The program may be considered the school division's Oscars celebration, recognizing exceptional individuals serving in both instructional and operational roles.
Sponsored by Educate Fairfax, over 730 employees, including 71 finalists and 12 winners in 12 different award categories, were recognized at FCPS Honors, held at George Mason Center for the Arts. Fairfax County Public Schools has nearly 25,000 employees.
"You navigated the unexpected with grace and inspired those around you to do the same," Dr. Scott S. Brabrand, superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, said during his opening remarks at the event. "Life is unpredictable, and adaptability is a great asset to have. Instead of focusing on the difficulties, you viewed them as opportunities."
Colleagues, parents, students, and community members could nominate FCPS employees who had to meet certain position-specific requirements. Award liaisons from participating schools and departments collaborated with the employee awards team throughout the selection process.
Cassandra Ann Allen was named the Outstanding Nonschool-Based Operational Employee. She is the Transportation Instructor at Forte Center in Springfield. "Cassandra is committed to providing responsive, caring, and accurate training. She is thorough, patient and makes certain every trainee has the knowledge to be successful. … Allen is a leader who is willing to assume any role requested. For instance, she completed training courses to fulfill the administrative assistant and time and attendance processing duties until the post was filled. In addition, she volunteers to lead courses for other Fairfax County agencies and often helps with running coverage at various schools. … She is always inspiring others to achieve their goals while consistently ready to step up to the plate."
Frank Sarfo Custodian I at Little Run Elementary School in Fairfax is the Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee Award recipient. "The title of custodian does not embody all that Frank is to the Little Run staff, students, and families. Mr. Frank, as he is affectionately known, radiates positivity and has a contagious smile." Sarfo asks students and faculty about their day, interests, and families. If he sees a student crying or having a tough time, he gives a smile, a hug, or says something kind. "His exemplary work effort, joyful presence, and service mindset act as an example for everyone."
Rebecca Jo Pollard is the Project Support Coach at Willow Oaks Administrative Center, Instructional Service in Fairfax. "Described as a systems thinker, one colleague stated: 'Rebecca's skills in seeing the big picture while connecting the underpinning dots is unparalleled. Her strategic thinking, communication, and technical skills have uniquely contributed to FCPS at all leadership levels. … Pollard's focus, determination, and agility supported pandemic efforts. She managed communication resources, so schools and division leaders had critical resources and progress updates. … Whether supporting the creation and distribution of learning books or supporting the development of the FCPS Virtual Program, Rebecca combined her knowledge of instructional best practices and project management skills to ensure that equitable access to learning was at the center of all decisions."
The Twelve Outstanding Countywide Awardees
Outstanding Principal Award- Amy Miller, Principal at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna
Outstanding New Principal Award- Ellen Mukai, principal of Brookfield Elementary School in Chantilly
Outstanding Elementary Teacher-Essel Linton Music Teacher
Annandale Terrace Elementary School in Annandale
Outstanding Elementary New Teacher- Shelby Megan Press Second Grade Teacher Riverside Elementary School in Alexandria
Outstanding Secondary Teacher - Kathleen Jacoby Herndon High School Band Director in Herndon
Outstanding New Secondary Teacher- Matthew Fredericks at Hughes Middle School in Reston
Outstanding School-Based Professional Employee: Blair Smith, Assistant Director of Student Activities at Centreville High School in Centreville
Outstanding Nonschool-Based Professional Employee: Rebecca Jo Pollard, Project Support Coach Willow Oaks Administrative Center in Fairfax
Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee: Frank Sarfo Custodian I Little Run Elementary School in Fairfax
Outstanding Nonschool-Based Operational Employee: Cassandra Ann Allen, Transportation Instructor Forte Center in Springfield
Outstanding School-Based Leader: Bianca Aiello Director of Student Services, Poe Middle School in Annandale
Outstanding Nonschool-Based Leader: Melissa Russell Director II, Payroll Management Gatehouse Administrative Center in Falls Church
For a complete list of all Outstanding Awardees, Finalists, and School Recipients, visit the 2022 FCPS Honors Program at https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/pdf/2022-fcps-honors-program.pdf.
Cassandra Ann Allen was awarded the Outstanding Nonschool-Based Operational Employee. She is the Transportation Instructor at Forte Center in Springfield. Photo by FCPS.