Meet the Teachers Nominated for The Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award

For weeks we have been introducing you to several teachers who were nominated for The Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award. This is the final post in the series of posts leading up to the announcement of the winner.

Parents, students and colleagues nominated teachers and each ACPS school principal, then chose one nominated teacher from their school to move on to the ACPS finalists round.

Last year, ACPS was delighted to recognize Maria Magallanes, Reading Specialist at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, as our ACPS Outstanding Teacher Awardee.

The ACPS winner and the overall winner of The Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award will be announced in April. Until then, please make sure you congratulate these special teachers when you see them!

David Jelliffe, the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School

David Jelliffe, the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School

David Jelliffe is a High School English Teacher at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School (NVJDCS), a regional, state operated program providing appropriate educational services for school-aged students who are residing at the detention center. Jelliffe has been teaching at NVJDCS for the past five years and has been with ACPS for 27 years.

Known for his ability to reach students who are at very different levels in academic skills and abilities, Jelliffe finds creative and resourceful ways to reach and engage each student. Responsible for teaching students from sixth to twelfth grades, he is widely credited for his ability to effectively provide differentiated instruction as evident in his teaching of numerous novels, writing assignments and research projects tailored to each grade level concurrently.

The innovative ways in which he engages students inspires them to learn. His annual Poetry Slam is described by a fellow teacher as the highlight of the school year. The games he has invented, such as Grammar Casino, and the use of Scrabble and SMARTBoard activities to teach vocabulary, enables him to meet his students where they are. He creates a safe space for students to express themselves in creative and productive ways, instilling a sense of pride in their work and themselves. His empathetic approach, calm demeanor, soothing voice and gentle humor are conducive to creating a rich learning environment.

Jelliffe is seen as a go-to person by his colleagues because he is always willing to lend his support and expertise where needed. He also serves as a mentor to new teachers and is seen as a role model by many.

We at NVJDCS get students from many parts of Virginia, as well as other countries. Although students may have many differences, all of the students have one thing in common: they all love English with Mr. Jelliffe!” – Mike Santistevan, fellow educator

Carlos Seward

Carlos Seward, Jefferson-Houston School

Carlos Seward, the lead social studies teacher and AVID site coordinator at Jefferson-Houston School, has been a teaching in Virginia for the past 12 years, the last two of which have been with ACPS.

Named 2015-16 Jefferson-Houston Teacher of the Year, Seward is highly regarded by staff and teachers alike. Described as dynamic, energetic and charismatic, Seward builds strong relationships with his students and with the broader community. He regularly attends sporting, art, musical and cultural events where he spends time with Jefferson-Houston students outside of the school environment. His calm and approachable nature enables him to build solid relationships with students that help to develop the whole child.

Seward is highly regarded by his colleagues where he is valued as a treasured teacher to students and mentor, adviser and counselor to staff. He is admired for his ingenuity and thought provoking questions that helps guide the success of students. Referring to his students in class as “Steward Scholars,” he instills his mantra that “All students are capable of success, no exceptions!” He collaborates regularly with support staff and parents when necessary to ensure our students have what they need to succeed.

The lead chair of Jefferson-House middle school program, Seward has served as a coach, mentor, junior class adviser and sponsor of numerous after-school and community activities designed to enhance learning and growth opportunities for young people.

Mr. Seward works hard to build relationships with students so that learning in his classroom takes place in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and a desire to learn,” said Sara Beth Sims, Academic Principal, Jefferson-Houston School

“Students gravitate towards his energy and enthusiasm, and teachers hold his knowledge and willingness to support in high regard. His classroom is a respectful, rigorous environment with high standards for all students,”  said Lindsay Willmann, Science Teacher, Jefferson-Houston School

Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh, Charles Barrett Elementary School

Sheila Walsh is a first grade teacher at Charles Barrett Elementary School, where she has taught for the past 15 years.

Seen as a solid leader by colleagues, her teaching team says her truest gift is in her ability to connect with her students. She works closely with her co-teachers and students’ parents to ensure that each child’s unique academic, emotional and social needs are met in her classroom.

Walsh co-leads science professional development workshops each summer and serves as a mentor to new teachers.

Walsh, who serves as the first grade team lead, is also the co-chair of the Student Council Association and leads an after-school tutoring learning club. She is also a member of the school Leadership team, participates in the School Education Plan team and leads the Teachers College Writing Project K-2. She’s respected for her organizational skills and preparedness and for her ability to listen, empathize, encourage and problem solve, all of which enable her to be an efficient and helpful team leader.

She intuitively knew how to balance modeling best teaching practices with providing opportunities for hands-on learning, reflection and growth,” said Nancy Ritter, Assistant Principal, Charles Barrett Elementary School

Perhaps the only way to fully grasp how special of a teacher Sheila Walsh is would be to enter her classroom during reading instruction. There you will find over twenty students, at eleven different reading levels, all being individually challenged and supported — without a minute of wasted time. Students are happy, supported and focused. What she does in this one subject is repeated throughout the course of the entire school day,” said Seth Kennard, Principal, Charles Barrett Elementary School

ACPS, Charles Barrett, Jefferson-Houston, NVJDCS