The Jaycees honor public servants


Alexandria City Public Schools teachers Edward Slavinskas, Wesley McCune and Gregory Baldwin and Director of Staff Development Melissa Deak were recipients of special recognition in four different areas as  the Alexandria Jaycees presented their Outstanding Public Service Award to individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 from ACPS, the Alexandria Police Department, Fire Department, City Hall and Sheriff’s Office.
The organization chooses recipients who have distinguished themselves, their families and their communities by their service and conduct. George Talmadge Webber, namesake of the award presented to Deak, served as a T.C. Williams government instructor committed to inspiring and motivating the young regardless of race, creed or color.

Edward Slavinskas, who teaches learning disabled and other health-impaired fourth- and fifth-graders at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, will be honored tonight at the eighth annual Commonwealth Academy Recognition of Educators CARE Awards Dinner. Slavinskas has taught special education students for the past 31 years, including 23 years in ACPS, where he has dedicated his life to teaching children who are learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, autistic, hearing impaired, severely emotionally disturbed and otherwise impaired.

A native of Scranton, Pa., Slavinskas earned a bachelor of science in education of exceptional children in 1975. In 1983, he received his master of education in special education from the Pennsylvania State University. In 2004, Slavinskas received Alexandrias Special Education Advisory Committees Harry Burke Award, given annually for service and commitment to children with disabilities. He is also a two-time nominee for the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Award.

Commonwealth Academy, an independent middle and high school in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, serves approximately 100 area students who have diagnosed learning differences and benefit from smaller class sizes and individualized learning plans. The schools annual awards dinner honors educators from the districts represented by each years Congressional Host Committee. Alexandria Mayor William Euille will present the award to Slavinskas.

Wesley McCune, music teacher at John Adams Elementary School, has been selected as one of 25 teachers from a national applicant pool to attend an institute on the music of J.S. Bach under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The institute, J.S. Bach in the Baroque and Enlightenment, will be held in three cities in Germany during July. Teachers selected to participate in the four-week program each receive a stipend to cover their travel, study and living expenses. Further information on this program can be found at McCune, recently named the 2008 Alexandria City Public Schools Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher by The Washington Post, participated in an NEH institute on Mozart in Vienna, Austria, in 2005.

Gregory Baldwin, a special education government teacher at T.C. Williams High School, has been selected to participate in the 2008 Korean Studies Workshop for American Educators July 9 through 24. The Korean Studies Workshop for American Educators provides U.S. educators with fully funded study visits to Korea. Sponsored entirely by the Korea Foundation, the workshop is designed to enhance mutual understanding between the people of Korea and the United States by inviting certain U.S. educators to visit Korea and then share their experiences with fellow Americans upon their return. Following participation in the workshop, participants will be required to submit impact reports to the Institute of International Education.

Melissa Deak, ACPS Director of Staff Development, received the 2008 George Talmadge Webber Alexandria Public Schools Award at the recent Alexandria Jaycees Community Appreciation Night (CAN). Deak has worked for ACPS for 15 years, and in her current role, which she has held for the past year, is responsible for all aspects of ACPS staff development, helping teachers and other employees become more effective and maintain their certification requirements. Her work develops the capacity of personnel to reach their full potential and to achieve ACPS instructional goals.

Deak is a model for effective teaching, having achieved National Board Certification through a rigorous and lengthy evaluation which held her to the highest professional standards in all aspects of her teaching. She also serves the schools and the community as a member of the Technology Leadership Task Force and the Consortium for Promoting the Achievement of Culturally Diverse Males. Also an active member of the Alexandria community, Deak is director of the Dowden Terrace Recreation Association Winter Swim Clinic, which supports the development of more than 40 young swimmers. She also is a member of the Brookville-Seminary Valley Civic Association, James K. Polk Elementary Schools PTA and the Alpha Delta Kappa sorority.