April 10, 2013

DCPS Principal and Special Education Teacher Win Prestigious Washington Post Awards 

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Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202-535-1096

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Two District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) educators were honored today among the best in the region by the Washington Post. Harry Hughes, Principal of Harriet Tubman Elementary School, received the Washington Post Distinguished Leadership Education Award. The award is given to principals who demonstrate strong leadership skills, defy expectations and encourage cooperation, innovation and creativity.

Monique Marshall-Ferguson, a special education teacher at Eastern High School, was awarded the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award along with $3,000 in recognition of her excellence in the teaching profession. The award is given out to teachers who encourage creative and quality instruction and who make substantive contributions to improve education in the District.

“We say it all the time – our great teachers and school leaders change the lives of their students. These two educators are shining examples of what we want for all our schools,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “I wish them my sincerest congratulations and thank them both for everything they do for their students and for this city.”

Harry Hughes has led Tubman Elementary to consistent, sustainable academic growth. During his time as the principal at Tubman, he has effectively leveraged school and community resources to implement an instructional program that is clearly aligned to the school’s mission. Among many accomplishments including significantly improving community engagement, Mr. Hughes has also created a model at the school that enabled teachers to become content experts, a strategy that has resulted in Tubman students demonstrating a 23 percent increase in proficiency rates in reading and a 29 percent increase in proficiency rates in math over the past four years

“Mr. Hughes frequently visits the classrooms, supporting teachers in front of the students and students in front of each other, which increases the teachers’ effectiveness. These observations provide an opportunity for constructive feedback from our principal educator. Mr. Hughes is well versed in best practices, current research, and using data to drive instruction. There is not a child in this school whose name, background information, and assessment results are unknown to Mr. Hughes,” said Sheila M.H. Copeland, a fifth grade math teacher at Tubman, who is in her eleventh year at the school. “I cannot imagine a leader I would rather follow.”

Mr. Hughes began his career in law. In 1999, he became a fourth grade teacher and went back to school to earn his degree in education administration. He joined Tubman as an assistant principal in 2006 and became principal in 2008. Mr. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, his Masters of Science at Trinity University and is currently pursuing his Executive Masters in Leadership degree from Georgetown University.  

Monique Marshall-Ferguson, an educator in her ninth year of teaching, has worked at Eastern High School since 2011. At Eastern, she works with high functioning students with autism in an inclusion setting. She is known for demanding a school culture of respect and tolerance among students. Her co-teacher, Megan Fisk, a Chemistry teacher at Eastern, describes Ms. Marshall-Ferguson as someone who instills a desire to learn and achieve as well as someone who fosters students’ talent and self-esteem.

“One of the most noticeable and appreciated qualities of Monique Marshall-Ferguson is her unsurpassed level of dedication to the teaching profession. Students, teachers and administrators know that they can count on her to be there when needed,” said Fisk. “While team-teaching, I have appreciated Ms. Marshall-Ferguson’s flexibility, focus, and willingness to meet on a regular basis to discuss our students and their needs.”

Her efforts are evident in her students’ achievement. All of the students in the Autism Inclusion program at Eastern are on track to graduate with their peers in 2015, and five of seven of the male students have been on the honor roll.

Ms. Monique Marshall-Ferguson is originally from Farrell, Pennsylvania. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching from Bowie State University and a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgia State University.  She is currently enrolled in Special Education courses at the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing a second Master’s degree in Special Education and Transition.

To be eligible for the Agnes Meyer award, full-time teachers must teach in an accredited school in DC, Maryland or Virginia and have a minimum of five years of teaching experience, three in their current school district.

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