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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nancy Bowen, Thomas Reinsel Named FCPS 2008 Support Employees of the Year

Nancy Bowen, administrative assistant at Burke School, and Thomas Reinsel, coordinator for energy management in the Department of Facilities and Transportation Services, have been named Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) 2008 Support Employees of the Year. The announcement was made by FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale.

Bowen, a 15-year veteran of FCPS, was named school-based Support Employee of the Year. “Visitors, please sign in at the front office—or you will miss the chance to meet Nancy Bowen,” writes nominator Jacquie Naughton, a former teacher and counselor at Burke School. As one of the first people to greet visitors to Burke School, Bowen is praised by every nominator for her welcoming manner and for her kindness and generosity. 

“Imagine walking into a school any time of the day and the person who greets you makes you feel as if you are the most important person in the world,” says Burke School assistant principal Latif Abdulalim, who says that Bowen treats everyone, including staff members, students, parents, and visitors, in this way.

During a year when Burke School had several female students who needed extra support, Bowen developed and implemented a program offering students the opportunity to earn the privilege of becoming office helpers during the day. From this program evolved Girls’ Night, a monthly evening when former students and staff members convene at Bowen’s house to dine and share fellowship and advice.

“Nancy recognizes the importance of a positive school culture and high levels of morale,” says principal Jill Jakulski, who adds that Bowen serves as much more than an administrative assistant at Burke School. Bowen is a skilled multitasker who also serves as finance officer, community use coordinator, and substitute SASI officer; additionally she runs report cards, orders supplies, attends basketball games outside school hours, coordinates staff events, shares her knowledge of computers with colleagues, interprets FCPS policies and procedures, serves food in the cafeteria, sets up tables and chairs for special events, and buys clothing for students in need.

“Her job is enormous, unending, and intense, yet she always goes ‘above and beyond’ in every way because she believes in doing her best always,” adds Jakulski.

An FCPS alumnae, Bowen is also a lifelong resident of Fairfax County.

Reinsel, who has 19 years of full-time experience with FCPS and currently manages 220 computerized energy management systems in the Department of Facilities and Transportation Services, is the winner of the nonschool-based Support Employee of the Year award. 

Reinsel was nominated for the award by four parents who cited him for his work with eight student groups working on energy-related projects. “He enthusiastically supported each of the student groups, taking the time to compile consumption data for each individual project and to explain the many aspects of energy usage and design trade-offs inherent to the FCPS system,” says parent Sara Schneider, who adds that Reinsel took the students on tours of FCPS facilities and explained how the school system uses energy.

As a result of his support, one student group raised funds to support the installation of motion sensor light switches in their school classrooms; another organized a compact fluorescent light bulb give-away. “The students’ ability to conceive, design, and implement these programs was made possible by Mr. Reinsel’s willingness to work with the students and to educate them on the many aspects of energy systems and usage,” adds Schneider, who notes that much of his work with the student groups took place after business hours.

While working with a Girl Scout troop based at Haycock Elementary School, Reinsel talked about energy conservation while discussing the energy-saving equipment installed in the school and demonstrating how he could control the school’s energy use from his personal laptop computer. “Mr. Reinsel’s presentation amplified what the students had learned about greenhouse gases in their regular sixth grade curriculum,” says Girl Scout leader Sue Saarino.

By sharing technical information on energy consumption, alternative energy, energy efficient building design, and environmental impacts, he provided the students with the background to further explore the field of energy, say nominators. Since 2004, Reinsel has managed the upgrade and conversion of 134 energy management systems to a web-based graphics interface. He also manages the FCPS energy performance contract, a self-funding program of energy efficiency upgrades to 106 buildings that has resulted in an annual reduction of $2.4 million in energy costs, says William Mutscheller, director of the Office of Facilities Management.

Reinsel, a graduate of Virginia Tech, has earned his professional certificate in facilities management and holds a certified energy manager certificate. During summers in high school and college, he worked in the FCPS maintenance department and as a junior engineer.

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Note: For more information, contact the FCPS Department of Communications and Community Outreach at 571-423-1200.