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Teachers Honored on Education Day

Six city educators recognized by AEP.

The Alexandria Education Partnership recognized six public school teachers at the third annual Celebrating Education Day last Thursday along the city's waterfront.

The day was divided into two major events: a luncheon at which the awards were given and a dock party that featured free food and entertainment. Approximately 200 people attended the luncheon, including members of the Alexandria City Council and the Alexandria School Board. Another thousand public and private school employees enjoyed the festivities at the city dock. The luncheon was held at the Chart House Restaurant.

"Alexandria city teachers do an excellent job of teaching our children," said Andrew Blair, chairman of AEP and the CEO of Colonial Parking. "Our teachers face increasing demands to educate our children due to state and federal mandates...This recognition program is one of the many programs that we offer...Please take the time to thank your child's teacher for his or her hard work."

Former Alexandria Mayor Kerry J. Donley presented the awards. The teachers were selected for their outstanding contributions to their profession and dedication to their students.

JENNIFER FISHER teaches fifth grade at Maury Elementary School. She has taught in Alexandria since 2000. Prior to that, she taught in public schools in New York and Philadelphia.

"Jennifer has proven herself to be an outstanding teacher," said Maury principal Kristine Ruscello. "She is a hard working educator who really cares about children."

ADAM LEVINE teaches German and English as a Second Language at T. C. Williams High School, where he has worked since 1996. He was described by colleagues as a model teacher and positive influence on students and colleagues alike.

"Adam is a professional of the highest caliber," said T. C. principal John Porter. "He truly is the type of individual we need to have more of in our nation's schools."

BECKY MORRIS is a first grade teacher at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School. She is retiring this year after 37 years as a first grade teacher at MacArthur.

"Becky creates a classroom atmosphere that encourages achievement, respect, and acceptance of all students," said MacArthur principal Deborah Thompson. "She has been the foundation and the heart of the first grade team throughout her career at MacArthur."

JAMES REYNS, JR is a technology education teacher at George Washington Middle School. He came to GW in 2000 after teaching in both Prince William and Spotsylvania counties.

"He has an appreciation for learning and inspiring students to attain their maximum potential," said Joyce McCallister, the parent of one of Reyns' students. "Through an understanding of individual needs, Mr. Reyns creates a classroom environment that fosters appreciation for diversity, individual talents, and self esteem."

KATHERINE SECHE teaches third grade at George Mason Elementary School. She came to ACPs in 1999.

"She has the right combination of skill, dedication, creativity and empathy to develop every student to their highest potential," said George Mason principal Nancy Sparks.

DORIS WINSTEAD is a fifth grade teacher at Cora Kelly School for Math Science and Technology. She has been a teacher in Alexandria for 24 years, 21 of those at Cora Kelly.

"Ms. Winstead is demanding of her students to be more than competent, and she makes appropriate assignments to ensure her students thoroughly learn the required subject matter," said Donley, whose children were taught by her. "She also teaches with a kindness that encourages learning, and she is never reluctant to mix in an occasional hug for her students just to let them know that she welcomes their attendance in her classroom."

Each teacher who was honored received a gas card from Exxon Mobil, a poster to hang in their school from Fastsigns and a monetary award from the Rixse Foundation.