Fisher Receives Ann Robinson Social Justice Award

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Outreach Program Supervisor Wendall Fisher has been named a recipient of the 2017 Ann Robinson Social Justice Award.

 

The award, created in 2016 by the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, honors the memory of a longtime congregation member. The award is presented to individuals who:

  • Undertook to initiate or lead an effort that resulted in a concrete benefit or sustained improvement for individuals or groups that are often overlooked;
  • Are “unsung heroes” who do not seek recognition or reward for their good work;
  • Intervene to redress an injustice;
  • Promote empowerment and inclusivity.

 

Specifically, the award seeks to showcase actions in Loudoun County that advance socio-economic opportunity, racial equity or support for those with disabilities.

 

Fisher was nominated for the award to honor his commitment to the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) and his longtime involvement with young people in the community.

 

Fisher started working with LCPS in 1989 as a substitute teacher at Broad Run High School, but was looking for a more permanent position.  He found it at Loudoun County High School as an in-school restriction teacher.  It was in this role that he began holding student forums, where students had the opportunity “to speak in a social setting and do so respectfully.”

 

Fisher then spent two years as a counselor at a youth shelter helping children in distress before becoming the outreach director for the YMCA.  “I found my niche,” said Fisher. While he enjoyed the camping and horseback riding, the student forum experience never really left him.  Former LCPS Superintendent Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick III invited Fisher back into the schools to conduct student forums once a month. Fisher estimates that he interacted with 100,000 students during the years that he made these visits to LCPS middle and high schools.

 

Fisher’s involvement with the schools led him to run for the Loudoun County School Board in 1995.  He served four years as the At-Large representative and called the experience “one of the best times of my life.”  He said he learned a lot about government, budget and “ways to work with people you disagree with in a civil way. A lot of things we have now came out of that board.”  He cites MSAAC, the parent liaison positions, SROs, Potomac Falls High School and hard wiring the schools for technology among that School Board’s accomplishments.  Fisher said he had one philosophy that guided his service on the board: “If it wasn’t good for kids, their parents and their community, I’m not voting for it.”

 

Fisher joined LCPS in his current role as outreach program supervisor in 2007.  He said the position was “a natural fit” because he enjoyed “connecting people to services in the community… and making sure people’s needs are met.”

 

Fisher acknowledges that retirement from LCPS is “around the corner.”  He observes that students he worked with at the YMCA are now teachers and administrators in the school system. He also misses some of his contemporaries, who have begun to retire. Fisher said he wants “to leave LCPS better than I found it, and it was good to start with.” He credits LCPS with “a lot of successes,” including two children of his own who graduated from Park View High School.  One is a mechanical engineer, while the other is a medical doctor and doctor of pharmacology.

 

Involvement is the thread woven through Fisher’s life.  He serves on the advisory board for four community organizations:  Mobile Hope, United Way, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the YMCA.  He says that it’s the relationships he treasures most.  “You don’t walk these halls without getting involved.  The more you say hello, the more you have an opportunity to bring someone into your life.  And I say hello a thousand times a day.”

 

           

08/22/17/spk