Falls Church Elementary PTA 2016 – 2017

Executive BoardCommittee ChairsCommittee Descriptions
President Laura Downs president@fcepta.org
President Elect Katherine Secrist president_elect@fcepta.org
Vice President Kirsten Zochowski vice_president@fcepta.org
VP Communication Chrissy Henderson vp_communication@fcepta.org
Treasurer Dori Hazan treasurer@fcepta.org
Secretary Emily Carmody secretary@fcepta.org



President- Laura Downs

I am honored to be serving on the FCEPTA Board.  I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri and attended The George Washington University on a swimming scholarship.  My swimming days are very far behind me but I do stay busy keeping up with our four boys: Thomas (8th grade), Mathew (6th grade) Joseph (2nd grade) and Michael (K). Prior to becoming a mom, I was an administrator at GW, working in the areas of undergraduate admissions, freshman orientation, and student life. More recently, I served as the President of GW’s Alumni Association and I continue to help the university with fundraising efforts as Chair of the National Advisory Council for GW’s School of Education. My husband, Christian, (also a GW grad) and I moved from Arlington to Falls Church City in 2009. We were attracted to Falls Church City because of the quality of the schools and the close-knit community. In my role on the Board, I will work to engage as many new parents as possible in the PTA, advocate for our students, parents and teachers and lead fundraising efforts to support teacher grants and school programs. I am grateful for the hard work of our teachers and staff and the support of our parents who donate their time and talents to our school community!


President Elect- Katherine Secrist


I was born and raised in Atlanta and moved to Virginia to attend UVA in 1997. In Charlottesville, I met my husband Ron and after graduating we moved to Richmond where our three wonderful children, Elizabeth (10), Charlotte (7) and James (4) were all born. In Richmond, my career focused on fund development as well as Board and program development for area non-profits. I was fortunate to work with several organizations that supported underserved children and their families. Outside of my professional life, I have always been passionate about serving my community, and volunteered as the president of our neighborhood Civic Association as well as on various nonprofit Boards in Richmond. I enjoyed volunteering at our children’s schools on the outreach and development committee. We moved to Falls Church City two and a half years ago so that we could be closer to Ron’s work. We were fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time researching where we wanted to live in northern Virginia and we chose The Little City for its great schools, tight-knit community and walkability. I have spent my time in Falls Church volunteering at the schools as well as serving on the Board of and running the stewardship campaign for our church. I am also the Girl Scout Leader for my eldest’s troop. When I am not at lacrosse, soccer, or Tae Kwon Do practice, I can be found in the yoga studio or out walking our family dog Rocky. I am looking forward to working with the amazing leaders of our PTA and community as president-elect.


Vice President- Kirsten Zochowski


My husband, Chris, and I moved to the city of Falls Church City about 10 years ago from Arlington.  We had both lived in the area for many years (since college for him and law school for me), so we had many years to identify the Little City as the town in which we wanted to raise our family.  In my previous life, I practiced corporate finance law. We have three children: Nicholas (4th grade), Sylvie (2nd grade) and T.J. (K), so now I practice deep breathing techniques. 🙂  I feel very proud to be involved in our amazing PTA.  Our schools and wonderful community brought my family here and I look forward to the opportunity to support them both more actively through my role as vice president!


Vice President, Communications- Chrissy Henderson


I moved to Northern Virginia almost 18 years ago from my home state of New Jersey. I have lived in the City of Falls Church for over 12 years with my husband Jeff.  Now as the mom to Lillian (2nd grader) and Connell (Kindergartner), I have grown to love the Falls Church community and all it has to offer our family. Before starting a family, I worked in marketing at a technology company and at a pharmaceutical company. For the past four years, I have volunteered on the board of a non-profit, where my primary responsibilities have included organizing and marketing social events and activities. In my not-so-free time, I love to do yoga, read novels, watch period dramas on Masterpiece Theater and play around with my Nikon camera (though I am still learning to master my DSLR!)  I look forward to communicating about all of the great events and benefits the FCEPTA has to offer throughout the next school year.

