February marks the beginning of Black History Month and APS will celebrate with a series of community events, staff professional development opportunities and African-American Read-Ins at our schools. The main event celebrating Black History Month is Arlington: Past and Future Excellence and is sponsored by the Office of Minority Achievement. This year we will celebrate students from our schools, in our Models of Excellent Showcase. These students were nominated by APS staff and will be celebrated for their academic achievement, exemplary leadership, and commitment to service that has significant and positive impact on their school and/or district.
Arlington: Past and Future Excellence: Wed, Feb. 28 from 6-8 p.m. in Theater 1 at Gunston Middle School. (2700 S. Lang Street). Please RSVP by Feb. 23 to Schirley Soto, 703-228-7216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New this year, APS will feature eight APS alumni trailblazers who will offer words of inspiration to our students. These alumni will be featured on the website and social media.
To share your thoughts, join us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #APSBlackHistory.
Chief Tonya Chapman currently serves as the Chief of Police for the Portsmouth Police Department, becoming Virginia’s first African American female chief of a municipal police department. She is a native Arlingtonian and proud graduate of Wakefield High School. While at Wakefield, she was the Captain of the cheerleading team where her voice stood out among the rest. The tone would make you want to get up and cheer with the team. Chief Chapman’s educational background includes current enrollment as a student in the Doctor of Philosophy program at Virginia Tech. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Science, all from Virginia Tech. Chief Chapman began her career as a Police Officer in 1989 with the Arlington County Police Department, and progressed through the ranks, becoming Arlington’s first African American female captain in the history of the department. Her leadership experience includes the areas of operations, managing patrol deployment, emergency management, criminal investigations, forensic investigations, fiscal management, human resources, policy development, project management, strategic planning, employee development, community policing, public relations, and school resources. In 2017, Chief Chapman was appointed as Chair of the Criminal Justice Service Board by Governor McAuliffe. Her professional organizational memberships include the International Association of Chief of Police, the Virginia Chiefs of Police Association and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Links, Inc.
A native Arlingtonian, Ms. Sharon Mondé was in the first class to integrate Swanson Junior High School and graduated from Washington-Lee High School. Ms. Mondé received a bachelor’s degree in French from Bennett College in North Carolina and a master’s of arts in romance linguistics from the University of Rochester in New York. She has a certificate in French from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland and an educational administration certificate from the University of Virginia. Ms. Mondé worked for Arlington Public Schools for 35 years. She began her career as a French and Spanish teacher at Woodlawn Secondary Program in 1974. During her time in the classroom she also coached girls basketball, tennis and tack and served as a school probation counselor. Ms. Mondé is known to have a positive attitude when it comes to educating children. Her can-do determination shows children that her central focus is providing them with a quality education and beneficial learning experience. Ms. Mondé was named Arlington Public Schools 2010 Principal of the Year and was recognized as The Washington Post’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award recipient for Arlington.
Tyra Baker-Thompson is a 1987 graduate of Yorktown High School, who as a member of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) in high school, exemplified their goals, which are to prepare emerging entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, all of which Tyra met and surpassed. After finishing high school, she attended The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and completed the Mortuary Science Program. Tyra has worked at The Chinn/Baker Funeral Home in many different capacities since her father (Robert Baker) and uncle (Rupert Baker) bought the business in 1969 which serves as the primary funeral home supporting the Nauck community. Tyra was the 2016 recipient of the Charles P. Monroe Civil Rights Award, the highest award presented to Arlington citizens for their work in the community. Tyra works tirelessly at the Arlington office of elections and is a member of the Nauck Revitalization Association. She also serves on the Nauck Civic Association as the First Vice President and Chairman of the Executive Committee. She does all of this in addition to being the mother of 5! Her advice to her children, “Believe in yourself, and there are no goals that you can’t accomplish.” When it comes to her kids, this is the advice she follows, “Guide and support your kids.”
