College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Mason alums honored by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) for excellence in teaching

June 28, 2023

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) honored the extraordinary accomplishments of several teachers who are alums of George Mason University’s School of Education during its “FCPS Honors” awards ceremony held on June 14th at Mason’s Center for the Arts. Among the presentations was the FCPS Outstanding New Teacher award, given to an elementary teacher and a secondary teacher within their first three years of teaching who demonstrate superior performance and instructional skills. The awards celebrate the excellence of these teachers in achieving successful academic outcomes for their students. Presenting the awards was Dr. Michelle Reid, Division Superintendent at FCPS.

Outstanding Elementary New Teacher Award

Elogien I. Ali, a sixth-grade teacher at Saratoga Elementary School and FCPS school pyramid winner, was named the FCPS 2023 Outstanding Elementary New Teacher from a group of five finalists. Ali received a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Mason.

Other Fairfax County educators who completed their teaching preparation in Mason’s Elementary Education program were recognized as Outstanding Elementary New Teacher at the school level where they taught and two were Fairfax County school pyramid winners. The following is a list of these individuals:

  • Betsy Piermatteo, Third Grade teacher, Mosaic Elementary School
  • Samantha Lowe (currently pursuing a Master of Education in Elementary Education), Fifth Grade Teacher, Oak Hill Elementary School
  • Monica Davids, Kindergarten Teacher, Centreville Elementary School (FCPS school pyramid winner)
  • Sarah Tekle, Third Grade Teacher, Fairhill Elementary School
  • Nicki Jawadian, Fourth Grade Teacher, Flint Hill Elementary School (FCPS school pyramid winner)
  • Erin Edwards, Kindergarten Teacher, Island Creek Elementary School
  • Cecelia Yanes Trejo, First Grade Teacher, Dogwood Elementary School
  • Ilham Azim, First Grade Teacher, Cub Run Elementary School
  • Ashley Brusick, Second Grade Teacher, Lane Elementary School
  • Katherine Roth, Second Grade Teacher, Oak View Elementary School
  • Hannah Franks, Third Grade Teacher, Bush Hill Elementary School
  • Katherine Verdaguer, Kindergarten Teacher, Forest Edge Elementary School
  • Amber Dominick, First Grade Teacher, Haycock Elementary School
  • Katherine Trimble, First Grade Teacher, Navy Elementary School

Outstanding Secondary New Teacher Award

Mason alum YuJeong Julia Shin, who teaches mathematics at Frost Middle School in Fairfax County and was a FCPS school pyramid winner, was selected as one of five finalists for the Outstanding Secondary New Teacher award. Shin is a graduate of Mason’s Secondary Education program.

Other alums of Mason’s Secondary Education program were recognized as Outstanding Secondary New Teachers at the school level and two were Fairfax County school pyramid winners. The list of these teachers include:

  • Ashley Candeletti, Biology Teacher, Stone Middle School (FCPS school pyramid winner)
  • Michelle Adams, English Teacher, Thoreau Middle School
  • Danielle Sweet, English Teacher, Kilmer Middle School
  • Lionardo Quezada Guevara, History & Social Studies Teacher, Fairfax High School (FCPS school pyramid winner)
  • Samiran Ibrahim, English Teacher, Holmes Middle School
  • Catherine Marcus, History & Social Studies Teacher, Luther Jackson Middle School
  • Allyson Pak, Mathematics Teacher, Annandale High School

Outstanding Principal Award Recipient April Cage Leads Garfield Elementary School, a Mason Professional Development School

April Cage was named the FCPS 2023 Outstanding Principal in recognition of her leadership of Garfield Elementary School, a Mason Professional Development School (PDS) site. Through partnerships with local PK–6 schools in Northern Virginia, Elementary Education students at Mason are immersed in elementary classroom settings throughout their teacher preparation programs. PDS partnerships provide high quality learning opportunities with exemplary mentor teachers who know the program well and who are deeply committed to the success of Mason students aspiring to be educators.

The College of Education and Human Development extends its congratulations to the honorees who were recognized at the “FCPS Honors” awards ceremony. The accomplishments and talents of these individuals is to be commended especially given the size of the Fairfax County Public Schools system—one of the largest in the country—serving a diverse student population of 181,000 children in grades prekindergarten through 12 who speak over 200 different languages. The ability of these FCPS educators to instill a love of learning and engage with the students in their classrooms in creating opportunities for academic success is due in large part to the excellent teaching preparation provided by the Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education programs at Mason’s School of Education.

A video of the FCPS Honors ceremony and a program of the festivities may be accessed here.