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Markwood is Region 4 Teacher of the Year

Jordan Markwood, the Fine Arts department chair and choral director at Rock Ridge High School, is the 2023 Region 4 Teacher of the Year.

Elizabeth Schultz, Virginia’s assistant state superintendent of public instruction, announced Markwood’s honor during a surprise assembly Tuesday morning at Rock Ridge. Markwood is now one of eight finalists for the 2023 Virginia Teacher of the Year Award. The Virginia Teacher of the Year becomes a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

“There are approximately 100,000 teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, people who dedicate their life to inspiring young people to achieve their highest potential,” Schultz said in honoring Markwood. “Among these thousands of individuals, you have been selected to represent – not only your school division, not only Loudoun County – but the entire Northern Virginia region. We thank you for everything you bring to the profession.” 

Before making the announcement, Schultz noted there were no drums present to build the suspense. In response, the hundreds of Rock Ridge fine arts students present filled this void by slapping their legs to simulate the sound of a very loud drumroll.


Markwood thanked his fellow teachers after accepting the award. “I have colleagues who push me every day to do a better job. They are so passionate and excellent in what they do and that makes me want to be a better teacher.”


He also thanked his students. “The main reason I’m here is because of students. I want to encourage you to be the best version of yourself possible.” 


Rock Ridge Principal John Duellman noted that events such as Tuesday’s were among the best perks of his job. “The best thing about being a principal is that there are wonderful surprises every single day. Sometimes they are extremely positive. Here’s one of those surprises.”


Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler said that accolades were not something new to Markwood. “Throughout his 15-year teaching career, Mr. Markwood has been noted for his teaching accomplishments. This is just one in a long list.” The superintendent also shared that Markwood’s students have performed both internationally, most recently at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and nationally at venues such as  the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. They have also dominated district, regional and state choral ensembles.

Markwood was previously named the 2022 Washington Post Teacher of the Year. He was selected for that award after having been named Loudoun County’s 2022 Teacher of the Year. Markwood’s Teacher of the Year nomination package included input from more than 115 people, including 44 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.

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

Region 4 encompasses school divisions in the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahanock, Shenandoah and Warren and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.   

The last LCPS educator to be named Region 4 Teacher of the Year was Jennifer Rodgers, a social science teacher at Dominion High School, in 2020. Patricia Herr, of Smart’s Mill Middle School, received this honor in 2009.


Loudoun County High School social studies teacher, Lee Daniel (Dan) Kent, was named Virginia Teacher of the Year for 1997.


Tuesday’s assembly was attended by School Board Vice Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District). Also attending were LCPS Chief of Staff Dr. Daniel Smith, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ashley Ellis, Fine Arts Supervisor Michael Pierson and Music Specialist Elaine Stanford. Howard Brewer, the 2022 Region 4 Teacher from Fairfax County’s Bryant High School, helped Markwood celebrate his achievement.

Published August 30, 2022