Meet Tim Spicer! Native Arlingtonian and proud graduate of Wakefield High School, Class of 2010. Tim was an active student while at Wakefield High School (WHS) who played football, was a member of the swim team, a member of Cohort and served as SGA President. Some might recognize him for introducing President Barack Obama before his Back-to-School speech. After graduating from WHS, Tim attended Morehouse College. There he inserted himself in the field of education. With a BA in Political Science, he focused on school efficacy in conjunction with the non-profit sector. As an alumnus of College Summit, Tim has been dedicated to the development of student leadership and school culture. This is his third year with College Summit as a School Partnership Manager as he has served schools in Tulsa, OK; Washington, DC; Alexandria, VA; and New York City. His work has consisted of boosting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates as well as college enrollment rates. Tim has even kept his favorite hobby at his forefront as a water safety instructor. He leads swim lessons for adults and children during the Winter and Spring sessions right here in Arlington. Not only does Tim work with students, he is a student himself at the Graduate School of Education and& Human Development of George Washington University. After he completes his master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, Tim plans to graduate this May with hopes of returning to Atlanta, Georgia.
Ingrid Gant is a native Arlingtonian from the Nauck Community. She is a mother, educator, mentor and an Ordained Minister at Lomax AME Zion Church. Following high school, Ms. Gant attended Virginia Union University, Potomac Academy of Hair Design, Lomax Bible Institute and the Chesapeake Bible College and Seminary. She holds a BA in Accounting, another in Christian Ministry and she is a licensed cosmetologist. Employed at a very young age, Ms. Gant started at Arlington County Parks and Recreation as a Program Director and Center Supervisor. She also worked as an educator, teaching special needs students at Kenmore Middle School. Her passion is coaching numerous competitive cheerleading and step teams throughout the metropolitan area. Ingrid is a strong advocate for all people, and enjoys working with children, particularly teens and youth. Currently she is serving her second term as the elected President of the Arlington Education Association. She continues to strive for better working conditions for all employees and creates a wall to wall professional organization where every voice matters. Ms. Gant was chosen as a trailblazer for her continued support in her church, community and Arlington Public Schools.
Marcia Olivia Wright, Esq. is a lawyer, activist, public speaker and culinary artist. A native of Arlington, Virginia, Marcia is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC where she earned her Juris Doctor. Marcia is very active in her community. She is dedicated to mentoring youth in the Northern Virginia, District of Columbia and Maryland areas through a Womanhood Training Rites of Passage program. Marcia travels with her mentees to Ghana, West Africa to participate in a traditional Crossover ritual. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., former member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Delta Education and Community Service Foundation, and a former Commissioner with the Arlington County Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition to practicing law, Marcia has a deep passion for nutrition, healing and cooking good food. She is the owner of Sweet Mossie’s and Sweet Mossie’s Stew Pot Spot, a growingly popular private chef and stew pot company. Marcia was chosen as a trailblazer because of her commitment to the community and our youth.
Mr. Earl L. Valentine, Jr. is a native Arlingtonian of Arlington View formally know as Johnson Hill. Upon his retirement from the government, Mr. Valentine has worked for Arlington County Parks and Recreation for the past 17 years. He has held numerous leadership positions with the Prince Hall Masons & Shriners Club. While holding these positions, he has mentored small children to the elderly. Mr. Valentine is a life long member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church and avid member of all sports. His contributions to the community, his desire to support the youth and his devotion to be a husband, father, and grandfather is why he was chosen as an APS trailblazer.
Jackie Moore a native Arlingtonian from the Nauck Community is giving back to the community in numerous ways. Mr. Moore is the owner of J.R. Moore & Sons, a family owned general contracting firm. Through this firm he has assisted low income families by providing renovations for adequate housing. In addition, he has been a contributor of repairs and improvements to historically black church buildings. Mr. Moore is a mentor that supports The Tony Bentley basketball camp in numerous ways. He is a major contributor and coach. He enjoys talking to Wakefield’s Senior Class about life after high school, entrepreneurship, building skills and setting goals. Mr. Moore was chosen as a trailblazer because of his outstanding commitment to the community.