreach director, to talk to you about the honorees. Mary Beth? Eric? You may not know, some of you know but a lot of you may not, Falls Church schools are involved in hundreds of meaningful partnerships with members of our business and nonprofit community, and it’s my pleasure in my job to work with many people who are eager to share their expertise in our schools. Some partnerships take place in classrooms, others involve work with PTAs on fundraisers. How many of you been to a Dine Out Night recently? There’s one at Mike’s Deli right now. You can leave and go to Mike’s Deli and raise money for the George Mason SCA. So we have 6 Falls Church Honored Business Partners. First up is Pizzeria Orso. Falls Church City Public Schools, student clubs and PTA s and other groups hold Dine Out Nights and Days every week. These promotions bring in a significant amount of money to the schools and help build community. Pizzeria Orso is special because they make fundraisers into big parties and celebrations. Since opening in Falls Church in 2010, they’ve hosted athletic boosters, band boosters, PTAs and more for fund raising, and their food is amazing. Chef Shamel has been known to visit the Career Fair at Mary Ellen Henderson and to talk with students about restaurant careers. Please join me in congratulating Pizzeria Orso as a special partner this year. Our next honored partner is Jazzercise. Sandy Kierse, the owner of Falls Church Jazzercise, is committed to showing everyone the joy of dancing and motion. For the past five years, she’s partnered with Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School physical education teachers to teach two full days of Jazzercise to seventh grade students. Think about that for a minute. Two full days of Jazzercise getting middle schoolers to dance. She makes it fun, and she gets even the most hesitant students dancing and moving. And this year, she’s also volunteered at George Mason and taught classes there as well. So here they are dancing in the gym. Three years ago, Kim Wilkins from the US Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review reached out to our schools to offer a unique partnership. Her department had identified outreach to middle and high school students as a priority. Dr. Dippold from Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School accepted Kim’s offer, and over the years small groups of seventh graders have visited the USDOJ offices in Bailey’s Crossroads for Lunch and Learn events tied to Women’s History Month ,African American History Month, and much more. The students have also been treated to inspirational speakers from NASA, Historic Alexandria, and the US Holocaust Museum. They’ve shared lunch with employees of the USDOJ EOIR, who talked to them about their careers and life stories. To make it a true partnership, Kim and her colleagues have also visited Mary Ellen Henderson to serve as judges for Shark Tank, Husky Chef, and election programs. Please join me in thanking Kim and everyone at the USDOJ EOIR for your support. Our next partner is Supercuts. they opened two years ago and within days they were sponsoring the Falls Church Education Foundation Run For The Schools, and they’re willing to be really creative and fun. On the first day of school for new teachers last year, Supercuts discovered that the teachers would be having lunch at Mad Fox, so they made this banner and put it in the window to welcome them to Falls Church. They’ve also sponsored the Run For The Schools, and at the finish line anyone can have their hair done with hair spray or braids. And most recently, they worked with the athletic boosters to do the same thing at basketball games and at Spring Fever Family Fun Night. It would be easy to take the partnership with Mary Riley Styles Public Library for granted. After all, they work with kids and families every day, just like our schools. However, the library regularly goes above and beyond any expectations, hosting field trips for first graders to get library cards visiting Jesse Thackery every week for story hour, and loaning books to students at Jesse Thackery since they don’t have its own library. Our library also has a program to get teenage volunteers involved and to visit George Mason to recruit students. Starting next month, the library will be working with school staff and the Falls Church Police Department to launch Read & Roll which is a bookmobile program that will make sure all students have books in their homes over the summer. We don’t have a picture yet since its upcoming this summer, but here’s a sneak preview of that logo. Thank you, Mary Riley Styles, for all you do for our schools. And we’ve got a Rookie Of The Year award as well. Zoya’s Atelier opened in January. and they jumped right into the community. Zoya’s is a high-end dress shop. It’s right across the street from Harris Teeter if you haven’t been there yet, it’s a wonderful place, and Zoya leapt at the opportunity to visit an eighth grade fashion design class, and the students love learning from her. She’s right there in the middle of all the eighth graders. They’ve also sponsored a special reception for the Education Foundation, donated prizes to the winners of Mr. and Ms Mason, and we’re really glad they’ve come to our community and are ready to work with the schools. This year, the BIE also voted to name three companies to the Virginia School Boards Association Business Honor Roll. Orange Twist is a locally owned jewelry business. They’ve outfitted hundreds of Falls Church girls and women in fun, fancy bling, such as on the photos you’re seeing. Owners Andrea Roberson and Mary Asoll are also committed