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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

School Board Recognitions
May 16, 2017

6. Student, Employee and Public Awards and Recognitions
6A. All-Virginia Honors Music Ensembles

Welcome to Music Night. This evening’s recognitions are sure to be music to your ears. Our first recognition is for students selected from among their peers throughout the Commonwealth for inclusion in the state’s prestigious music ensembles. These are the highest awards possible for state recognition in music. To be selected means that students have distinguished themselves as the top performers in their strand. Let’s meet them:

Members of the All Virginia Elementary Chorus 2017:

From Princess Anne Elementary School:

  • Katelyn Hayden
  • Raina Hayes
  • Audrey Maggio
  • Merrilee Miller

Congratulations to the All Virginia Elementary Chorus honorees!

Let’s now meet the members of the All Virginia Middle School Chorus 2017:

From Corporate Landing Middle School:

  • Haley Bradley
  • Abigail Dear
  • Ashton Dodrill
  • Niyanna Green
  • Thomas Carter Green
  • Savannah Kelly
  • Reagan McGary
  • Kylee McLaughlin
  • Jonathon Rebultan
  • Gabrielle Stansberry

From Landstown Middle School:

  • Jonathan Bailey
  • Willow Harris
  • Katelynn Hocker

From Old Donation School:

  • Sierra Colbert
  • Jackson Kubin

Congratulations, All Virginia Middle School Chorus honorees!

Next is high school chorus. Let’s meet the members of the All Virginia High School Chorus 2017:

From Green Run High School:

  • Tyree Henderson
  • Morgan Razey

From Kempsville High School:

  • Karlee Fraughnaugh

From Landstown High School

  • Paulo-Jon Frances
  • Kianna McNeil

From Ocean Lakes High School:

  • Tristan Walker

From Princess Anne High School:

  • Abby Carlson
  • Megan O'Reilly
  • Michael Peck
  • Amber Pierson

From Salem High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy:

  • Hannah Beagle
  • Mia Davis
  • Madison Lucas
  • Isabella Noble
  • Audrey Reyes
  • Zion Smith
  • Jazelyn Waddell

From Tallwood High School:

  • Chris Gador
  • Marissa Goodall

Congratulations, All Virginia High School Chorus honorees!

Next are Members of the All Virginia Band and Orchestra 2017

From Cox High School:

  • Sam Cosenza who plays trumpet
  • Nicholas McKee who plays the viola
  • Micah Lall-Trail who plays the clarinet

From Princess Anne High School:

  • Justin Thornton who plays the trumpet
  • Charles Todd who plays the violin
  • Grace Liu who plays the violin

From Salem High School:

  • Raymond Penland who plays cello

From Salem High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy

  • Michael Ayala who plays the viola
  • Andrew Parker who plays the French horn
  • Shelby Worst who plays the clarinet

From Tallwood High School:

  • Joshua Villa, trumpet player

Please join me in congratulating all of these talented musicians!

6B. State Honor Bands and Blue Ribbon Schools
Our next recognition of the evening is to honor our school music departments for receiving an Honor Band Award or Blue Ribbon Distinction for the 2016-2017 school year.

Five high schools earned the distinction of Virginia Honor Band from the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. Here to accept the plaques on behalf of their respective schools are:

  • From Cox High School, Band Director Mike Lane
  • From Landstown High School, Administrative Assistant Jason Stanley accepting for band director Elwood Gehlert.
  • From Ocean Lakes High School, Band Director Ryan Rowles
  • From Princess Anne High School, Band Director John Boyd; and
  • From Tallwood High School, Band Director Tim Rossettini

Bands of these schools received a superior rating at both the State Marching Band Assessment in the fall and the Concert Band Assessment in the spring. Selection as a Virginia Honor Band is the highest honor awarded to a high school band in the Commonwealth.


We are also pleased to recognized Blue Ribbon Schools. In order to qualify, the band, orchestra and chorus at each school must receive three superior ratings at their respective district assessments and participate in Sight-Reading Assessments.

Here to accept the plaques on behalf of the schools are:

  • Corporate Landing Middle School, represented by band director James Reid, orchestra director Lee Anne Stevahn and choral director Mary Letson.
  • Great Neck Middle School represented by band director Heather Smith, orchestra director Robin Sawyer and choral director Lou Ann Meade
  • Landstown Middle School represented by band director Kassi Gulliford, orchestra director Jeff Bailey and choral director Ashley Adams;
  • Old Donation School represented by band director Kenneth Poe, and choral director DeLena Poe
  • Plaza Middle School represented by band director Louis Tarabick, Sarah McGhee, orchestra director and choral director Jennifer Harrison;
  • Princess Anne Middle School represented by band director Susan Wishart, orchestra director Manny Hernandez, and choral director Meredith Mulcair; and
  • Princess Anne High School represented by band director John Boyd, and choral director David Presscot

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding teachers and their very successful music programs!

6C. Best Communities for Music Education
Our next recognition is to celebrate that Virginia Beach City Public Schools has once again been designated as one of America’s Best Communities for Music Education. Accepting the award this evening are Fine Arts Coordinator John Brewington and Instructional Specialist Holly Sunderland.

Virginia Beach schools have earned this distinction multiple times. According to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation which presents the awards each year, honorees are selected based on funding, staffing of highly-qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction. In Virginia Beach City Public Schools, more than 37,000 students—which is more than half of the students in the division—take some form of music education. This includes music, orchestra, band and chorus. Our students have performed on the national stage at Carnegie Hall and locally throughout our community in events, functions and parades.

Congratulations to our students, staff, parents and community for making Virginia Beach a 2017 Best Community for Music Education.

6D. 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year
Our last recognition of the evening is to recognize the person who was just named the 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents: our very own Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron C. Spence!

Since joining Virginia Beach schools in 2014, Dr. Spence has led division efforts to address equity and the impact of poverty to ensure that all students have access to a rigorous, high-quality education. In addition, he has directed the creation and opening of an entrepreneurship and business academy, expanded learning opportunities around sustainability across the division and launched the Digital Learning Anchor School program, which serves as a pilot for a 1:1 technology initiative.

In presenting Dr. Spence with the award last week, Virginia Association of School Superintendents President Jennifer Parish said, “As a result of Dr. Spence’s leadership, Virginia Beach schools have been able to address achievement and discipline gaps. His work exemplifies the work that is occurring throughout Virginia.” She continued, “Additionally, his communication and community engagement strategies continue to ensure the success of his school division.”

As a token of appreciation for his work and to acknowledge his selection as the 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year, the School Board would like to present Dr. Spence with this engraved desk compass.

Dr. Spence, we hope this compass will serve as a symbol of the great things we have accomplished together for the children of this city and also as an inspiration for the work ahead of us.

As the 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year Dr. Spence is now a candidate for National Superintendent of the Year honors. That award will be presented next February by the American Association of School Administrators.

Dr. Spence, we just want to say how proud we are of you and how greatly we appreciate your commitment to the 67,000 students and 10,000 staff members in our schools. The impact of your leadership can be seen in every classroom, in every school across Virginia Beach.

Please join me in once again congratulating the 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Aaron Spence.

Mrs. Chairwoman that concludes our recognitions for this evening. Guests, thank you for celebrating with us these amazing students, teachers and superintendent!

Last Modified on Monday, April 23, 2018