Congratulations to Our Secondary Teacher of the Year Nominees

This week, we are recognizing the secondary teachers who were nominated for The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award.

The Washington Post award recognizes excellence in teaching and encourages creative and quality instruction. Earlier this year, each ACPS principal chose one teacher from their school to move forward to the ACPS finalist round based on nominations from parents, students and colleagues. One of the finalists is then selected as the ACPS Teacher of the Year and the division nominee for The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award.

Last year, ACPS was delighted to recognize T.C. Williams High School AP Physics Teacher Laura Simons as our selection.

This week, we’re celebrating secondary teacher nominees. Next week we will highlight our support staff nominees for our first annual Support Staff of the Year Award.

This year’s winners for Teacher, Principal and Support Staff of the Year will be announced in April.

Read what their students, families and colleagues had to say about the nominees and congratulate these special teachers when you see them.

Secondary Teacher of the Year Nominees


Rhea Butler
AVID Elective Teacher
T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus

“Ms. Butler is a supportive, charismatic, passionate and loving teacher and role model. Her constant excitement and contagious optimism show her love for her career. Ms. Butler is a support for many students, including myself. She is always willing to listen, help and encourage every one of her students. She facilitated my love of learning, encouraged me to have limitless goals, and was an essential support in my growth as a young lady. I can definitively say that without Ms. Butler’s support and encouragement, I would not be the young woman I am today.” — former Minnie Howard AVID student

jacqueline_carlsonJacqueline Carlson
Sixth-Grade Math Teacher
Jefferson-Houston School

“Ms. Carlson is extraordinarily talented at connecting with her students and educating in a creative and engaging fashion. She exemplifies a teacher who encourages students to achieve at high levels and to be well-rounded critical thinkers with a passion for learning.” — Susan, Jefferson-Houston math coach


Dr. Veronica Montgomery
Math Teacher
Francis C. Hammond Middle School

“I feel so fortunate to have worked with Dr. Montgomery for the past two years. As a third-year teacher, I have learned a lot from Dr. Montgomery about differentiating lessons to fit the needs of individual students and have grown professionally. She is a great asset, not only to her students or the math team, but to the community as well. Her presence in the school is respected by all and her many contributions are exemplary, especially to educators like me. Dr. Montgomery has had a big impact on the community and my growing career.” — Jobelle, Francis C. Hammond Math Teacher

claudia_sechlerClaudia Sechler
English Language Teacher
Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center

“I have nothing but great respect and admiration for Ms. Sechler, her great work ethic, passion, diligence, curiosity and commitment to each and learning. Ms. Sechler loves her students and they love and respect her. She goes the extra mile to plan and deliver great instruction that engages even the most reluctant of learners. She always finds creative ways to make learning accessible to her students. She is a tireless advocate for all her students. She understands them, their needs and challenges, customizes her approach and is always patient in the process. Her students always feel at home in her classroom and it shows in their willingness to try.” — Mary, NVJDS Science Teacher


Ra Alim Shabazz
U.S. History and Government Teacher
T.C. Williams High School King Street Campus

“If it was not for Mr. Shabazz, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to do better and push out of my comfort zone. He would always talk to the class about his experiences in college and his life in general. He always felt comfortable talking to us, which made me feel like I can talk to him about anything. I think that is one of the most important things about teachers is to connect with your students and help them to achieve not only in a classroom itself, but outside of the classroom, too.” — Former T.C. Williams student

Kailee Smith
Special Education Teacher
George Washington Middle School

“Ms. Smith works creatively to ensure she is meeting the needs of the whole child and not just their academic needs. She truly has been instrumental in my son’s success, self-esteem, development and aspirations. We are forever grateful that she has chosen this important career to make a real difference in the lives of students who truly need a caring individual that supports their social, emotional and academic development with high expectations.” — George Washington Middle School parent

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