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City of Fairfax elects School Board, extends superintendent’s contract

The City of Fairfax elected a new School Board earlier this month. All four incumbent candidates, Jon Buttram, Carolyn Pitches, Toby Sorensen and Mitch Sutterfield, were reelected.

Newcomer Rob Reinsel will join them as the fifth and final School Board member in place of Janice Miller, who was elected to the city council.

“Our schools are one of the key hubs around which our community turns and they truly make the city a desirable place to live,” Reinsel said. “I look forward to joining my new colleagues and Superintendent Noonan in working to keep our city schools strong.”

The current School Board voted to renew the contract of Superintendent Peter Noonan. Noonan is now contracted by the City of Fairfax school system through 2018.

The city contracts with the Fairfax County school system to operate its schools and hire staff, but the city’s School Board is responsible for managing the city-county school relationship and maintaining the four city-owned school buildings.

Fairfax elementary school receives grant for garden project

Daniels Run Elementary in Fairfax received a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant to create a “literacy garden” in the school courtyard.

The home improvement company’s national school grant program awarded Daniels Run $4,950 in funding to turn an unused courtyard into an outdoor learning environment blending science and literacy education.

The garden will include a wildlife habitat, wetlands and other areas, each with a specific literary theme. One area will include host plants for caterpillars to call home, allowing students to learn about life cycles. This area will be called the Very Hungry Caterpillar garden in honor of the popular children’s book of the same name by Eric Carle.

Spanish immersion teacher named Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year

Indiana Obando, a Spanish immersion teacher at Bailey’s Elementary in Falls Church, has been named the 2014 Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year by the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia.

When Obando came to the United States at age 17, she did not know how to speak English. Her own experience learning a new language inspired her to earn a master’s degree in Spanish literature with a concentration in bilingual and multicultural education from George Mason University in 2004.

Obando joined the Fairfax County school system in 2005 as a Spanish immersion teacher at Rose Hill Elementary, and since then has worked to be an advocate for her students’ families, many of whom share her immigrant background.