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The Washington Post’s Division Principal and Teacher of the Year Announced

May 18, 2020 -- The Washington Post has announced the 2020 Manassas City Public Schools Principal and Teacher of the Year Winners. Christopher Short, a music instructor at Baldwin Intermediate School, has been named the division’s Teacher of the Year, while Kara Grasser, of Jennie Dean Elementary School, has been deemed the Principal of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Newman and MCPS Human Resources Executive Director Billie Kay Wingfield notified both educators of the honor during a surprise visit to their homes. Along with this recognition, Short and Grasser received a trophy, yard sign and lunch for their families.

Kara Grasser has served as the principal for three MCPS schools over the past eight years: Jennie Dean Elementary, George C. Round Elementary and Mayfield Intermediate. She also served as the assistant principal at Jennie Dean Elementary, where she has been principal since 2018. Grasser started her career with MCPS teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at Osbourn High School.

Grasser began her teaching career as a second through fourth grade teacher in Orlando, Florida. She holds a master’s degree in Leadership from the University of Central Florida and has completed the classwork portion of her doctorate at George Washington University. Before her career in education, Grasser worked for an Orlando TV news affiliate.

Christopher Short is a fifth and sixth grade music instructor for the band and orchestra programs at Baldwin Intermediate School. Now in his 16th year teaching with Manassas City Public Schools, he started with MCPS at Metz Middle School teaching sixth grade band and strings. Short also taught general music classes and self-contained Autism classes at Baldwin Elementary.

“His skills, ability, knowledge, and professionalism make him an excellent educator,” said Baldwin Intermediate Principal Dr. Amanda Wagner. “However, it is his passion and dedication that make him exemplary.”

Short earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Penn State University and his master’s in music performance from Michigan State University. When he is not teaching, Short serves in the District of Columbia Army National Guard in the 257th Army Band. His position as horn player in the band recently took him to Africa as an ambassador of music. He is also the principal horn of the Manassas Symphony Orchestra.

Other nominees for Teacher of the Year included: Lauren Tierney (Jennie Dean Elementary); Ashley Lubold (Mayfield Intermediate); Luz Kresge (Osbourn High School); Melissa Armand (Baldwin Elementary); Carrie McDaniel (Weems Elementary); Shannon Shifflett (Round Elementary); and Ellie Lasher (Metz Middle).

Grasser

 Kara Grasser, of Jennie Dean Elementary School, has been deemed the Principal of the Year.

Short family

Christopher Short, a music instructor at Baldwin Intermediate School, has been named the division’s Teacher of the Year.