Stephen Billington, a second-grade teacher at Ashburn Elementary School, has been named Virginia’s Visiting International Faculty Cultural Educator of the Year. Billington is a native of the United Kingdom. When he started teaching in Ashburn a year ago, a student asked him whether he was from England, the United Kingdom, or whether he was British or European. He gave four “yes” answers to all of the questions. Obviously, his first task was to provide his class with a geography lesson.
Yasna Yilorm Barrientos of Chile, a teacher at Meadowland Elementary School in Sterling, and Clara Perez Vargas of Colombia, a teacher at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Ashburn, were nominees for the honor.
DURING A MEETING March 29, the School Board members paid tribute to Billington. They also heard a presentation from Matthew Quinn, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. He presented information about Cooke and the organization. Cooke wanted to go to college, but the hardships of the Depression sent him on another course. By the time he was 20 years old, he was penniless. By the time he was 30, he was a millionaire, and when he died, he was a billionaire.
Quinn said Cooke decided to give away his fortune to people with high ability and significant financial need. He offered the foundation’s expertise in helping needy students. “We realize Loudoun County is our home,” he said. “We want to make sure those who are the neediest and the brightest get the help they need.”
THE SCHOOL BOARD debated a proposal to accept a land exchange and proffer involving the Arcola Elementary School. The board had planned to demolish the existing school and build a modern one in its place. The developer of the Stone Ridge subdivision, however, has offered to provide a 20.7-acre elementary-school site, complete with central utilities, and to build a library in exchange for the 15.05-acre site of the current school. The subdivision is east of the school.
The developer would assume responsibility of the demolition, so the school district would save $1.5 million. The board voted to support the proposal. Final approval is up to the Supervisors. Board member Bob Ohneiser (Broad Run) cast the one descending vote, preferring instead to postpone the exchange for five years.
THE SCHOOL BOARD’S Legislative/Policy Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 7, in the School Board Meeting Room, North Street, Leesburg. It will discuss setting the standards for school plays. Public comment will not be permitted, committee Chairman Mark Nuzzaco (Catoctin) said.