partners with our schools, both as parents and business owners. They can be seen at the Career Fair talking about entrepreneurship, and they’ve also been a major sponsor of the Falls Church Education Foundation’s gala for the last five years donating jewelry, funds, and fun to help make this fundraiser a tremendous success. But wait, there’s more. Mary also serves on the board of the Falls Church Education Foundation, and her house was recently featured as one of the locations on the Home and Garden tour. We’re glad that Orange Twist is solidly committed to working with our schools. Thank you. Another dedicated partner is Foxes Music. It’s an amazing thing for music teachers and families to have this independent music store right here in Falls Church, people who love making music and helping others to do so as well. Every fall, they work with TJ music teachers to set up the instrument petting zoo, as you can see right here. Kevin Landies brings a collection of instruments so that 4th graders can test some and select one they want to play. They work with our music teachers at all the schools on a regular basis with music orders and instrument repair. This year, they also helped out our Mount Daniel music teacher because she wanted to give the younger students an opportunity to try out instruments. They loaned own them for a month so that students could just test drive the strings. And when the George Mason High School band students were going to Carnegie Hall, Foxes Music jumped in as a sponsor of the trip, which was really memorable for everybody who attended. The Local Market is a local gem right here in our community. Not only can you stop there for amazing produce or other locally sourced products, you’ll find them pitching in at many community events. They ran an art contest for a student mural which now hangs above the back door. They’ve donated cookies to the MEH Renaissance learning. Patrick, Tammy and their staff have also been sponsors for the Run For The Schools. Most recently, they took a group of teachers on a Where Does Food Come From field trip to Whiffle Tree Farms, where teachers got a hands-on opportunity to see the chickens, pigs, turkeys, and more. They also are working with the aquaponics program at George Mason High School, hoping to be one of the first customers to buy the tilapia being grown by the school and students when it is ready to sell. Thank you to The Local Market and to all of our honorees. We have a new award this year, sponsored by our friends from the Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation, the Beginning Teacher Award. Apple Federal is a strong backer of our efforts to orient and induct our new teachers. They support this teacher induction program in several school divisions, and for FCCPS it means providing after-school sessions over a course of two years to mentor beginning teachers. This year, we’d like to recognize two of our teachers in their third year of teaching for the strong work and commitment to the students. Interestingly enough, both of our winners have both bachelors and masters degrees from JMU. As a fellow Duke, I’m proud of these fellow alumni. Go Dukes! Our first honoree is Catherine Barr. Catherine is a pre-kindergarten teacher at Jesse Thackrey Preschool. Her classroom is an inclusive mix of special special education and general education students, and they thrive with Miss Catherine. In her application, Catherine wrote about the challenge and joy of connecting with a new student who did not speak English. She wrote, “Watching one of my students fall in love with school, even in the most daunting of circumstances, was something I will never forget.” She also shared some important lessons. “Take the time to learn something new about each child every day. Remember to reflect not only on how your students have grown, but how you as a teacher have grown. Talk to each parent about their child’s experiences in their home away from home.” Catherine, please come to receive your award. Our second JMU grad is Alissa Hamby, a fourth grade teacher at TJ. Alissa’s classroom is a special place, and she says that building a strong classroom community is her highest priority. Her classroom is divided into Hogwarts teams, and students learn together as a team, something that Alissa sees as a key to building a culture of belonging in the classroom. She wrote, “Building a strong classroom community is my highest priority as a classroom teacher.” As a teacher, she also values the importance of team collaboration with colleagues. She said, “Each teacher has certain strengths and interest. When I had felt overwhelmed or incompetent over these past three years, without a doubt I can turn to a team member to encourage me and remind me of my strengths as an educator.” We’re glad to have Alissa Hamby on our TJ team. Alissa, please come forward to get your award. Now we’re going to recognize the nominees of the FCCPS Support Staff Employee of the Year. We should all be very proud of this award because it’s our way of making sure that so many people who work behind the scenes are recognized for their dedication. Support staff includes people who perform a wide variety of work cafeteria staff who prepare breakfast and lunch technology specialists who make sure the internet is on and computers are working administrative assistants who greet you in the schools and keep the schools operating paraprofessionals who are teachers partners in the classroom custodians who keep our building sparkling clean maintenance staff who make sure that our building and systems work health aides who keep track of our daily medications and