By Danielle Nadler
I’ll admit it: before I worked for the Loudoun Education Foundation, I never paid much attention to Teacher Appreciation Week. I have no excuse; my mother was a public school teacher, my father was a regular substitute in our local high school, and I covered education as a journalist for 15 years. But it still was not on my radar.
Now, I look forward to Teacher Appreciation Week all year. A key part of our mission at the Loudoun Education Foundation is finding ways to celebrate, equip, inspire, and lift up our teachers. This work has never been more important, as it’s become increasingly challenging to convince talented educators to stay in the profession. A 2022 survey by the National Education Association showed that more than half of U.S. teachers intend to leave the profession earlier than they planned.
The LEF recently adopted a new Strategic Plan that empowers our team to prioritize resources — from our staff’s time and energy to the fruits of our fundraising — to support Loudoun County educators. This was a conscious addition to our mission by our Board of Trustees, which believes a school division’s success hinges on its educators and the community that supports them.
The LEF is an independent nonprofit organization that raises about $3.5 million annually to fund innovative and critical programming for the students and educators of Loudoun County Public Schools. We connect local businesses, individuals, and organizations with opportunities to invest in programs that matter to them — programs like the K-12 Computer Science Pipeline that creates classroom-to-career pathways, or Backpack Coalition that provides food-insecure students with weekend meals, or the Innovation in Education grants that fund out-of-the-box lessons that stick with students.
Together, we invest in educators, equipping them with the tools, training and support to do their best work in the classroom, which helps students reach their full potential.
Teacher Appreciation Week, Close to Home
On a personal note, I believe the quality of my son’s education is only as good as the teachers he spends his weekdays with. The classroom should serve as an incubator of innovation, unlocking his potential to change his little corner of the world.
So this week, it’s time for me to encourage his teachers to please, keep at it. For his sake and all of ours.
I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Teacher Appreciation Week falls in the first week of May. It’s strategically positioned a few weeks after spring break, just as the weather begins to warm, when it’s more difficult to keep students focused on their studies. If there was ever a time teachers needed a Crayola masterpiece from their student, a high-five in the carpool line, a Target gift card and a tall latte, or just a handwritten thank-you note, it’s now.
As we do every Teacher Appreciation Week, the Loudoun Education Foundation is hosting our annual Outstanding Educators of the Year Banquet this Friday. Heck, I’m calling it a big “Thank You Party” for all 44 of the educators that were nominated for Teacher of the Year or Principal of the Year honors, plus our two winners of the New Teacher of the Year Award.
I wish we could throw a party for all 6,000-plus Loudoun County teachers, not to mention the teacher’s assistants, bus drivers, custodians, substitutes, attendance officers, cafeteria workers, and so many others who impact the quality of our children’s education. But, alas, space and funds are limited.
Instead, I’m counting on you to encourage and uplift the teachers who mean so much to you, your children, and your community. Please show up and demonstrate your appreciation, and nudge others to do the same.
Thank the educators in your life — those who are in your immediate circle today and your former teachers — who no doubt directed the trajectory of your life.
If you’re interested in joining LEF’s ongoing effort to create and retain an exemplary teaching workforce, visit LoudounEducationFoundation.org. You’ll see opportunities to support our Innovation in Education grants, or provide a gift that we can use to surprise a randomly selected educator each month. You can also fill out the contact form, and I’ll get you plugged in.
But first, I want to say to all of the teachers who give so much of themselves, well beyond their job descriptions: thank you. We could all say it more often.
Danielle Nadler covered public education as a journalist for 15 years. Now working in the nonprofit realm, she continues to leverage the power of stories to bring about positive change. She serves as the Loudoun Education Foundation’s Executive Director. View more posts.