Principal, Teacher and Support Staff of the Year Honored
ALEXANDRIA, VA- Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School’s Rene Paschal, who has 36 years in education as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal, was named 2019 ACPS Principal of the Year. Physical Education Teacher April Rodgers, who helped open Ferdinand T. Day Elementary Schooland brought the circus to ACPS, was named 2019 ACPS Teacher of the Year. Beloved T.C. Williams High School Building Engineer James Harrison, who mentors students with special needs in his spare time, was named ACPS Outstanding Support Staffer of the Year — the first to receive this award.
“These three people all have gone above and beyond in their support of our students. They represent what ACPS stands for as a division and we are proud to name them as some of our best,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr., who presented the awards.
Principal Paschal immediately dedicated his award to his students and staff, who he said should all share in the honor. His award was announced through a video of student tributes shown during a pep rally on Friday morning. He is known as a leader who is focused on growing others to their fullest potential in every position he has held. Paschal, who started out as a teacher and school counselor, and is never far from the classroom, will now also be the ACPS finalist for the Washington Post Principal of the Year award.
Teacher of the Year April Rodgers was part of the team selected to pull together programming for the newest ACPS school last fall, was surprised by Dr. Hutchings, who made the announcement in front of her students.
Twelve years ago, Rodgers brought the concept of the circus to physical education classes in ACPS, teaching it at John Adams and James K. Polk elementary schools and now to the 450 students at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. She purposefully integrates circus content to keep students active, socially and emotionally engaged, and to instill a sense of confidence in them. Rodgers is the ACPS finalist for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year award.
James Harrison becomes the first ever ACPS employee to receive the recognition of Support Staffer of the Year, which honors support staff members who exemplify excellence in their work. Harrison was honored for his dedication and commitment to students both inside and outside of school and working daily with students with disabilities to provide them meaningful work experiences to gain workplace readiness skills. Through this work, he has helped students develop skills that will serve them throughout life — passing on his knowledge as well as helping students grow emotionally, physically and socially.