Two pioneers of Loudoun County Public Schools’ efforts to ensure the needs of minority students were not overlooked in the classroom were honored for their work Monday night.
The Ann Robinson Social Justice Award was presented by the Unitarian Universalists Church of Loudoun to the school system’s Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee. Herb Bryan and Wendall Fisher were spotlighted for their service during the Loudoun Falls for Social Justice fundraising program at Shoe’s Cup & Cork in Leesburg.
Bryan was the founder and longtime chairman of MSAAC. Fisher is the school system’s supervisor of outreach programs and was a longtime leader of the Loudoun County YMCA as well as a School Board member.
Bryan noted that one of the first projects of the committee was to ensure that minority students who were performing poorly on standardized tests got extra instruction to help close the gap with their white classmates. “Each year their performance improved. It’s one of those things that when I look back I can say I made a difference in that arena,” Bryan said. “Loudoun is now one of the premier school systems in the country and I like to think we had a little bit to do with that.”
As the administration’s liaison to MSAAC, Fisher helps parents and teachers understand students’ needs to better address them. Once concerns are raised, he said it takes steadfast determination to make a difference. “You must be in the room and in order to be in the room you have to volunteer. You have to learn from people like Herb. You have to understand patience. You have to understand resilience—an ‘I’m not going anywhere’ understanding,” Fisher said.
Former Loudoun County Public Schools superintendent Edgar Hatrick introduced Bryan and Fisher during the ceremony. “These people are right at the top of people who have literally brought us into the 21st century and made Loudoun County Public Schools the wonderful places that they are for our children,” he said.
—Norman K. Styer