Treasurer- Dori Hazan


I grew up in a small town in southwestern Virginia and moved to the D.C. area shortly after graduating from UVA. I met my husband, Mark, a few years later and we moved to Falls Church just before the arrival of our first child. We feel fortunate to have chosen a city with such an amazing community and wonderful schools. We have three children – Sophie (4th), Olivia (2nd) and Parker (K). I work in the accounting field, currently as an accounting manager for a home builder, Bryton Homes. I have enjoyed volunteering for our PTA, including as a co-chair for the super fun HTG games the last three years. I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Treasurer for the 2017-18 school year.


Secretary- Emily Carmody


I am honored to have been asked and to serve as FCEPTA Secretary for 2017-18 school year. Falls Church City Public Schools has been a family affair. My mother is former Mount Daniel Principal, Kathleen Halayko, and when home from UVA during college, I worked for the Daycare and Summer Fun programs and was a Substitute Teacher. Following several years in New England, my husband, Roderick, and I moved back to Virginia in 2009 and, naturally, Falls Church City was high on our list of places to settle for its schools and close knit community. When I’m not carpooling Caroline (6th grade), Matthew (3rd grade), and Harrison (1st grade) around to their various activities, I try and sneak in some side work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I’m looking forward to working with the PTA board as well as the elementary staff and families next year!


Teacher Liaisons to FCEPTA Board
Christopher Barnes
School Board Liaison to FCEPTA Michael Ankuma
FCETPA Liaison to School Board  Beth Hahn
5th Grade Events
 Kristin Stamilio
Art Show (MD) Mary Catherine Vernon
Art Show (TJ) Kerry Carlsen
Book Fair (MD) Adena Williams
Regan Davis
Suzanne Hladky
Karen Jacobson
 Box Tops Marisa Callan
Class Baskets Pam Micciche
Jocelyn Potts
EduKits Carrie Hertzberg (JTP,MD)
Katie Young (TJ)
Enrichment Courses Andrea Caumont
Fall Social Whitney Casstevens
Ginger Moore
Adena Williams

Lynn Simpson

Anna Pintauro

Fine Arts Assemblies Karen McGunagle
Health Screenings Patty Seo-Mayer
Hippo Tiger Giraffe Games Meredith Donnelly
MaryKate Hughes
Hospitality Terri Tornell

Averi Levitt

Ice Cream Socials Inessa Kessman
Tom Clinton
Info Fair Ginnette Brock
International/Cultural Night (TJ) Katie Adams
Kindergarten Welcome Coffee MaryKate Hughes
Media Center (TJ) Karen Jacobson
Membership/Directory Kimberly Nevitt
Jen Csaszi
Odyssey of the Mind
Original Works Tracy Meade
Amy Kusic
Mary Katherine Hartenstein
Picture Days Katrina Wagner (TJ)
Paige Greiner
Principal’s Coffees Eric Hammerschmidt (TJ)
Megan Hauber (TJ)
Jeanine Bonds (MD)
Retail Rewards (BJs, Giant, Harris Teeter, Amazon) Kathleen Cobucci

Jess Owens

Rising Kindergarten Playdate Carrie Hertzberg
Kimberly Nevitt
Room Parent Coordinators Adena Williams
Liz Weatherly
Screen Free Week Eileen Brown
Service Learning (GIVE day) Suzanne Hladky
Mary Asel
Spiritwear Lily Jong (MD)
Lauren Young (TJ)
MaryZ Fleming (TJ)
Fall Carnival Anduin Touw
Jaclyn Robertson
 Technology Support Mike Sakata

For more information on any of the Committees listed below, contact the Committee Chair.

