• "Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn!"
    -Benjamin Franklin 
    Meet the First Grade Teachers!
         Rachel  Rachel Friedenberg  

    I am thrilled to be your first grade teacher and welcome you to our classroom community, The Forest!  This will be my sixth year as a first grade teacher here at Steuart Weller.  Previously, I worked at Steuart Weller as a resource teacher for two years before moving to Damascus, Syria where I taught Kindergarten at the Damascus Community School.  Upon my return stateside, I was ecstatic to find another opportunity to teach here at Steuart Weller. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in early childhood from Austin Peay State University and a master’s degree in Education from Saint Mary University.  I have previously taught first and fourth grade in Kentucky. I am married to a member of the military and have been fortunate to be able to travel and live in many different places stateside as well as overseas.  We have four children, one that will get married May 2017, one that starts college this fall, a sophomore at Broad Run High School, and my youngest is a 8th grader at Farmwell Station Middle School. My high school child plays lacrosse and we spend the majority of our time cheering him on and watching his games.  As a family, we think it is important to stay active, but we really love our down time where we can just do fun family activities such as watching a movie, playing a game, or doing something new.  I have a passion for learning new things and I am delighted to have the opportunity to inspire that same passion in my students.  I think it is important to meet students where they are and provide opportunities that challenge them to be the best they can be academically as well as personally. After all, they are the future! Together we can accomplish great things!

      Jessica Parnell  
    Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year and your child's first grade year!! I am so excited to spend my fifth year as a Weller wildcat with each one of your children. As the youngest of four children, I have lived and studied in three different countries throughout my childhood and college career. This school year I am ready to take on a group of diverse learners by treating each student as an individual, yet all part of our classroom family. In my free time I love to read, spend time with my family and friends, listen to music, and dance.  I graduated from the elementary and special education program at the University of Delaware with a minor in disability studies and a certificate in the Spanish language. Right after graduation, I was fortunate enough to immediately begin my teaching career and have never looked back. As a graduate of Broad Run High School, I am looking forward to impacting the new generation of Loudoun learners to achieve their dreams!
                                 gwenn Gwenn Valentine  
    Mrs. Gwenn Valentine is honored to be a member of the charter staff of Steuart Weller Elementary. She brings with her to the first grade experience an enthusiasm for early learning and a love for the developing minds of little children! She feels that it is a great privilege to play a key role in the lives of her students in these first critical years of their educational journey.  Mrs. Valentine holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Fairmont State University and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from George Mason University. Previously, she taught kindergarten at Cool Spring Elementary in Leesburg and Potomack Elementary in Sterling.  Mrs. Valentine prides herself in being a career changer from the fast-paced corporate world of telecommunications where she worked as a quality assurance specialist, receivables management trainer, and later, as a customer service supervisor.
    Kristina Apwisch 

    Miss Apwisch is so excited to be a part of the first grade team and a member of the Weller Wild Cat family! Teaching is her passion and it is her dream come true to be an educator. She looks forward to creating a positive classroom environment for learning and growth. She grew up here in Loudoun County and graduated from Potomac Falls High School. She attended James Madison University (Go Dukes!) and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education. She is proud to be a Double Duke!  In her free time, she loves to bake (especially cupcakes), read, spend time with friends and family, and travel around the world (she has dual citizenship with Denmark). She is thrilled to begin what is sure to be a wonderful year in first grade! 

    jess Kerri Cahill  
    Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!  This is my seventh year as a teacher at Weller.  I began my teaching career as a cross categorical teacher enriching students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. I then decided to try something new and joined the first grade team!  I absolutely LOVE teaching first grade and am excited for a new year of learning! I believe each and every student is a unique learner and together as a team we can engage your child’s education to the fullest. I strive to create an inviting classroom community where every student is encouraged to accomplish their goals and reach for their dreams!  As the daughter of an elementary school principal, it has been a dream of mine to teach. Originally from Long Island, New York, I am a proud graduate of High Point University, NC where I earned a degree in Special Education.  While in North Carolina, I also obtained my license in Elementary Education. In 2016 I earned my Master’s degree from George Mason University as a reading specialist.  It is a great privilege to welcome your student to an incredible first grade year!   

     Jessica McInturff 

    I am so delighted to be your child’s 1st grade teacher this school year. I am committed to making sure that your child has a school year with rich and rewarding school experiences. In my classroom I will strive to make sure that I focus on building an environment where children are encouraged to try new things and never afraid of making mistakes. I will strive to continue to provide your children with hands-on-experiences, a safe environment to encourage your children to continue to build confidence and motivate them to learn new things.
    I have recently graduated from Western Governor’s University and was a long term 1st grade substitute teacher at Steuart W. Weller this past school year. I have a wonderful husband and a 3 year old son named Raylan. In my free time I love spending time with my family, reading good books and working on new arts and crafts. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the children and parents and I can’t wait for this school year to begin.
    Ashley Vratarich 
    I am excited to be joining the 1st grade Cheetahs at Steuart Weller for my fifth year in Loudoun County Schools. Prior to this year, I taught fourth and third grades.  I earned my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (K-6) and English education (grades 7-9) at Penn State University and my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a reading focus at the University of Virginia. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and in my spare time enjoys running, walking with her dog, and gardening. I am excited to be getting back to my primary roots and to begin this new journey with you.  It is going to be a wonderful year! 
    Shannon Gordon  
    Miss Gordon is thrilled to be on the 1st grade team at Steuart Weller.  She graduated in 2011 from Radford University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Elementary Education. Miss Gordon is originally from Granville, Ohio and just recently moved to Fairfax, Virginia. She is very excited to be a member of Loudoun County and is looking forward to a great school year here at Steuart Weller. Come visit and see what’s popping in Miss Gordon’s 1st grade class. 
Last Modified on June 13, 2017