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Loudoun County Public Schools Recognizes Instructional Employees of the Year

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) recognized eight employees as Instructional Employees of the Year at the May 28 School Board meeting. Each year, LCPS Human Resources and Talent Development (HRTD) seeks to honor and celebrate the dedication and achievements of LCPS employees. Four of this year’s categories were newly created, demonstrating the division’s commitment to ensuring all employees feel valued, respected and appreciated. 

In the Instructional Awards group, recognition is given to the following:  

  • Substitute of the Year - Elementary

  • Substitute of the Year - Secondary

  • Instructional Support Employee of the Year

  • Administrative Support Employee of the Year

  • Student Services Support Employee of the Year

  • Professional Employee of the Year

“We are continually awestruck by the caliber of our staff members at LCPS,” said Lisa Boland, Chief Human Resources Officer. “It is a privilege for us to recognize them and honor their dedication to our students and the community.”

Nominations were submitted by employees, parents, students or community members. This year, nearly 150 nominations were received for the six categories. The winners are listed here, along with an excerpt from their nomination.

Substitute of the Year - Elementary:  Bendu Jackson, Sterling Elementary School

“Bendu understands and values the importance of family communication. She sends a weekly newsletter to families to inform them of the learning for the week, as well as about any class, school and district events. She often includes pictures of the class participating in learning experiences. Bendu regularly conferences with families in person, on the phone and virtually to communicate the progress of her students. Bendu is a model substitute teacher at Sterling Elementary and for LCPS.” 

Substitute of the Year - Elementary: Amy Dunne, Sully Elementary School

“Amy worked with her co-teacher as well as the county English language facilitator to adapt lesson plans to include authentic opportunities for oral language and student discourse. In her classroom, she does not let students hide, but rather, she works to help them build the confidence to share their thoughts and unique perspectives. During the year, she has worked closely with our Instructional Facilitator, Technology and STEM teacher to develop exemplary lesson plans that include hands-on experiences for students.” 

Substitute of the Year - Secondary: Sahari Anderson, Heritage High School

“Sarahi just gets the job done – with a smile! She will be in our intensive program classroom one day working one-on-one with a student, and then in for the Job Coach the next day, keeping students on schedule while working through their job skills. She works well with the special education dean and teachers to make sure students are cared for, protocol is followed and the most critical positions are covered. We love that she inquired about getting training, so she is prepared for the classrooms in which she is substituting.” 

Substitute of the Year - Secondary: Joseph Cianciotti, River Bend Middle School

“Mr. Cianciotti genuinely wants to learn more and grow professionally. He takes the time to reflect on his learning and implement new ideas. He connects with students so well because they feel respected by Mr. Cianciotti and in turn, they respect him back. He has the ability to balance his role as someone who teaches the content and holds students accountable while also being down-to-earth, grounded, and relatable. Kids view him as someone who is fair and as someone who truly cares for them.”

Instructional Support Employee of the Year: Joshua Mallory, River Bend Middle School

“Recently, a former student who had moved on to high school wrote to Mr. Mallory to thank him for believing in him and letting him know how much he missed him. Josh patiently and tirelessly worked with this student, amidst the student’s high-stress moments. The students that Josh has worked with have some of our highest needs in this county. And yet, because of Josh’s unending patience, repeated forgiveness, and genuine care for them, you see glimpses of success and growth as they move forward.”

Administrative Support Employee of the Year: Kristen Seaman, Heritage High School

“Kristen Seaman has the assigned task of being the coordinator of substitutes, but in reality, she does so much more. With the substitute situation, there has never been a single time where a staff member has been asked to cover a class. So why does that not happen here? Kristen is a master at forging relationships both with staff and subs. She is personable, and she always remembers people’s names, families, and special occasions. She always takes into consideration which subs work well with which teachers, and she does her best to accommodate both parties. In addition, she knows how everything in the building is run, making her a valuable asset that helps staff, administration and subs.”

Student Services Support Employee of the Year: Nicole Winfree, Dominion High School
“She also holds me to a high standard, sometimes even higher than myself, to push me and make me take classes that are rigorous for me. She always has time for me helping me with easy one-second response questions but also staying down with me for an hour to go over my classes for next year and what I should take.”

Professional Employee of the Year: Mike Fitzgerald, Rock Ridge High School

“Mike has also supported the involvement of our special education population in all aspects of Rock Ridge High School, including APE Field Day, United Sound and other inclusive music classes. Moreover, Mike's commitment to ongoing evaluation and refinement of programs and initiatives has been pivotal in driving continuous improvement within our school community. His data-driven approach to decision-making ensures that programs are effective and responsive to the evolving needs of our students and staff.”

Published May 31, 2024