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MCPS Principal, Teacher Named Washington Post Awards Finalists

March 18, 2016

Two Montgomery County Public Schools educators have been named finalists for The Washington Post Principal and Teacher of the Year.

Peter Moran, who has been the principal of Glenallan Elementary School in Silver Spring since 2011, is the Principal of the Year finalist. Kimberly Skufca, a technology education teacher at Shady Grove Middle School since 2006 and is in her 16th year with MCPS, is the Teacher of the Year finalist.

Moran is a strong believer in relationships, and supports the success of every Glenallan “Gator,” whether they be students or staff. He often rides the bus to and from school to enhance relationships with students and parents. He greets students by name as they arrive at school, and during recess, he sometimes shoots hoops with students. Moran conducts home visits on a regular basis. To make sure he hears student concerns and ideas, he formed a Student Voice Team that he meets with monthly.

Moran believes that the sky is the limit for students and he works to create opportunities for them to succeed. He developed and runs a weekly program called Gator Guys, which teaches leadership skills and good character to 4th and 5th grade boys, many of whom are considered at-risk. This group has visited college campuses, gone fishing and to the movies, and attended events on Capitol Hill. He created a monthly “Pancakes with the Principal” event for students who demonstrate good character. He used staffing allocations and grant funds to create a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Academy. He also established a partnership with Code.org, creating a STEM summer school program. 

One student said of Moran: “He has shown me that some people are willing to go above and beyond for you. … He is a person who, no matter the circumstances, you can always count on.”

Moran has worked hard to forge a strong relationship with the community. He has started several partnerships with community organizations, including Idk About Books, which donates backpacks to students; the Montgomery County Recreation Department, which funds basketball scholarships for students to compete on a team (which Moran has coached for four years); and Colesville Methodist Church and Manna Food, which provides school supplies, clothing and food for Glenallan families.

Moran is working toward his doctorate specializing in entrepreneurial leadership in education at Johns Hopkins University.

For the first eight years of Kimberly Skufca’s career, she taught social studies, but moved to engineering, which has allowed her to see a passion come alive in her students.

She is known as an effective, motivational and reflective educator with exceptional content knowledge, out-of-the-box thinking and superior organizational and problem solving skills. She has cultivated student talents and fostered a sense of confidence in her students.

She often has her students working in groups, and works to create an atmosphere where students are empowered by each other. As one student noted, “Mrs. Skufca will not let you fail … she works so hard and makes the impossible possible.”

She has become known as the go-to person at school for technology needs or issues; she has taken on leadership roles such as Edline SuperUser, Electronic Gradebook Advisor and Technology Committee Chair. She has worked tirelessly to enroll more female students in classes such as Computer-Aided Drafting and Design and Introduction to Engineering, and to ensure their success. In the past two years, 61 of her Introduction to Engineering students have earned college credit. She also sponsors an after-school STEM Club, and never misses a school play or instrumental music performance.

The Washington Post Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards are given annually to principals and teachers in Washington-area school districts who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create exceptional educational environments and exemplify excellence. The Post is expected to name the winners in early April. Each winner will receive a $7,500 monetary award, a trophy, a ½ page ad in The Post and a profile in the newspaper and online.

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