The Washington Post today announced the winners and finalists of the 2018 Washington Post Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards.

The Post’s 2018 Principal of the Year is Paul Pack, principal of Liberty Elementary School in Loudoun County. Pack started his career in Loudoun County Public Schools more than 15 years ago. In an effort to transition Liberty to a more STEM-friendly school, Pack converted Liberty’s traditional computer lab into a SMART Lab that encourages students to work collaboratively with new technology. His commitment to STEM education has led Liberty to be recognized as the first “STEM Immersion” school in Loudoun County.

SOUTH RIDING, VIRGINIA – APRIL 11: Liberty Elementary School principal Paul Pack, who was named Virginia Principal of the Year, sits for a portrait inside of the classroom on April 11, 2018 in South Riding, Virginia

Daniel Reichard, fifth-grade teacher at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School in Stafford County, is The Post’s  2018 Teacher of the Year. Reichard is in his sixth year of teaching and takes a visual approach when connecting students with their lessons. When the students studied rocks and minerals in October, Reichard transformed the classroom into a scene from “Jurassic World.” He draped the students’ desks with black tablecloths and decorated them with grey tubing so they resembled Jeeps, while dinosaur sounds played over the classroom’s speakers.

STAFFORD, VIRGINIA – APRIL 11: Stafford Elementary School teacher Dan Richard, who was named Virginia Teacher of the Year, guides his 5th grade students through a lesson on April 11, 2018 in Stafford, Virginia.

Both winners will receive a $7,500 monetary award, profile in The Washington Post, feature spot in a ½ page Washington Post ad and signature trophy.

In presenting these awards, The Post aims to encourage excellence in school leadership and to contribute to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area. The Principal of the Year Award, formerly known as the Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards, was established in 1987 and seeks to honor the principal who goes beyond the daily responsibilities of their position to create an exceptional educational environment through dedicated leadership. Since 1983, the Teacher of the Year Award, formerly known as the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards, recognized a pre-kindergarten-12th grade teacher who ensures students receive a high-quality education through first-class and creative instruction.

Among the award winners are more than 35 principal and teacher finalists. The standout educators were chosen by their school systems for their exceptional work and unwavering commitment to students in the Washington area.

2018 Principal of the Year Finalists

Jesse Mazur (George Washington Middle School, Alexandria City); George Lindley (Arundel Middle School, Anne Arundel County); Kimberley Graves (Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, Arlington County); James Kurtz (Windy Hill Middle School, Calvert County); Kathleen Morgan (Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School, Charles County); Tenia Pritchard (Whittier Education Campus, District of Columbia); Niya White (Center City Public Charter School, D.C. Public Charter); Merrell Dade (Forestdale Elementary School, Fairfax County); Kimberlyn Pratesi (Hammond Elementary School, Howard County); Amanda Wilder (Richard C. Haydon Elementary School, Manassas City); Mary Jane Ennis (Glen Haven Elementary School, Montgomery County); Tracey Spivey-White (Judith P. Hoyer Montessori School, Prince George’s County); Robert Eichorn (New Directions Alternative Education Center, Prince William County); Beth Ramsey (Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School, St. Mary’s County); Michael Sidebotham (Grafton Village Elementary School, Stafford County).

2018 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Laura Simons (T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria City); Joshua Carroll (South River High School, Anne Arundel County); Timothy Wyatt Cotman Jr. (Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Arlington County); Kristen Ratcliff (Calvert High School, Calvert County); Cynthia Pryor (William A. Diggs Elementary School, Charles County); Tumeka Coleman (Walker-Jones Education Campus, District of Columbia); Benjamin Byrd (E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, D.C. Public Charter); Sarah Thompson (Mark Twain Middle School, Fairfax County); Farrell Kelly (Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, Falls Church); Leys Rodriguez (Fauquier High School, Fauquier County); Elizabeth Waltman (Lime Kiln Middle School, Howard County); Denise Corbo (Steuart W. Weller Elementary School, Horizon Elementary School, Sugarland Elementary School, Loudoun County); Kristine Heaver (Osbourn High School, Manassas City); Claude D. LeGrand Jr. (Manassas Park High School, Manassas Park); Kenneth Smith (Montgomery Blair High School, Montgomery County); Kenneth Kitchelt (Frances Fuchs Early Childhood Center, Prince George’s County); Robert Scott (Osbourn Park High School, Prince William County); Heather Husk (Leonardtown Middle School, St. Mary’s County); Samuel Haller (DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville Private School).

Learn more about The Post’s Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards here.