Kings Glen Elementary School sixth grade teacher Lisa Rode has been named the Region 4 Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Department of Education.
Rode will compete for the 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year title, to be announced October 8, with seven other regional Teachers of the Year.
Rode “has grown not only into a masterful educator of children but also an expert staff developer, both here at Kings Glen and (literally) across the nation and world,” said principal Sam Elson. “Mrs. Rode leads her students and colleagues through real-world scenarios and problems to be solved, using a variety of technologies… Rode includes materials accessible to all students—from those with intellectual disabilities to those in level 4 AAP classes. She is known to help adapt technology for use by students with disabilities and has served as a homebound teacher for a student who was out for part of the year.
“In this current status of ‘distance learning,’ Mrs. Rode has continued to serve her students and the entire staff by making herself available to anyone and everyone, literally day and night," added Elson. "While FCPS teachers’ classroom settings are far from the brick-and-mortar building … Mrs. Rode continues to invite students to ‘lunch bunches’...just virtually, instead of in-person. Today’s lesson (transmitted via Internet) was a science lesson held in a local high school stadium.”
“Lisa’s students learn through authentic and engaging coding activities, across all curriculum areas, using programs such as Scratch, Blockly, Make Code, and Python,” said colleague Cheryl Clark. “These activities require students to think creatively and often work collaboratively in cooperative learning groups.”
Parent Kathy Lafreniere says that Rode has inspired her daughter and helped prepare her for middle school by tapping into her strengths and building her confidence. “She is learning to be a collaborative learner in a setting that is safe to take risks, have fun, and promote out-of-the-box thinking,” said Lafreniere. “It is not only a classroom that challenges her academically, but it is a therapeutic place for any student who needs supports.”
Rode shares her expertise in technology integration through professional development courses at her school and in FCPS and has been invited to lead professional developments on STEM topics around the country. She also teaches a free robotics class at the James Lee Community Center for upper elementary and middle school students who may not have access to other computer science opportunities and co-manages the Fairfax Falcons Paralympic Sports Team.
Rode has been employed as a sixth-grade teacher at Kings Glen since 2007. She was named Fairfax County Public Schools 2019 Outstanding Elementary Teacher.