Natalie Espinoza receives her prize

FCCPS is pleased to announce the winners of our employee awards:  Support Staff Employee of the Year, Natalie Espinoza;  Academic Support Staff of the Year,  Patrick DeShields; Professional Specialist of the Year, Vicky Block; and Falls Church Education Foundation Teacher of the Year, Will Snyder.

Natalie Espinoza, Attendance Secretary, Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School
Parent Yulia Kunina, who nominated her wrote, " Ms. Espinoza is the first person we see when we come to MEH. She always greets everyone  with a big smile and makes you feel welcomed and supported. Ms. Espinoza has a kind word for  everyone she meets. She remembers your child’s name. She makes you feel at home."

Patrick DeShields, Mathematics Paraprofessional, TJ  Elementary School
The Fourth Grade Team wrote this about Mr. DeShields, "With children’s education being his top priority, Patrick is willing to support teachers wherever his help is most needed at the time. He readily jumps in to help any child who needs a little extra support. He works with individual students, small groups, or with the entire class, depending on the lesson and its demands."

Vicky Block, Physical Therapist, Systemwide  Ms. Block was nominated by parent Tracey Duffey, who wrote that , "Ms. Block collaborates with large teams of diverse staff across all five schools, as well as works closely with parents and students of all abilities and varying diagnoses in order to ensure that the faculty teams  understand each student’s capabilities and strengths. Her positive energy is contagious and her deep compassion for her job makes her one of the most distinct and exceptionally professional specialists in the school district. who is well respected by her students, their parents, and her peers."

Will Snyder, Computer Science Teacher, GMHS  Mr. Snyder started his career as a math teacher and recognized the increasing interest in computer science.  For many years he has served as Senior Class Advisor and Graduation Coordinator.

Snyder was nominated by fellow teacher Kenny George who wrote, "Will is an open-minded teacher, who prioritizes authentic learning experiences for his students over everything else... Will’s Computer Science courses are some of the most sought after in the school. His enrollment numbers increase each year significantly, and his classes are bursting at the seams." 

According to parent nominator Bridget Janicki, "He is skilled at breaking down complex coding concepts and demonstrating the importance of detailed analysis, writing and testing practice. Mr. Snyder also has an easy rapport with his students and deals effectively with their individual strengths and weaknesses. He instills confidence in students while still challenging them to improve." 

Mr. Snyder is a finalist for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award and will be recognized as part of the annual FCCPS Celebration of Excellence later this year. 

Each honoree received a real check (along with the giant check) from the Falls Church Education Foundation, and will be recognized at the divisionwide Celebration of Excellence later this year.