urgent emergencies central office staff who are largely behind the scenes on important things like payroll I know we like to get paid personnel accounting and curriculum transportation staff also make our buses run on time and getting students safely to field trips athletic competition competitions and home at the end of each day Matt Hills thank you miss I met Hills principal George Mason we have to support staff employees to recognize both of whom are known for their day jobs but also their after-school jobs first I will tell you about Janice nettie whose day job is administrative assistant to the assistant principals Janice has many responsibilities that are key to the success of all of our students we’re in the midst of AP and IB testing and Janice’s organization is key as we ensure that all of the behind the scenes work is done efficiently and correctly as her nomination letter says Janice exemplifies sccp s spirit of supporting students faculty staff and families and multiple extracurricular activities her enthusiasm for the efforts of students is unfailing and she shows up on weekends evenings and after school to provide advice support and encouragement over the years she has helped to establish the swim team and the Emmy HMS FIRST LEGO League seems championed by the GM HS first robotics team sown theater costumes chaperone band trips swim team trips I could keep going on that I promise you her night in weekend job just actually finished for the year when the FIRST Robotics team completed its very successful season Janus is one of the key volunteers for the team over the years she also has helped with the swim team and the band parents raved about her commitment and her service to the school Janice can you please come up Alright our second GM nominee is Dianne Harrington who’s been working at GM HS for more than a quarter of a century. In those 25 years Dianne has held multiple roles. She has been a substitute teacher a PE teacher a paraprofessional supervising study hall a ticket taker and she always does it with a positive attitude and commitment to do whatever it takes to help our students. Although I haven’t been there for 25 years I can honestly say that she has always loved to come to work. We appreciate that she is always putting the needs of others before herself. She embodies truly what it means to be selfless. Dianne is willing to go above and beyond for the good of the students as well as the school. After school she is well known to the Mustang sports fans as the ticket taker at sport events in every single season. On cold spring nights she greets everyone with a warm smile wrapped in many layers of warm clothing greeting home-and-away fans with reliable enthusiasm. Diane epitomizes Mustang pride and every day she makes our school a better place. Please come forward Diane congratulations Good afternoon everybody. My name is Eduardo Molina and I’m the custodial supervisor for building services in the school system. I have a great crew working for the school system and for myself and we take great pride on the work we do to keep the schools clean for the community for the teachers for the students. At George Mason I have a great guy that works for me and for David and we have before then and his name is Jorge Montoya. He is the reason that some of the classrooms and the the school at TJ look always good and it’s always clean. He takes great pride in his work. He does an excellent job. He takes care of the floors. Every every day you get in there look at your floors and you’re gonna see them sparkling clean and really shiny and he’s the reason that those floors are like that. He’s a model for both students and other co-workers because he’s always working and he’s dedicated to all he does. He approaches every part of it with enthusiasm and dedication Even when we have a lot of things to do he’s always hard working and he comes he takes care of things. He works in the afternoon. So most of you when you guys have finished your day he’s starting his day and probably you don’t see him. I had him working both at TJ and Mt Daniel so some of you may know him. He came to know teachers and they know how hard he works. He cleans every classroom and maintains his school as he would keep and maintain his house so it’s a pleasure to present to you Jorge Montoya Hello I am Jeremy Ferrara and I’m just completing my first year as assistant principal. I’m at Mt Daniel a great school. I’m excited to recognize Karen Schools for her work in the Mount Daniel clinic. As the first grade team wrote she greets every child with a warm smile and a genuine interest in their ailment real or imagined. Karen’s endless supply of purple gloved ice packs are a sign of her love and care. Karen has an amazing ability to multitask and provide treatment to a half dozen or more children at one time in the world’s tiniest school clinic. And the kindergarten team says that her ice packs band-aids and compresses hold a special magic as they often have students who try to visit throughout the day. Unfortunately Karen had to visit the real clinic today she took one for the team and is sick. So she will not be here tonight. She tried she came to work today about 10:30 she was like I can’t do it I really wanted to but I can’t do it I have to go and she went home but we will present her award and still want to congratulate Karen. Hi I am Paul Swanson the principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary. We have a lot of TJ staff to honor this year so unfortunately for you you are going to see me several times. Our first honoree is ESOL paraprofessional Scarlett Williams. Now first you need