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Jordan Markwood - Washington Post 2022 Teacher of the Year


Jordan Markwood, the Fine Arts Department chair and choral director at Rock Ridge High School, has been named the 2022 Washington Post Teacher of the Year. Markwood was selected for this award after having been named Loudoun County’s 2022 Teacher of the Year.


Markwood was chosen from among 18 nominated teachers from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The winners were chosen by a selection committee of individuals who represent teachers, administrators and parents. The winners each receive a $7,500 prize.


Markwood’s nomination package included input from more than 115 people, including 44 Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) educators, 25 of whom are music educators; nine choral directors from across the region and state; students; parents; families; and 29 individuals from his church and the community.


Stephanie Knott, whose son was taught for five years by Markwood, wrote that Markwood’s influence goes far beyond the classroom. “Mr. Markwood’s kind and generous spirit helps him build lasting relationships with his students. Mr. Markwood has supported students through the college audition process. He has former students studying vocal music, musical theatre, and even musical education to follow in his footsteps. Other alumni who are not studying music in college have continued to sing in university chorales or a cappella groups while pursuing their degrees.” 


Dominion High School Choral Director My-Van Nguyen addressed Markwood’s passion for his subject. “Even more important than the success of his choral program and his contributions as a colleague and leader, is Jordan’s authentic passion for music education. Some people fell into teaching, or view it just as a job. Jordan truly feels called to this profession and that his most significant contributions to the world at-large will be through his teaching. This unwavering sense of purpose propels him to teach steadfastly through the rockiest of times. His perspective of teaching as service provides such a wonderful example to his students of what it means to live a life of significance.”


LCPS Music Specialist Elaine Stanford enthusiastically endorsed her colleague. “In 33 years as a choral director and music administrator, I can honestly say that Mr. Markwood is in the top 1 percent of music educators and leaders whom I have observed and with whom I’ve worked. He expects the highest performance, both musically and behaviorally, from his students. But he also makes the experience fun! I am most impressed with the heart that Mr. Markwood has for all types of students. He is a man of integrity, compassion and is committed to using music to help all students reach their potential.”


Rock Ridge Sings!, the 2021–2022 Choir Board, put forth this endorsement of Markwood: “Having Mr. Markwood as a teacher has been an incredible experience. From the get-to-know you sheets on the first day of class to creative opportunities to share what makes music special to each individual, Mr. Markwood’s chorus classes are a place where students feel like they can be themselves. He has helped many students to grow by helping them to accept and enjoy their progress rather than focusing on perfection. In fact, he even encourages us to make our mistakes with confidence, ‘Sing loud, even if it’s wrong, that way I can fix it!’ Mr. Markwood always sets up a number of activities for students to participate in to show other sides of their personality and works to get to know every student.”


Members of Galilee United Methodist Church, where Markwood serves as music director, wrote about the compassion Markwood demonstrates beyond school. “Jordan is a great example of someone who lives his faith. When choir members are ill or have suffered a loss, Jordan rallies the choir to provide meals and send cards. His compassion for others is always in the forefront. Jordan reached out to one young man who struggled with bipolar and mental issues before taking his own life in 2019. One of the things that gave this young man happiness was to sing and perform in Galilee's Praise Project with Jordan. He would come home filled with happiness saying that ‘Mr. Markwood was wonderful!’”


Markwood founded Rock Ridge High School’s choral program in 2014. He sponsors the A Cappella Club and Tri-M Music Honor Society outside of his teaching duties. Additionally, he serves as the vocal director for Rock Ridge Performing Arts, supporting the production of school musicals. He previously taught at Stone Hill Middle School and from 2013 to 2015and fulfilled the role of middle school chair for the Virginia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. His current leadership roles include acting as co-chair of the Virginia Music Educators Association Honors Choir Auditions and serving as the Virginia Choral Directors Association (VCDA) District XIV representative. In the fall of 2021, he was elected secretary of the VCDA. 


Markwood earned his degree in music education from Houghton College and holds a degree in vocal pedagogy and performance from Westminster Choir College.


Past winners of the Loudoun County Teacher of the Year Award include:

  • Linda P. Sheffield, Loudoun County High School (1984)
  • Fritz J. Scholz III, Loudoun County High School (1985)
  • Shirley G. Lynn, Elementary Gifted Program (1986)
  • Harold D. Berry, C.S. Monroe Technology Center (1987)
  • Margaret W. Vaughan, Loudoun Valley High School (1988)
  • Elizabeth R. Doerken, Sully Elementary School (1989)
  • Edith J. Middleton, Loudoun County High School (1990)
  • Everett W. Sutphin, C.S. Monroe Technology Center (1991)
  • Dean T. Drewyer, Loudoun Valley High School (1992)
  • Richard T. Gillespie, Loudoun Valley High School (1993)
  • Mary V. Young, Loudoun County High School (1994)
  • Mary Carol Elgin, C.S. Monroe Technology Center (1995)
  • Lee Daniel Kent, Loudoun County High School (1996)
  • Laura L. West, Meadowland Elementary School (1997)
  • Ann S. Haring, Farmwell Station Middle School (1998)
  • Elizabeth “Lyle” Skarzinski, Loudoun Valley High School (1999)
  • Lora A. Buckman, Meadowland Elementary School (2000)
  • Betty Hill Rankin, Sterling Middle School (2001)
  • Ronald W. Richards, Broad Run High School (2002)
  • Rachel P. Newell, Hillside Elementary School (2003)
  • Douglas M. Dillon, Harper Park Middle School (2004)
  • Victoria L. Lascomb, Evergreen Mill Elementary School (2005)
  • Elizabeth N. Korte, Stone Bridge High School (2006)
  • Sue Ann Gleason, Cedar Lane Elementary School (2007)
  • Patricia R. Herr, Smart’s Mill Middle School (2008)
  • Jim G. Jenkins, Mountain View Elementary School (2009)
  • Rhonda L. Alley, Douglass School (2010)
  • Kenneth David Keller, Stone Bridge High School (2011)
  • Andrea M. Schlegel, Heritage High School (2012)
  • Lisa A. Roth, Dominion Trail Elementary School (2013)
  • Allison M. Alison, Stone Bridge High School (2014)
  • Dawn M. Blevins, Guilford Elementary School (2015)
  • John T. Tuck, Rolling Ridge Elementary School (2016)
  • Kathleen N. Thompson, Stone Bridge High School (2017)
  • Denise Corbo, Horizon, Sugarland and Steuart Weller elementary schools (2018)
  • Jennifer R. Rodgers, Dominion High School (2019)
  • Mark A. Muldowney, Round Hill Elementary School (2020) 
  • Kimberly Jackson, Riverside High School (2021)
  • Jordan Markwood, Rock Ridge High School (2022)


Published April 18, 2022