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ACPS Announces Four Leaders as VIP Award Winners

ACPS Announces Four Leaders as VIP Award Winners

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is proud to award our third quarter Vision, Integrity and Passion (VIP) awards to a group of staff members in the leadership category. All four recipients’ first names just happen to start with the letter “M,” representing the “magnificent” staff members that they are:

  • MeChale’ Johnson, director of pupil transportation and fleet management.
  • Michael Burch, Alexandria City High School lead administrator of operations and student support.
  • Molly McCabe, assistant principal at the Early Childhood Center.
  • Michael Covington, director of accounting.

VIP Award recipients were honored at their worksites and received a special ACPS gift. They were also publicly recognized for their contributions at the March 21, 2024, School Board meeting.

Director of Pupil Transportation and Fleet Management MeChale’ Johnson is a first-class VIP. Since joining ACPS in November 2022, she has transformed the culture and climate at the Transportation Depot to make it a welcoming and positive environment. Her relationship and rapport with her team is evident, and she is always wearing a smile, even in the face of stressful and challenging moments as her team serves schools, families and students.

"MeChale’ demonstrates strong, dynamic leadership and is willing to be innovative in her role as director. She promotes harmony and teamwork within the transportation work program and is able to work effectively under adverse circumstances. MeChale’ displays a quality of work that reflects high professional standards and is more than deserving of the VIP award,” said Chief Operating Officer Dr. Alicia Hart.

Johnson successfully led the introduction of 10 new electric buses into the fleet and was recognized for this project with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments 2023 Climate and Energy Leadership Award for the School Bus Electrification Project.

She facilitates consistent and timely communication with families to ensure that they are kept informed of bus changes, delays and other important news. Most recently, she launched the Edulog Parent Portal via a smartphone app that helps support communications regarding bus arrival times and location.

With the national bus driver shortage, her work to recruit and retain drivers by creating a welcoming environment at the depot is critical. In addition, Johnson’s commitment to students and staff positively contributes to everyone within the school division, as bus drivers are the first staff members to greet ACPS students each day.

Michael Burch, the lead administrator for operations and student support at Alexandria City High School (ACHS) - King Street, is recognized as a VIP for consistently demonstrating an unwavering commitment to enhancing the educational experience and well-being of students, staff and families within ACPS. He recognizes the importance of addressing the diverse needs of students beyond academics. During his nearly 14 years of service at ACPS, he has prioritized building relationships with students who benefit from his extra attention.  

"Michael Burch is one of the hardest working administrators in ACPS! He commits himself every day of the week to being available, collaborative and informative. He goes above and beyond on all projects he completes and never fails to still ask, 'what else can I do?' Indeed, he is a VIP and worthy of this recognition and many more,” ACHS Executive Principal Alexander Duncan III shared.

Burch is always thinking ahead when it comes to how best to address school challenges. For instance, he is currently leading an initiative to assist students who are facing persistent challenges with the ultimate goal to improve learning outcomes for students. He has provided substantive support to the new executive principal and campus administrator at the ACHS King Street Campus this year. His knowledge of the school culture and community has positioned him to be a continued steady presence for students and staff.

Burch’s unwavering dedication, innovative approaches and compassionate leadership make him an invaluable asset to ACPS and a true VIP.

Early Childhood Center (ECC) Assistant Principal Molly McCabe was nominated for her outstanding leadership in the area of family engagement. “Ms. McCabe created our Family School Alliance this year, which invites families to join with ECC leadership and staff to work together to improve family engagement,” ECC Principal Heidi Haggerty Wagner said. McCabe’s initiative led to two special events during which families took part by providing language support for communities and carrying out activities, including arts and crafts, free book giveaways and taking family portraits.

“Ms. McCabe is highly visible and present as she engages with families and her creative work has led to improved family attendance at events and engagement with our school staff. This work also led Family and Community Engagement to identify ECC as a ‘Blueprint School,’" Haggerty Wagner added.

McCabe first joined ACPS in 2014, and has proven to be a true VIP as she prioritizes the students' learning and well-being, recognizing that high-quality early childhood education is done as a team, with families, teachers, staff and administration working together.

Director of Accounting Michael Covington is honored for the work he does in leading the ACPS Offices of Accounting and Payroll. Since joining the division in 2010, he has strived to make certain the school division’s annual financial audit is complete with zero findings of material weaknesses in financial oversight. He has also ensured that all ACPS employees are paid on time and that W-2 documents are delivered in a timely fashion for tax season.

"All of us in the Financial Services Department are extremely proud of Mike and grateful that his hard work has not gone unnoticed. He continues to ensure ACPS receives a clean audit opinion, internal controls are effective and paychecks are delivered on time,” said Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner. “Many times our accounting work is ignored until something goes wrong. To see Mike receive this recognition highlights all that goes right!"

Covington serves as a vital member of the accounting team to maintain appropriate internal controls throughout the year, producing the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report which ensures ACPS resources are making it into the classrooms. It is a testament to Covington’s leadership that the division does not have compliance or reporting issues. While the work of the accounting team is not often in the spotlight, Covington’s VIP Award serves as a symbol that what he does for the school division is valued and integral to ACPS’ success.

  • 2023-24
  • VIP Awards