to know that Scarlett is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson herself so she has a special understanding of what it means to be a tiger. Scarlett truly has a special relationship with both kids and parents. Students seek her out for hugs in the morning and love the special attention that she gives them. Many of her students are new to America and she makes them feel at home here in Falls Church. As a nice ESOL paraprofessional she plays an integral part in many classrooms. The children love seeing her and their faces light up when she enters the room and Scarlett lights up when she is with children. It is clear to many of us at TJ that working with children is her calling and we are so glad to have her as part of our team. Scarlett Jan Potrykus is a treasure. She has worked at TJ since 2009 and after spending two years at Mt Daniel she’s respected and absolutely beloved by teachers parents and students. Many point to a student’s time working with Jan as a changing point in their lives. As a special education paraprofessional she spends time in many classrooms and hallways. She works with students individually and in small groups to reinforce and implement lesson plans. When delivering lessons she is able to see the needs of students and make adaptations provide accommodations clarifications or modifications. She models scaffolds and utilizes questioning effectively so that every student knows what is expected academically and socially. Teachers appreciate that Jan is a wonderful collaborator who’s not afraid to ask questions in her efforts to help kids. Many of the students with whom she works have significant behavioral challenges. Jan’s consistently calm and positive demeanor provides students with a teammate to help them make changes. As a special ed para Jan attends encore classes with students spanish stem art music library PE those teachers appreciate that Jan is genuinely interested in the subject matter and inspire students to be excited about the classes. Parents wrote about her caring and nurturing way of working with children and the difference that she has made in so many children’s lives. I just met Jan this past summer and I will tell you that she is an absolute delight. Please join me in welcoming Jan Potrykus It’s only one card don’t get upset. It is a very humbling experience to be given this recognition when I am surrounded everyday by such dedicated and hardworking people. I would like to thank the colleagues parents and students who wrote letters supporting my nomination especially the fourth grade team. I’ve learned so much from all of you and it is truly a pleasure to be part of such a supportive creative and dedicated group thank you Hello I’m Debbie HaScott the executive director of the Falls Church Education Foundation. It is such a pleasure to be here to hear about so many wonderful people who make Falls Church a special place. I’m here to tell you about the next award. Last year the Washington Post changed the way they honor teachers and the Falls Church Education Foundation stepped in to make sure that this award was special in our city. We’ve renamed it the Falls Church Education Foundation Teacher of the Year award and while we work in conjunction with the Washington Post Award we make sure to recognize all of our nominated teachers. Here are a few of them at our gala last Friday night. Each of the nominees and their guests are invited to join us at the gala. We had a great time. Lots of fun celebrating all of our staff there. We are pleased to present this year’s winner with a fifteen hundred dollar check from Falls Church Education Foundation but first let’s hear about all of the amazing nominees So as a first year principal I learned something new every day for my students colleagues and parents. One of the people who has called me a lot is Ellie Hawkesworth. She was nominated by the Future Teachers of America Club who select one extraordinary teacher to nominate every year. As her student nominators put it Ms Hawkesworth lives and breathes George Mason. Her genuine concern for her students live both in and outside the classroom environment. One student wrote about how Mason the Mason spirit infiltrates everything and that is a belief of what Ellie does. Before their first freshman pep rally she wanted to make sure that the ninth graders knew what would be happening so she taught them the Mason victory cheer so that they wouldn’t feel left out. Many times the homework she assigns is to support peers and the school play or even at sports games. Another student said that in addition to history she teaches how to be good members of the community by teaching them about the importance of the honor code and respect for others at Mason all lifelong lessons. On the academic side Ms Hawkesworth teaches history as a story not just as a set of facts to be memorized. A colleague Chris Acronis thank you for being here Chris wrote thousands of students of diverse backgrounds have been the beneficiaries of her informative and welcoming classroom and she’s always there for her colleagues lending a comforting hand or serving as a sounding board. Another amazing project that she took on in recent years is the Veterans Day exhibit that lists GMHS alumni and teachers who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces. The list continues to grow and is very inspirational to us because she’s helping us to see how students and also our school are part of our country’s history. Thank you for everything you do for George Mason. We love you Ellie. Could you please come forward? At Mount Daniel we have an amazing enrichment teacher. We