Top School-Business Partners Honored

The Loudoun School-Business Partnership Executive Council honored four businesses and four individuals for their contributions to Loudoun County Public Schools during an awards ceremony on Thursday, April 28, at the Academies of Loudoun.

The event marked the 22nd time the Executive Council has honored members of the community and was the first live ceremony since 2019. Executive Council Chair Tony Stafford told a large audience that the partnership between the schools and Loudoun’s business community had overcome the challenges of the pandemic. “Two years ago, I was very concerned that these partnerships would be lost. By your attendance tonight and the stories of some of the award-winners, you’re going to see that, while the last two years have been hard on all of us, these partnerships have lived and thrived.”

Each of the award winners exemplified at least one of the pillars of the LCPS Profile of a Graduate: Critical Thinker, Communicator, Creator, Collaborator and Contributor.

The honored businesses include:   

Maverick Bikes: Bringing the Community Together Award

The Bringing Community Together Award highlights partnerships that demonstrate how a community can be brought together, sustained and strengthened during a time of need.

Maverick Bikes, working with Bike Loudoun and the law firm of Abrams & Landau, reconditioned and assembled bicycles for distribution at Title I schools, along with safety helmets and lights. Maverick Bikes partnered with Frederick Douglass, Cool Spring and Madison’s Trust elementary schools and LCPS’ Planning Services and Safe Routes to School program in distributing the bicycles. 

Accepting the award were Doug Graham of Maverick Bikes, Lisa Campbell from Bike Loudoun and Melissa Landau of Abrams & Landau.

Loudoun Literacy: Make a Difference Award

The Make a Difference Award recognizes partnerships that address a specific need, provide resources for a population within a school and contribute positively to the lives of students.  

Loudoun Literacy Council has collaborated with the LCPS Head Start/STEP Office and Sterling Elementary School to provide preschool students with books to begin a home library. Loudoun Literacy Council has donated more than 27,000 new books to young LCPS readers. To date, 4,170 preschoolers have been able to start a home library thanks to this partnership.

Loudoun Literacy’s chair, Brigitta Toruño, and Interim Executive Director Tanya Bosse accepted the award

Lansdowne Resort: Partners for Progress Award

The Partners for Progress Award recognizes partnerships that demonstrate commitment to providing opportunities to underrepresented populations in the school community.

In 2020, amidst the pandemic, the LCPS Project SEARCH program had to find a new host business. Lansdowne Resort opened its doors for eight interns so they could receive support with improving their workplace readiness skills and hands-on work experiences. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, two of the Project SEARCH interns were hired by Lansdowne Resort.

Lansdowne continued its commitment to Project SEARCH for the 2021-2022 school year. It provided the newest interns with an on-campus classroom for instructional purposes and established additional internships to meet the differing needs and interests of current students.

Assistant Director of Human Resources Denia Lasso accepted the award on behalf of Lansdowne.

Heritage Hall: Partners for Progress Award

Heritage Hall specializes in short-term rehabilitation and intermediate and long-term care for its patients. It is one of the primary clinical sites for the Academies of Loudoun Nursing Program. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find clinical sites for nursing students, who must complete at least 400 hours of clinical experience. This is a crucial part of preparing nurses for their state board exams and, ultimately, the workforce. Without the support of organizations like Heritage Hall, the Academies of Loudoun would not be able to provide in-depth learning beyond the classroom and textbooks. Many of the Academies’ students are currently volunteering at Heritage Hall as Candy Stripers. These are volunteers who assist the nursing staff in basic patient-care functions.

Lynn Winemiller accepted the award on behalf of Heritage Hall.

Student Innovation Awards

Two LCPS seniors were presented with the Student Innovation Award. This recognizes students who have started a business, non-profit, or foundation that impacts students. This award is sponsored by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

The 2022 recipients of this award are:

Alana Andrews of Potomac Falls High School

Andrews founded So Positive LLC, which sponsors the So Positive Initiative (SPI). SPI’s student members visit elementary schools in eastern Loudoun County to speak with fifth-graders about topics regarding positivity and high self-confidence.

Potomac Falls Student Activities Coordinator Michaela Ottenberg said the first time she encountered Andrews was as an enthusiastic eighth-grader with an entrepreneurial spirit and service mindset. “She proved quickly to be one of the most mature, disciplined and hard-working individuals I have ever encountered.”  

Andrews will continue her studies next year at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Sanjitha Prabakjaran of Stone Bridge High School and the Academies of Loudoun

LCPS Office of Computer Science Supervisor Nick Grzeda first came into contact with Prabakjaran when she volunteered to help with an elementary summer enrichment program. She has since launched STEM 4 Scouts, which helps Girl Scouts attain their Coding for Good Badge. Prabakjaran has helped 3,400 Scouts in three countries and 37 states attain this badge. Between November and March, she created 45 virtual workshops.

Prabakjaran will attend the University of Virginia as a Jefferson Scholar.

Mobile Hope: Legacy Award

The Legacy Award, established in 2016, honors an organization that has established significant school partnerships that are an integral part of the Loudoun community; is aligned to the strategic goals of LCPS; has established a role in supporting LCPS over multiple years; and has an established goals to continue the partnership with LCPS in the future. Past recipients include the Claude Moore Foundation, Apple Federal Credit Union, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Mobile Hope helps young adults who are living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter or transitional housing. Mobile Hope supplies food, hygienic supplies and clothing to those in need and provides young adults, including students, with meaningful work experiences.

Mobile Hope CEO and founder Donna Fortier accepted the award. Fortier also is the former chair of the School-Business Partnership Executive Council. She said that, since the beginning of the pandemic, Mobile Hope has served 297,000 clients, including 450 homeless youth. “The kids we take care of are a blessing,” Fortier said.

Dawn Meyer: J. Hamilton Lambert Award

The J. Hamilton Lambert Exemplary Leadership in Education and Community Service Award honors individuals who have formed a notable partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools that has enhanced and enriched the school system for the ultimate benefit of students.

Meyer served as the executive director of the Loudoun Education Foundation between 2006 and 2009 and 2012 and 2021. “She has a commitment to young people that is outstanding,” said former LCPS Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III.

“Great things happen when we work together,” said Meyer in accepting the award. “The collaboration between businesses, LCPS and the LEF has enabled the school division to pilot successful education programs that benefit the students and teachers in Loudoun County Public Schools. Quite frankly, not just Loudoun County Public Schools; many of these innovative programs are a model for Virginia.”

LCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler summed up the importance of those who were honored. “Each story we heard demonstrated the impact of community partners and schools, working in tandem, to provide students with deeper learning experiences. Through our partnerships with you, we are creating a generation that leaves our schools ready to enroll, to enlist, to employ or to entrepreneur their way into a future that is bright and optimistic.”

Members of the School Board attending the awards ceremony included Chair Jeff Morse (Dulles District), Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District), Andrew Hoyler (Broad Run District), John Beatty (Catoctin District), Tom Marshall (Leesburg District) and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District).

Members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet attending included Chief of Staff Daniel Smith, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ashley Ellis, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Lewis and Director of Equity Lottie Spurlock.  

The Loudoun School/Business Partnership Executive Council was founded in 1990 by the citizens of Loudoun County as a non-profit organization whose mission is “to provide the leadership to promote the development and success of partnerships between Loudoun County Public Schools and businesses to help ensure students are prepared to contribute successfully to the ever-changing business and community environments.”

The council is composed of corporate executives, business professionals, government agency representatives and LCPS educators.

Published May 4, 2022