Celebrating the DCPS Community at Standing Ovation


For more than fifteen years, Standing Ovation has honored the achievements of DCPS’ top teachers, leaders, and school communities. The awards elevate the role of DCPS in our nation’s capital with a strong show of support from business leaders, civic officials, corporate partners, and philanthropic champions. The annual event is a hallmark of the DCPS community’s broader commitment to its educators.

This year’s Standing Ovation celebrates 22 distinguished finalists and awardees for their exemplary impact on students and learning. DCPS, the DC Public Education Fund, and the Flamboyan Foundation also presented the inaugural M. Shanita Burney Family Engagement Award, established in memory of Shanita Burney, a DCPS pillar and dedicated public servant. The award recognizes a school’s exceptional family engagement efforts.

DCPS Chancellor, Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee presented opening remarks and Mayor Muriel Bowser presented the Excellence Awards for Teachers. Please join us in celebrating all the 2023 Standing Ovation awardees!

Excellence Awards for Teachers

  • Whitney Bartell, General Elementary Teacher, Simon Elementary School 
  • Alex Clark, Physical Education Teacher, Dunbar High School 
  • Kalpana Sharma, Early Childhood Techer, Brightwood Elementary School 
  • Tiescheka Stuart, Career Education Teacher, Roosevelt STAY High School 

Outstanding Educator of the Year 

  • Dr. NiLa Austin, School-Wide Enrichment Teacher, Ida B. Wells Middle School 

Excellence Awards for School-Based Staff

  • Marlen Joglar, Instructional Coach, Bruce-Monroe Elementary School 
  • Christina Lee, Instructional Coach, Jefferson Middle School 
  • Asheigh Rose, School Librarian, Eliot-Hine Middle School 
  • Mische’ Walden, School Counselor, Johnson Middle School 

Outstanding School Staff of the Year 

  • Cristina Restrepo-Harner, Program Coordinator and Behavior Analyst, Shirley Chisholm Elementary School (formerly Tyler Elementary School

Excellence Awards for School Leaders

  • Shajena Cartagena, Assistant Principal, Ballou High School 
  • Dr. Calvin Hooks, Principal, Hyde-Addison Elementary School 
  • LeVar Jenkins, Principal, Burroughs Elementary Schools 
  • Norah Lycknell, Principal, Brent Elementary School 

Outstanding School Leader of the Year 

  • Dr. Kristie Edwards, Principal, Randle-Highlands Elementary School 

Excellence Awards for Central Services Staff

  • Nijma Esad, Manager, Library Programs, Office of Teaching & Learning 
  • Alisha Heller, Manager of Operations & Communications, Office of Communications 
  • Anthony Hiller, Senior Director of Core Content, Office of Teaching & Learning 
  • Emily Schneider, Manager, School Finance, Office of Fiscal Strategy 

Outstanding Central Services Leader of the Year 

  • Dr. Jacqueline A. Blackwell-Speight, Manager of Emergency Planning & Guidance, Office of the Chief Operating Office 

School Excellence: School Improvement Award 

  • Eliot-Hine Middle School, Principal Marlene Margrino 

School Excellence: M. Shanita Burney Family Engagement Award 

  • Turner Elementary School, Principal Jessica Johnson