share her with TJ. So many of our elementary students across schools benefit from her energy energetic animated funny and engaging teaching style. Beth’s presence at Mount Daniel is enriching to all of us and we are all often in awe of her creativity and talents. In her nomination letter the parents said that she raises teaching to an art form. She instills in her students an incredible desire to learn and achieve by capturing their imaginations with challenging creative and innovative lessons. A few examples deciphering ancient number systems from Greece Rome Mayan and Babylonia, crime scene investigation to solve the case of the pilfered hippopotamus, a mock trial Commonwealth vs. Jack Jones to determine if Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk Fame could be convicted of breaking any laws. Beth’s Mount Daniel classroom has been renamed a clothus and students love squeezing into the room literally sitting on the edge of their seats so they don’t miss a thing. The second grade team said it this way. The excitement shines through the faces of the students with whom she works. They cannot wait to get started on their lessons in Ms Green’s room. Beth Good evening. Ty Harris principal of Mary Ellen Henderson middle school. Before I talk about our guest I want to take a couple of seconds to give a special thank you to someone in the room that has really made a huge difference not only in this school but in the division. We started the evening by recognizing the businesses that have become partners and serve our students so well and the person that is often behind the scenes making those connections building those relationships is Mary Beth Connelly and I can tell you that the programs that we have here at MEH service-learning Huskie chef all the things that make this school what it is we have to give thanks to her. So please help me. Now my man Mr. Coffren I apologize actually had a migraine all day but I had to come in to spend this time with you sir. We are recognizing the first husky of the evening the amazing Mark Coffren. The secret to Mark Coffren’s success is that he’s actually still a middle schooler at heart. He loves to play games loves invent games and everybody gets involved. He loves to see kids having fun. For sixteen years Mark has brought the joy of games and playing to the middle school. He is one of a handful of teachers who remember teaching at George Mason middle school and made the transition in 2005 when Mary Ellen Henderson opened. Middle school students are all at such different levels of development and Mark levels the playing field so that everyone can have fun. Former students and teachers wrote letters in his nomination that attest to his kindness authentic concern for students and understanding that too many instructions make the games a drag kids just want to play. His monumental achievement is field day and if you have never seen the spectacle that is MEH field day you are missing out. You can’t begin to understand the level of detail planning logistics and community support that go into this day. Mr. Coffren is one-of-a-kind and we are lucky to have them at MEH and I’ll also add that we both had a great year in the fall because both of our teams won national titles in football JMU and Clemson Mr Coffren Lisa Muller is a gifted fifth grade teacher. She creates a special bond with her kids. She models intellectual curiosity. Though her knowledge is broad and deep she shows her kids that there is always a lot more to learn. She’s known for sparking interest in just about everything and opening doors to the wider world from her classroom. One parent wrote about how she inspired students to set and achieve goals as girls on the run coach. Another wrote about how Lisa brings science alive for fifth graders. One parent complimented her on handling the challenging PYP exhibition project for the first time bringing all of the students and parents along with her with enthusiasm. Students are also appreciative of Ms Muller’s creative approach to everything. A student wrote about her talent in teaching writing and vocabulary using Greek and Latin roots Another fondly remembered the multiplication wars. Another wrote about how she reads books aloud in class with the perfect voice for each character. Lisa please come forward. Now almost every child in FCCPS knows Senor Miguel Gonzalez. For the past 16 years he has been the Shepherd of the TJ Spanish program. He was there at the beginning and he has built it into a powerhouse. FCCPS is one of the few school divisions in which every child has language instructions starting in kindergarten. We have Miguel Gonzalez to thank for that. He worked long and hard to develop the curriculum and he continues to adapt and prepare new curriculum as well. Miguel works hard to foster relationships with colleagues and students and everyone in our building. In the classroom he immerses children in the Spanish language with hands-on materials and visuals fun activities and of course food. Because we have native Spanish speakers at TJ he finds ways to help them extend their own knowledge and advance the curriculum for those students. I love that the entire spanish-speaking support staff calls him el collab- bell- lerro and this is why Miguel’s speech teaches Spanish and I don’t but it translates to gentlemen in Spanish. He is a true example of chivalrous behavior and teaches students by his actions and you have not lived until you have seen this man imitate the rollercoaster and that’s all we’re going to say about that. Miguel please come forward Lacy Gandy is an absolutely golden soul and a joyful teacher and her