  • Art Shows at both schools give families an opportunity to see their children’s artwork and progress. While the actual art shows are only one night each, artwork remains on display in the schools for several weeks.
  • BJ’s has partnered with the FCEPTA to offer discounted annual memberships and renewals to its warehouse clubs, with a portion going back to the schools.
  • Book Fairs at both schools raise vital funds for the libraries via a sale of new books for all ages and levels.
  • Box Tops is a fundraiser with General Mills; children may deposit collected box tops from various products into designated receptacles at each school.
  • Class Basket Raffle is a way for individual classes to work together to create a gift basket to raffle off during the Hippo-Tiger Games. Proceeds benefit the FCEPTA. The Room parents coordinate the class basket theme.
  • Enrichment Activities a pilot program, new for FCEPTA, will begin in October and run for 8 weeks. Classes offered at Thomas Jefferson, led by TJ teachers/parents/outside vendors in partnership with Baroody Camps. Topics include STEM, art, physical activity, theater arts, music, and chess.
  • Fall Social is an annual catered, adults-only event held in the backyard of a private home to promote friendships among the FCEPTA parent community.
  • Fine Arts Assemblies give children at our schools a look at creative people and groups in action.
  • Giant A+ Grocery Bucks is a fundraiser with Giant Food. Families designate schools to receive a portion of monies spent at the supermarket.
  • Harris Teeter offers a fundraising partnership with schools.
  • Hippo-Tiger-Giraffe Games is an annual event pitting elementary-school staff against their peers in exciting Olympic style set of games. This family event also includes the Class Basket Raffle.
  • Hospitality arranges for Back to School breakfasts for staff and Staff Appreciation refreshments.
  • Ice Cream Socials are much-loved events at the beginning and end of the school year, held in conjunction with the Info Fair and PTA elections.
  • International/Cultural Night: consistent with the PYP curriculum – Come Fly With Me – fosters an appreciation for the diversity of students’ backgrounds and promotes tolerance of different cultures. Students are encourage to dress in clothing that represents their country of origin, volunteers host country tables and families feast on foods from around the world!
  • Media Center (TJ) organizes parent volunteers for library duty, including reshelving and inventory.
  • Membership/Directory compiles and publishes the Student Directory, and tracks paid memberships in the FCEPTA.
  • Odyssey of the Mind is an annual competition, with parent coaches working with teams to come up with creative solutions to problems.
  • Original Works is a fundraiser in which artwork created by your child can be put onto a variety of merchandise for purchase, with a portion going back to the schools.
  • Outdoor Classroom chairs work with the schools on Outdoor Classroom lessons and activities that supplement the regular curriculum.
  • Picture Day volunteers help with school pictures by taking order forms and maintaining order.
  • Principal Coffees at both schools give parents a chance to interact with the principals in a smaller setting, and hear about programs and innovations at the schools from other staff members.
  • Restaurant Fundraisers are dine in/out events at local restaurants where a percentage comes back to the FCEPTA.
  • Retail Rewards (See BJs, Harris Teeter, Giant). A percentage of funds come back to the schools when you shop.
  • Rising Kindergarten Playdate is a fun event where parents/guardians/grandparents can bring their rising Kindergartner to meet new friends, and hopefully help any anxiety they may have – about entering Mt. Daniel Elementary School that Fall. The event is hosted by FCEPTA, so there is no charge to attend. We ask that only the Kindergartner attend with an adult, not siblings.
  • Room Parents work with each classroom teacher on activities such as parties, field trips and the Class Basket Raffle.
  • School Supplies chairs compile orders for kits of school supplies for each grade; a portion of sales goes back to the schools.
  • Screen Free Week is an annual event in which the FCEPTA strives to cut down on TV, computer and electronics time in families by offering alternative activities and incentives from local businesses
  • Spiritwear is specially branded MD and TJ clothing, available at the start of each school year.
  • Spring Carnival is a FCEPTA-sponsored event for all families to celebrate the start of Spring with moon bounces, obstacle courses, cotton candy, face painting, dunk tank, games and much more!
  • Website is a tool for all FCEPTA families for important information, forms and links. We welcome your feedback.