Celebrating More Terrific Teachers of the Year

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing you to the teachers who were nominated for The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award. Read about the first and second groups of nominees.

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. This year’s winner will be announced in April. Please congratulate these special teachers when you see them!

Kellie Haley

Kellie Haley - William RamsayEnglish Language(EL) Teacher
William Ramsay Elementary School

Kellie Haley knew when she walked into her kindergarten classroom at the tender age of five that she was going to be a teacher. She’s been teaching for 11 years, the last four of which have been with ACPS at William Ramsay. She participated in the Teacher Leadership Program, along with a number of other professional development programs, has co-lead trainings and is the co-team leader for the school’s EL team. She is also part of a cohort that is developing a curriculum that incorporates reading and writing for English learners.

Mrs. Haley is a patient, nurturing and consistent educator who develops strong relationships with students, scaffolds instruction to meet students where they are, hold herself and her students accountable for their learning, and regularly celebrates their success. She always takes her students diverse backgrounds, English language readiness levels and experience not account when planning her instruction and never allows limited previous academic experience or success stand in the way of her students’ achievement in the classroom.”

Damian Johnson

Damian Johnson - John AdamsGrade 5 Dual Language Teacher
John Adams Elementary School

Damian Johnson has been with ACPS since 2014, first teaching at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology before moving to John Adams in 2016. He has served as team lead and as the extended learning coordinator. He is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, the Curriculum and Instruction Advisory Team, the Professional Learning Community Coaching Cohort and the Instructional Rounds Cohort. He has also served as a teacher mentor.

Mr. Johnson actively engages all students and develops positive relationships that motivate students to try their best. He is adept at working with children with special needs and those who are learning English as a second or third language. His ability to accommodate for all students, their needs and learning styles. Mr. Johnson never lowers the bar, but instead, teaches students how to meet or leap over it. He is committed to learning and understanding all components of instruction and leadership in an effort to maximize the learning experience for his students and all of the children in our building.”

Monica Koski

Monica Koski - Samuel TuckerEnglish Learner (EL) Teacher
Samuel Tucker Elementary School

Monica Koski has been with ACPS as a teacher at Samuel Tucker since 2008. She is the Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) co-chair and is a member of the Heritage Night Committee. She has also served as the EL team leader and on Tucker’s leadership team.

Ms. Koski is unique skilled at accelerating English acquisition among the second language students she serves. More important than being fluent in English an Spanish, Monica is versed in children. She speaks their language regardless of dialect and her ability to forges meaningful relationships that yield high levels of student achievement. She truly is a leader among her colleagues, known of her unwavering commitment to the common good. She is often the voice of reason and is always an advocate for what is best for students. Monica’s increasing influence on the broader school community is evidence that teacher leadership drives school culture and that positive school culture drives student success.”

Laura Simons 

Laura Simons - TC WilliamsPhysics Teacher
T.C. Williams High School King Street Campus

Laura Simons is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been with ACPS since 2010. After teaching math at the Minnie Howard campus for a year she moved over to the King Street campus, where she has become a highly sought after physics teacher. She is a lead member of the science department, a lead for the Physics professional learning community and is a liaison for the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

Laura Simons has dedicated her life to ensuring the educational, as well as the social and emotional well-being of the students that she encounters. She has taken the philosophy of supporting her students’ needs both personally and professionally. Ms. Simon has positively impacted the lives of her students through her emphatic love of all things science in such a way that students who are cautious of taking upper level science courses soon fin their fears put at ease. Her enthusiasm for her content is evident in all aspects of her teaching, learning and interacting with her students. From her Twitter feed full of fun science-related tweets, to hands-on activities such as “broom ball” to science days such as “Nerdy Shirt Thursday,” Ms. Sions goes above and beyond to make the educational experiences of her students one that they will never forget.”

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Awards, John Adams, Ramsay, Tucker