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Interim Chancellor Alexander Honors 2019 Standing Ovation Award Winners

Thursday, December 20, 2018

(Washington, DC)  This week, 18 DC Public Schools (DCPS) teachers, administrators, and staff members were named Standing Ovation award winners for their excellence and dedication to their students. The awardees will be honored at the annual Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools event in February hosted by the DC Public Education Fund.

DCPS Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander surprised educators across the city with their awards. Today, she surprised School Staff Member of the Year Gloria Torrento, an administrative officer at Seaton Elementary School who has been a part of the DCPS community for almost 20 years. During her seven years at Seaton, she has sought to ensure every student and family has the opportunities and supports they need to thrive. She works tirelessly to ensure Spanish speaking and immigrant families feel safe, loved, and welcomed in the school community, and collaborates with families to ensure students receive the academic supports they need at home.

On Monday, Mayor Bowser and Interim Chancellor Alexander surprised Maisha Riddlesprigger, principal at Ketcham Elementary School, with the 2019 Principal of the Year award. Principal Riddlesprigger has been hailed by her colleagues as a pillar in the Ward 8 community for her commitment to her students and the neighborhoods in which they live. During her time as principal, Ketcham has been recognized as both a Bold Improvement and Bold Performance School for the school’s efforts to close the achievement gap.

“Principal Riddlesprigger, and all of this year’s honorees, are not only invested in their schools, but their communities,” said DCPS Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander. “Improving our schools is disciplined work – it’s about knowing each student by name, having rigorous cycles of data analysis, and informally observing teachers on a regular basis to provide feedback that strengthens instruction. There are no silver bullets for this work, and I appreciate every member of the DCPS community for their commitment to our vision of every student feeling loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life.”

Teacher of the Year Lakeisha Brown’s Candyland-themed pre-K classroom at Lafayette Elementary School exemplifies both joy and rigor. Ms. Brown ignites her students’ passion to learn and ensures they develop the social, emotional, and academic skills they need to excel in kindergarten and beyond.

“DC Ed Fund is so honored and proud to host an event that celebrates our educators and school communities that go above and beyond for kids every day,” said Jeanie Lee, President and Executive Director of the DC Public Education Fund, which hosts the event. “Standing Ovation brings together supporters from across sectors, including business, philanthropy, and government, in one incredible night to thank and celebrate DC Public Schools.”

The 2019 Standing Ovation Excellence Award winners are:

  • Principal of the Year: Maisha Riddlesprigger, Ketcham Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Teacher of the Year: Lakeisha Brown, Lafayette Elementary School (Ward 4)
  • School Staff Member of the Year: Gloria Torrento, Administrative Officer, Seaton Elementary School (Ward 6)

In addition, 15 principals, assistant principals, teachers, and staff were honored with Rubenstein Awards and will each receive $5,000:

Rubenstein Winners for Excellence in Leadership

  • Holly Searl, Principal, Ross Elementary School (Ward 2)
  • Maria Tukeva, Principal, Columba Heights Education Campus (Ward 1)
  • Michael Redmond, Assistant Principal, Truesdell Education Campus (Ward 4)
  • Sandra Cole, Assistant Principal, Langdon Elementary School (Ward 5)
  • Kemi Husbands, Principal, Langdon Elementary School (Ward 5)

Rubenstein Winners for Excellence in Teaching

  • Gary Hamilton, 3rd grade teacher, Wheatley Education Campus (Ward 5)
  • Premila Mistry, music teacher, Eaton Elementary School (Ward 3)
  • Michelle Johnson, K/1st blend teacher, Van Ness Elementary School (Ward 6)
  • Erika Leadholm, 2nd grade English language arts teacher, Malcolm X Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Baxter O’Brien, 3rd-5th grade autism teacher, Langley Elementary School (Ward 5)

Rubenstein Winners for Excellence Among School Staff

  • Mark Lewis, Reading Specialist, Eaton Elementary School (Ward 3)
  • Dennis Rowe, Custodial foreman, Cardozo Education Campus (Ward 1)
  • Waynonia Potts-Harris, Social Worker, Anacostia High School (Ward 8)
  • Angela Harriston, Instructional Coach, Woodson High School (Ward 7)
  • Otis Davis, Custodial foreman, Stanton Elementary School (Ward 8)

All awardees will be honored at the annual Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools, on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at the Anthem. School-based awards for Equity, Empowered Team, Innovation for Excellence, Whole Child, and Together with Families will be announced at the event. Special guests will include Flo Rida and Lamman Rucker, who will come together to applaud the city’s finest educators and their dedication to the district’s students. Alice and David M. Rubenstein generously provide the cash prizes for Standing Ovation each year.

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