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Sabatier Named FCPS Teacher of Year

Mount Vernon High school physics teacher Charles Sabatier with Superintendent of Schools Jack Dale.

Mount Vernon High school physics teacher Charles Sabatier with Superintendent of Schools Jack Dale.

Charles Sabatier, a physics teacher at Mount Vernon High School, has been named the Fairfax County Public Schools 2012 Teacher of the Year. Sabatier will represent FCPS in Virginia’s Teacher of the Year competition; the winner will be announced in the fall.

Sabatier, who serves as the science department chair at Mount Vernon, has also won the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award for educational excellence, which is presented annually to a teacher from each school division in the Washington metropolitan area. The goals of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards are to recognize excellence in teaching, to encourage creative and quality instruction, and to contribute in a substantive way to improving education in the Washington area. The award includes a $3,000 prize, which Sabatier will receive at a recognition ceremony in April.

“Be Respectful, Be Honest, and Be Incredible” read the rules posted on Sabatier’s desk. The 2012 Teacher of the Year said he realized early in his career that he was “a really good ‘edutainer’” and quickly learned to focus the fun on learning. He began to incorporate flying pigs and spinning buckets of water over his head into lessons when appropriate, and encouraged students to use new technologies like video analysis and wikis as part of their learning. Mount Vernon student E.J. Coleman, who is the current student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, said that when teaching students the game Whizz, Bang, Chazzum, “Mr. Sabatier always put emphasis on working together as a unit as opposed to just a random group of students … Under his direction, it always felt like a community and all of the students were neighbors.”

English teacher Melinda Bloomquist said that Sabatier created and organized the schoolwide Major Time Cup Competition to encourage school spirit and unity, foster team building and bonding between students and teachers, and improve the Mount Vernon experience. Major Time is a special period devoted to sustained silent reading activity and enrichment or remediation with classroom teachers.

Sabatier currently serves as a co-sponsor of the engineering and robotics club, sponsor of the Student Government Association, and member of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports committee. In his spare time, he works with a member of the community to study an osprey that has a nest atop one of the lights in the Mount Vernon High stadium, and is part of an International Baccalaureate physics collaborative learning team with three other IB physics teachers in Northern Virginia, funded by a grant he received from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

Sabatier earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and his master’s in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University. He has been employed by FCPS since 2003, when he was hired to teach physics at Mount Vernon High. He earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2009, and has made presentations at state and national conferences.