Winner of the 2019 FCPS Honors Outstanding New Principal award, Teresa Fennessy, Principal, Herndon Elementary School, pictured with Dr. Scott Brabrand, FCPS Superintendent (left) and Stewart Robenson, President Moseley Architects (right) at the FCPS Honors ceremony held June 12.
Photo by Fairfax County Public Schools
For two local Herndon school administrators, Jesse Kraft, Principal Coates Elementary School, and Teresa Fennessy, Principal Herndon Elementary, the 2019 FCPS Honors Gala was an occasion to remember. Held June 12 at George Mason Center for the Arts, the evening event celebrated outstanding achievements by more than 550 FCPS employees. During the ceremony, Dr. Scott Brabrand presented the EDDY, the official award of the FCPS Honors, to top 12 employees in various categories, including Outstanding Teacher, Principal, FCPS Leader, Support Employee and more. Kraft and Fennessy each received an esteemed EDDY.
FCPS recognized the two Herndon principals among the 12 coveted EDDY award recipients, Teresa Fennessy, Principal Herndon Elementary School as this year's Outstanding New Principal and Jesse Kraft, Principal Coates Elementary School as this year’s Outstanding Principal. Fennessy and Kraft each received a $4000 award.
TO RECEIVE THE OUTSTANDING NEW PRINCIPAL AWARD, Fennessy had to be nominated and meet specific criteria. According to FCPS in its award criteria, eligible candidates for the Outstanding New Principal award must have completed at least three full years of teaching, and nominees, all new principals, had to: "Exhibit superior instructional skills; Interact exceptionally well with students; Demonstrate excellent ability to communicate and engage with faculty, staff, parents and the community." In addition, the nominee had to "contribute to one or more of the following Ignite Goals, in the FCPS Strategic Plan: Student Success, Caring Culture, Premier Workforce and Resource Stewardship."
A few days after Fennessy received her EDDY, the staff at Herndon Elementary School, unknown to her, described what made Fennessy an Outstanding New Principal. Tiffany Bryant, who has been at Herndon Elementary School for more than 20 years, said in a statement, "Teresa Fennessy has been a breath of fresh air to Herndon ES as well as the Herndon community. Her enthusiasm and 100 percent belief in staff and student abilities create a sense of positivity on a daily basis. She is the epitome of outstanding and more than deserving of this award."
Amber VanCassele, a Third Grade Teacher at Herndon Elementary School, replied, "Teresa has been an incredible leader for our school. It is so refreshing to be able to work with such a goal-oriented, professional and caring administrator who advocates for her students and staff. It's been a privilege to work and learn alongside Teresa."
Reached for comment, Fennessy, who said she loves working with the fabulous people at Herndon Elementary, stated, "They make this school great."
FOR THE OUTSTANDING PRINCIPAL AWARD, which Kraft received, specific criteria to that award detailed nominees had to be principals who had started their fourth year or beyond as a principal and: "Manage effectively; Demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation; Foster cooperation between the school and the community; Maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff; Keep abreast of developments in the field of education; Encourage team spirit; Demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment; (and) Continue to play an active role in the classroom.” In addition, the nominee had to "contribute to one or more of the following Ignite Goals, in the FCPS Strategic Plan: Student Success, Caring Culture, Premier Workforce and Resource Stewardship."
In a request for comment about Kraft, fellow EDDY award winner Fennessy said, "Jessie Kraft has a wonderful reputation as a forward-thinking leader who has had a positive impact on the learning at two FCPS Title 1 elementary schools."
Dr. Scott Brabrand, FCPS Superintendent, stated, "Jess works with a passion that inspires the great educators around him. He empowers his staff and students as is a constant model, designing and leading training for teachers, creating workshops for students, and collaborating with parents."
Through a collaborative effort with the FCPS HR Department, the Foundation for FCPS helped honor the commitment and achievements of FCPS teachers and staff through the annual FCPS Honors Gala. The Foundation sought business and community sponsors for the gala. The 2019 FCPS Honors Sponsors included Signature Sponsor Apple Federal Credit Union, Highest Honors Sponsor Cox Business, Honors Sponsors Amazon Web Services, Architecture Incorporated, Guernsey, Innovation Health Aetna | Inova, Kaiser Permanente, Milestone Communications and Moseley Architects; and Event Sponsors EagleBank, Edupoint and United Bank.