By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, mgreen@afro.com

As schools are closely approaching the beginning of winter break, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other District officials surprised District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) educators with high honors.  On Dec. 17 Maisha Riddlesprigger, Principal of Ketcham Elementary School was honored with the 2019 DCPS Principal of the Year Award and Lakeisha Brown, teacher at Lafayette Elementary School, received the DCPS 2019 Teacher of the Year Award.

The 2019 DCPS Principal and Teacher of the Year Awards are made possible through Standing Ovation for DCPS and the generosity of David M. Rubenstein.  Nominations and selections for the awards are based off of performance from the previous school year.

Dr. Amanda Alexander (rigt), interim chancellor for DCPS, presents Lakeisha Brown (left) teacher at Lafayette Elementary, with the 2019 DCPS Teacher of the Year Award. (Courtesy Photo)

Principal of the year must show, “a commitment to providing high-quality learning opportunities for all students, a passion for student achievement and a focus on closing the achievement gap,” according to Standing Ovation.

The mayor attended Ketcham to honor Principal Riddlesprigger in a special assembly.

“I see when we have a high energy person, with great expectations for their kids, is when we see the type of achievements that we see in your school.  And I get to recognize that outstanding principal.  And this year, it’s your principal that’s going to be the principal of the year,” Bowser said to a roar of applauses and cheers from the supportive school community.

DCPS Interim Chancellor Dr. Amanda Alexander speaks at an assembly presenting Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger (seated far left) of Ketcham Elementary with the 2019 DCPS Principal of the Year Award. Riddlesprigger is seated next to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and District of Columbia State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. (Courtesy Photo)

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving than ,” Jessica Greer wrote on Twitter.

Principal Riddlesprigger was presented with a $10,000 check for her achievements.

The 2019 DCPS Teacher of the Year Awards goes to an educator, who, “through their passion for teaching, they foster a love of learning for their students and positively affect the entire school community,” according to the Standing Ovation website.

Brown was surprised with the news of her award by interim DCPS chancellor, Amanda Alexander.  A video was posted on Twitter with Brown walking into what seems to be the school’s media center, where the Lafayette community is cheering her on- even having two young students present her with flowers.

DCPS tweeted some of the kind remarks from Brown’s fellow teachers.

“Outside of being a great teacher, she’s also a great friend. I can’t think of anyone more deserving,” one teacher said. ”You were such a breath of fresh air,” another instructor told Brown affirming her accomplishments.

Brown also received a $10,000 award for her excellence in teaching.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor