Welcome to Northern Virginia Magazine’s First-Ever Teacher of the Year Awards
The impressive education options available in Northern Virginia provide a huge draw for residents. But it’s the dynamic, inspiring, and creative teachers who truly bring each of our schools to life. In these pages, you will meet our top 10 finalists, including the 2022 Northern Virginia Magazine Teacher of the Year winner. All of these finalists are loving leaders, warriors for change and inclusivity, and innovators dedicated to shaping a new generation.
Teacher of the Year Finalists
The Woodbridge High School career and technical education teacher is best known for solving any problem that comes his way. [READ MORE]
The Arlington Traditional Elementary fourth grade teacher went out of her way to make sure students stayed engaged during virtual learning. [READ MORE]
This former drill instructor turned culinary arts teacher is giving his Potomac High School students an opportunity to succeed in the kitchen. [READ MORE]
At George Mason Elementary School, this music teacher added guitars, drums, and ukuleles when COVID guidelines didn’t allow wind instruments. [READ MORE]
During her five years at Wakefield High School, Julianna Araujo has completely revamped the school’s special education program. [READ MORE]
The kindergarten classroom at Chesterbrook Elementary is full of magic and wonder when Leanne Strubhar is leading the way. [READ MORE]
When you enter the Swanson Middle School classroom of Melanie Stowell, you will quickly understand that Latin is not a dead language after all. [READ MORE]
Located near a military base, Fort Belvoir Upper School has a high turnover rate — but that doesn’t stop this teacher from making lasting connections. [READ MORE]
Northern Virginia Magazine polled readers, schools, and community members to find educators deserving of our first annual Teacher of the Year Award and its $10,000 prize. We narrowed the pool of candidates and assembled a panel of expert judges to vote on the Teacher of the Year finalists. After reading through packages of nomination materials supporting each teacher that included essays from principals, assistant principals, colleagues, parents, and current and former students as well as each teacher’s résumé, these judges selected their top three candidates in ranked order, based on criteria including each teacher’s ability to inspire students to learn; demonstrate leadership within the school and community; develop cooperative relationships with parents; master knowledge of their subject matter; and their overall impression of the teacher’s accomplishments.
Meet the Judges
President-Elect, Virginia PTA
Alexander has served in PTA leadership roles at the local, county, and state level. She is passionate about building strong school communities through family engagement.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs, School of Education, The College of William & Mary
An expert in the area of college student development, Barber worked in student affairs administration for nearly a decade.
Executive Director, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals
A lifelong educator with 36 years in Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Barton-Arnold spent 18 years as an elementary principal. She was elected to her position in September 2021.
Associate Professor of Education, University of Mary Washington
Broome taught secondary social studies in public and private schools across the state. He is now a clinical associate professor of social studies education at Purdue University.
Executive Associate Professor and Director, Executive Ed.D. Programs, The College of William & Mary
Constantino worked in K-12 education for over 20 years, as a teacher, elementary principal, high school principal, and district director of special education.
Pamela B. Croom
President, Virginia PTA
Croom is committed to collaboration to strengthen the family-school partnership for student learning and healthy development by empowering parents to advocate for their children.
James J. Fedderman
President, Virginia Education Association
A music teacher from Accomack County, Fedderman was elected to his post at the Virginia Education Association in 2020 and re-elected in 2022. He’s worked in public education since 1998.
Director, Early Childhood Education, George Mason University
Kidd’s career has included teaching sixth and seventh grade in Page County, as well as a reading specialist, lead teacher, and elementary classroom teacher for Alexandria City Public Schools.
Professor of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University
Kitsantas focuses her research, in part, on self-regulated learning and peak performance in academics. She is currently serving as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Education.
Director, Northern Virginia PTA District
Munir served in this post from 2020 to 2022 and now serves as the vice president of operations for the Virginia PTA and is a member of the Virginia PTA board of directors.
State Sen. Richard L. Saslaw
Majority Leader, Virginia Senate
The ranking member of the Senate Education and Health Committee, Saslaw has represented Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County and Alexandria since 1980.
Director, School of Education, Marymount University
Turissini spent 15 years as a teacher, school principal, and executive vice president of schools for a nonprofit organization.
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