MSAAC Hosted Ceremony to Highlight Students and Staff in Their Support of Equity


The Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) presented its annual awards to a packed house of students, parents and community members on Friday, May 19. This event celebrates those who strive to create greater equity and fairness in LCPS schools and programs. 

The award ceremony featured Donna Fortier, CEO of Mobile Hope, and Phyllis Randall, Chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, as guest speakers. Fortier encouraged the assembled students to find ways to share hope. “I hope you look for opportunities to get involved in your community – to tutor or mentor. Getting involved is the best way to give hope.” 

Randall also encouraged the students to engage with their communities. Randall told the assembled students to “be great, be creative, be intelligent, accepting of others, embrace diversity and to be bold. Be your greatest self.” 

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity presented academic awards to more than 50 LCPS students.

MSAAC Chair Talia Bush and Errin Kunkle, MSAAC Membership Chair, presented Equity Awards and the Wendall T. Fisher Awards.

Equity Awards were given to:

  • Addison Lasley of Dominion Trail Elementary
    Those who nominated Lasley said, “she is confident and uses her voice to advocate for others.”

  • Pranamya Jindal of Mercer Middle
    Those who nominated Jindal said: “Pranamya has gone above and beyond to ensure that every student feels valued, respected, and included. She actively participates in initiatives and projects that promote inclusivity within Mercer Middle School.”

  • Esha Venkat of Broad Run High School
    Venkat co-founded the nonprofit Nest4US, a philanthropy platform that mobilizes volunteers to address societal issues and help create equitable solutions. Venkat was described as “an award-winning Gen Z activist who has contributed to over 4,500 hours of service over the past decade focused on empowering people of all ages and backgrounds through a variety of global service campaigns that support causes ranging from global hunger and social justice to quality education in climate action.” 

  • Robin Scott, MSAAC Delegate, Kenneth Culbert Elementary
    Those who nominated Scott said that she “is one of our most proactive and faithful Equity Delegates. She asks questions, is responsive to our initiatives and always seeks to increase her impact in her school.”

  • Caitlin Couch, Equity Lead, Potowmack Elementary.
    Couch’s principal and colleagues recognized her for the countless hours she spent supporting the Equity Committee and schoolwide events. One nomination also noted that Couch studied Spanish to further connect with her students and families. 

 

The Wendall T. Fisher Award was given to LCPS staff whose work and commitment mirror that of MSAAC’s founder. This year’s recipients of the Wendall T. Fisher Award, in the categories of teacher, principal and administrator, are:

  • Samantha Ashley, Language Arts Teacher at J.L. Simpson Middle
    Ashley is the Equity Lead at J.L. Simpson Middle School and co-sponsor for the school’s Empowered Girls for at-Risk Minority Female Students Group. According to those who nominated her, Ashley “has supported deep and meaningful conversations with students and families around racially charged statements, comments and incidents. She has also supported restorative circles with students and planned unique trips and opportunities for students who might otherwise be unable to participate in such experiences.” 

  • Mark Hayden, Principal of Potowmack Elementary
    Bush said that Hayden's emphasis on the whole child through his family engagement practices put him above the other candidates. According to those who nominated him, “Principal Hayden has spearheaded an innovative approach at Potowmack to increase family engagement, which is especially important as approximately 40 percent of Potowmack Elementary families speak a language other than English at home.”

  • Lottie Spurlock, Director of the Equity Office
    Bush, who, as MSAAC chair, has worked with Spurlock closely, said, “Mrs. Lottie Spurlock embodies the spirit of the Wendall T. Fisher Award because of her passion for and dedication to equitable education opportunities for each and every student at Loudoun County Public Schools. She has remained steadfast and committed to what she calls her heart work.” Spurlock has been the director of the Office of Equity since 2019. In that role, she developed the Equity Leads program and formed teams of Student Equity Ambassadors. 

In addition to these awards, the MSAAC Awards Committee celebrated Willard Middle School, which according to Bush, is “creating regular opportunities to amplify student voice through listening and action. Staff at Willard have designed and produced a student video featuring students sharing their feelings about racism, discrimination, hate speech, and other forms of mistreatment. This project so inspired us that we decided to grant them a special award.”





Published June 1, 2023