students collect that joy and they reflect it back. Students love Mrs Gandi because she has this wonderful ability to keep the energy in the classroom on the light and positive note every single day. Through her age-appropriate humor and age-appropriate is the choice of emphasis there through her age-appropriate humor and her ability to relate to and know each individual student she has created a warm and caring place where every kid in that classroom thrives. She has named her classroom Gandy-land and it is a sanctuary of learning. She models a love of learning a respect for each person that she meets and that others need. She explores and reveres all that the world has to offer and she models reaching beyond kids own expectations. Lacey came to TJ after teaching in several Ivy schools over the years. She brought with her extensive knowledge of how the ivy and the PYP program is enacted around the world knowledge that she willingly shares with her colleagues to help our practice improve. Throughout the school many many parents wrote letters about Lacey and everyone wrote about the special connection that Lacey has with their child. They wrote about how she inspires each student to be their best that each being a good learner means you are also a good person. They appreciated her patience and good humor and her willingness to be available to help parents in a personal and caring way and now it is our turn to show our appreciation for Lacey Gandyland Now I’d like to recognize the Falls Church Education Foundation Teacher of the Year the extraordinary Lisa Allan. Now Lisa has spent her entire professional career right here at TJ. She is a natural teacher and working with students has always been her calling. As a college student at George Mason she saw a job posting for daycare staff at TJ. She applied for the job and thankfully began the beautiful connection between Lisa Allan and the TJ Tigers. At TJ we can say with confidence that she has changed our school for the better and she helped our students and teachers make history on a daily basis. The 4th grade curriculum includes Virginia history and Lisa believe me is an expert in all things Virginia. Here she is in her colonial garb for the annual colonial Day festivities. She has spent summers participating in the Jamestown Yorktown foundation teacher Institute serving as a costumed interpreter on the Susan Constant ship at Jamestown and here she is with her class in front of the Susan Constant. She’s attended the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute thanks to a grant from the Falls Church Education Foundation. She has visited many civil war sites and she took a class in colonial hearth cooking. Lisa’s love of learning goes beyond history and she is also continually improving her practice in all areas attending a Google summit to increase her understanding of the educational technology and becoming a Discovery Education Network star teacher. She is a national board certified teacher as well. Now Lisa is also highly creative and known for her hands-on approach to learning. One of the favorite lessons in her class is the King’s M&Ms in which students get to learn firsthand the frustration of colonists who protest. They protested taxation without representation So Lisa bless her heart invites the principal to serve as king and so this year I wore the crown for the first time. It is the inclusion of that picture that explains why this shall be the last time I will appear at this podium. One parent wrote that Lisa Allan taught both of her children who have very different temperaments and Lisa was the perfect teacher for both of them both of them. She is that good that she can differentiate lessons based on ability personality and talents. All across the educational spectrum Lisa brings out the best in every student with her calm insightful treatment of each child helping them to grow in ways that each one needs most. Her focus is to aim high and demand much. Students sense the confidence she has in them and it motivates them to work harder even on projects that may seem challenging at first. This photo is from yesterday after a class successfully conquered the mile run. Lisa is also known as a leader in our school. Her colleagues value her advice and respect her expertise. They rely on her as a team leader keeping everyone working cohesively as a facilitator between teachers and administrators as a wise mentor to provide counsel as a dedicated member of the TJ team bringing energy unity and goodness to everything she does. Everyone at TJ including Thomas Jefferson himself it’s pleased to recognize the one and the only Lisa Allan. Thank you. Please forgive me as I stumble through my speech. My comfort zone is definitely in front of a bunch of fourth graders so this is new to me. I’d like to start off by thanking the Falls Church Education Foundation for this incredible honor. Being nominated Teacher of the Year is an honor in its own right but to be selected to represent a district filled with such talent is very humbling. There are many families that have influenced my professional and personal lives over the years and I carry their ideas and thoughts with me each and every day. The first family I must thank happens to be my very own family. I’m the youngest of seven children and I believe firmly believe that the love of learning was born in all of us. They’re right in the front row Our parents were such great influences. From them I learned at an early age four important lessons be kind try your best at everything ask questions and learn all you can from others. Sorry and there were hardly any family dinners where we didn’t have a discussion about some current event or historical event. Many meals typically ended with one of the kids running for confirmation or clarification and our world book encyclopedias which at that time was the Google of our time but most of all I’d like to thank my family again. My five brothers whether you knew it or not you were also my teachers by allowing me to trail behind you on your adventures and hijinks. There are a lot of hijinks. I learned a multitude of things but it was my sister Laurie who as we joke got me into this wonderful mess of teaching. I always wanted to be like my sister and when she became a teacher 39 years ago that sealed the deal on what I wanted to do. Seriously Thank You Allan family for always being in my corner and celebrating my victories both big and small. