With thousands of school board members nationwide, Joan Wodiska was humbled to find out she was one of the five finalists for the first-ever Bammy Award for School Board Leadership.
Wodiska, now in her third term on the Falls Church City Public Schools Board, said she was notified in writing in May that she was a nominee for the award before going through a multi-faceted selection process. The Bammys, called the “Oscars of Education,” will be held Saturday night in Washington, D.C. at the landmark Arena Stage at the Mead Center.
“When I found out I was a finalist, I nearly fell out of my desk chair,” Wodiska said. “I was speechless and shocked. Education has been my life's work; it's been my passion. I never expected recognition for doing what I thought was right and just had to be done. I simply hoped to improve people's lives.”
Aside from her position on the FCCPS school board, Wodiska is the president of the Virginia School Boards Association and chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Local Mandates, Education Committee. Not only is she a Bammy finalist, Wodiska is also a presenter. According to the Bammy website, the awards were created to identify and acknowledge excellence throughout the education field —from teachers, principals and superintendents, to school nurses, support staff, advocates, researchers, early childhood specialists, education journalists and parents.
, Wodiska rolled out her plan to engage, educate, and empower school board members to address childhood hunger and provide all students with healthier, more nutritious school meals. Wodiska said it has been a life-long mission of hers to help end childhood hunger. With Wodiska as a member, the FCCPS school board has received national recognition for their efforts to provide healthier school meals to all students.
“Harry Truman once said, if you want a friend, get a dog,” Wodiska said. “As a school board member, you often hear the difficult matters, where folks are disappointed or unhappy. It's not often that a school board member, or teacher, bus driver, or even a school lunch staff, is recognized for their contribution. That said, I believe our schools and staff deserve more recognition for their sacrifices, success, and commitment.”
This marks the second school year Toni Jones, FCCPS superintendent, has worked with Wodiska. Jones said the school system is delighted Wodiska is being recognized and celebrated at the Bammys.
“It affirms how fortunate we are to have her serve on our FCCPS School Board,” Jones said.