ESOL Teacher Selected as Division’s Washington Post Teacher of the Year Nominee
April 27, 2023 - Each year, the Manassas City Public Schools community is asked to nominate a deserving teacher to represent the division as its Washington Post Teacher of the Year. Leticia Foster, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher from Mayfield, was chosen as this year’s nominee. Foster is described as an exceptional educator who is dedicated to supporting her colleagues, her students, and their families.
The ESOL teacher was surprised by the news on Thursday when Superintendent Dr. Kevin Newman and the Mayfield administrative team entered her classroom with flowers and a banner that will hang outside the school for the next year.
Foster said she was completely surprised by the news and is grateful for the opportunity to represent the division.
“I love what I do,” Foster said. “I love being an educator, and to be recognized for my efforts is amazing. I am deeply honored by the recognition and the faith my administrators have in me. I am very fortunate to work in a division that has allowed me the flexibility and creativity to meet students’ needs.”
Foster’s classroom is the first experience many of her students have with the education system in our country, explained Mayfield Intermediate Principal Donald Frischkorn. Her peers said Foster's passion for teaching English Language Learners is unmatched.
“Ms. Foster ensures that all her students feel accepted and valued within her classroom and as part of our school,” explained Frischkorn. “She can quickly identify the academic needs of each of her students and begin providing them with the support needed to start understanding the English language and applying it within the classroom and community.”
Foster received her bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and she has master's degrees in both curriculum and instruction and administration. Foster is endorsed in the Commonwealth of Virginia as an elementary educator, teacher of English as a Second Language, special educator, gifted educator, school counselor, and school administrator. Her endorsements range from prekindergarten through twelfth grade.
Foster has more than 20 years of educational experience, including time as a principal and assistant principal. She has also served as a classroom teacher, reading coach, and instructional coach. She joined the MCPS family in 2019 after moving from Texas, and has worked at both Baldwin Intermediate and Mayfield Intermediate schools.
Foster is a strong advocate of education and the difference an educator can have in a student’s life.
Currently, Foster serves as the lead ESOL teacher at Mayfield. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for her colleagues, and as the Parent as Educational Partners (PEP) program coordinator. Through the PEP program, Foster aids English Learners' parents in understanding the school system, and she provides ways they can help their children succeed in school.
“I, too, was an ESOL student, and I am a first-generation U.S. citizen,” she said. “These experiences have provided me with first-hand knowledge and understanding of the challenges my students face and what we, as educators, need to do to help them succeed.”
As the lead ESOL teacher, Foster is responsible for reviewing students’ files and assisting with developing schedules that will benefit those students, as well as ensuring that academic support and resources are available to help them succeed. Her role extends beyond working with the students and administration. She provides teachers with professional development and strategies that help them best support students.
“My goals as a teacher are to provide a positive learning environment for my students and to continue my servant leadership to my community,” Foster explained. “I want to inspire my students to have the confidence to succeed, to create an environment where students feel comfortable advocating for themselves, to increase their academic achievement, and to have a positive impact on their social-emotional development.”
Her passion for the growth of MCPS teachers and student success makes her a deserving recipient, said Mayfield Assistant Principal Brian Moore.
Her dedication to her profession is evident in everything she does as a teacher, mentor, and colleague,” he added. “She truly makes a difference to the Mayfield community.”
While she’s elated by the honor, Foster said she is simply doing the job she loves.
“I believe the role of a teacher is to see the potential in all of our students, remove the barriers and unleash their talents for future success,” Foster said. “So, to my fellow teachers, let’s keep advocating and encouraging all our students.”
The Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by The Washington Post annually, recognizes educators around the Washington region that illustrate excellence in their roles, promote exceptional education, and contribute toward student success through their dedication and service.
At the January 24 school board meeting, MCPS presented the Washington Post nominees from the division’s nine schools. However, due to the embargo requirements from The Washington Post, the division nominee could not be announced until last week. Foster will be recognized at the May 16 school board meeting.