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have a second family my TJ family. This family is rather large and has changed as I too have changed over the years. I started as a daycare counselor where I met my dear my dearest friend Alice McNeal where we both blossomed under the study and watchful guidance of Norma Linnear .Norma and Allison both encouraged me to continue down the path of becoming an educator. Before I finally became a classroom teacher I had the fortunate I was fortunate enough to work with influential and talented teachers like Gail Annawet Denise O’Neill Peter Rose Rob Tara and Emily Florence I knew that yes indeed not only did I need to teach in general but I really wanted to be a teacher in Falls Church. I felt I feel it was incredible luck that I landed on the fourth grade team. The year I started we went from four classrooms to five classrooms. This fourth grade team has always been extraordinary special and has been extraordinarily special and served as one of the most influential of my families while teaching here in Falls Church. I started off on a small team consisting of June Shaloo Nancy McMann Emily Florence Jean Louis and Mary Kelly all of them serve as mentors models and positive influences. They were my teaching sisters and now are my very close close friends. Families change and grow over the years as did my fourth-grade family. I can’t believe but I’m not surprised that the fourth-grade team has doubled in size since I started teaching. I have to say thank you to my current and past teammates. Thank you all for allowing me to geek out over everything history math and technology related. I appreciate each and every one of you and I feel I’ve learned so much from this fabulously talented group. True you all make me laugh just about every day. I’m very happy we are a teammates but ecstatic that we are friends and speaking of friends and of course family I must express my appreciation thanks to someone who has become one of my best friends Heidi Lang. How can I thank you for the many things you have done for me and the many things you’ve gotten me into? I look up to you as a model teacher. When I was a paraprofessional and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been working with you in different capacities for many years now you made and still make teaching and learning fun. The respect you share with your students has been an inspiration to me for longer than I can remember. I have to say that it is adventures we go on outside of school that have helped me stay somewhat balanced. From our snack tour of Pennsylvania to our trip to Cuba to golfing at st. Andrews to name a few you have helped feed my desire to learn all that I can in different ways. You work beside me while achieving our National Board Certification and encouraged me to seek out classes and professional teaching institutes that fed my hunger and love for all things historical. Thank You Heidi Most of all for seeing in me the things of the teacher and friend I didn’t know we’re there. My final thank you thank yous are reserved to the students and families I have been fortunate enough to learn from over these past 23 years. If you my fabulous students didn’t show up every day then I wouldn’t have anyone with whom to explore. I would be lost without you or at least wandering around looking for someone to teach. Falls Church City is a remarkable place to be an educator. It has been a true honor to have been teaching so many wonderful students from so many supportive and caring families thank you for letting me learn from and have fun with your children I hope those four lessons I learned from my parents growing up be kind try your best at everything ask questions and learn all you can from others have translated to your own kids. Thank You Falls Church City Public Schools for allowing me to feel loved and spread my passion for teaching and learning. I appreciate all you have done for me. I can’t imagine doing any other job let alone teaching and any other school system. Falls Church TJ and especially my dear fourth grade team has been my second home for 20-plus years. As you can see family and the home I mean everything to me. Thank you Wow what a wonderful celebration. I hope all of you enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and appreciate all the work that goes into these impressive employees and partners. I’d also like to thank all the educators who are out this afternoon for all the dedication and hard work that you give this school division. You deserve to be recognized as well. Honorees on behalf of our students our families and our community thank you for your dedication professionalism and devotion and congratulations on your well-deserved recognition for a job well done each and every day. Thank you thank everyone for coming.