Washington Post Honors Lyles-Crouch Principal, George Mason Teacher


Patricia Zissios, principal of Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, was recently named a Distinguished Educational Leader by the Washington Post, part of the publications annual awards for principals from public and private schools throughout the Metro area.

Zissios was recognized for being one of the regions education leaders who go above and beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational experience, according to the Post. She has also earned a doctorate and a masters degree in administration and supervision from George Mason University.

Dr. Zissios is an exemplary educator and principal in Alexandria City Public Schools and deeply deserving of this recognition, Superintendent Morton Sherman said.

In her five years as principal at Lyles-Crouch, Zissios has built a highly respected school community and curriculum, according to ACPS. Under Zissioss supervision, the school received back-to-back Governors Gold Awards for Best Practices in Nutrition and Physical Activity and is currently a finalist in the National Schools of Character competition.

Due to some of Zissioss efforts to reach out to the community, Lyles-Crouch has a drama club sponsored by the Little Theatre of Alexandria, art classes sponsored by the Art League Inc. as well as a language lab with educational opportunities in French, German, Spanish, Latin and Chinese.

Throughout her career as an educator, Dr. Zissios has been dogged in her pursuit of excellence and excellent opportunities for her staff and students, Sherman said. She is never satisfied and is always searching for the best experience that will elevate her students to new heights, new dreams and new and better futures.

Jennifer Larsen, a first-grade teacher at George Mason Elementary School since 2002, has been named by the Washington Post as one of 20 regional winners of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher award. Past students, teachers, parents, administrators and the public at large chose nominees from schools based on at least three years of experience with the school.

Larsen beat out fellow ACPS educators including Timothy Grasso (Lyles-Crouch), Jennifer Lay and Tracey Ramey (T.C. Williams).

Ms. Larsen provides exemplary over and above service to our students by the way in which she engages them and communicates with our families during school events and parent-teacher conferences, said George Mason Principal Dawn Feltman. In my experience, I have known very few professionals that contribute so much to so many…(she) is in the top 1 percent of all teachers and educators with whom I have ever worked.

Having worked as an ACPS teacher since 1993, Larsen has a wealth of experience and skill that her colleagues can appreciate.

She continually shares her knowledge with her peers not only informally within the school but by developing and offering workshops in math, science and social studies for other teachers through the school district, said fellow first-grade teachers Jean Dean and Kristin Schmidt in a letter of support to the Agnes Meyer nominating committee.

According to ACPS, Larsen serves as a cooperating teacher with the George Washington University Graduate Program and as a mentor to new teachers, offering quarterly ACPS staff development lessons on Effective Math Instruction and Using Thematic Notebooks to Enhance Science and Social Studies.