From The Principal's Perch

Every Child. Every Day. Whatever it takes!

What Does It Mean To Be A Champion For Kids?

When I took the helm as principal at Evergreen Mill Elementary School in January 2019 I had a distinct advantage over most new principals. I knew the staff, students and community intimately. What an advantage for a school leader! This knowledge allowed me to hit the ground running, while guiding an already sailing ship. One thing I had no doubt about heading into my position was the quality of people working on behalf of your children each day. I challenged each of them to do two things when I stood before them in late January to address them as principal for the first time. I reminded them that we needed, during this time of transition, to commit to sticking together as a staff and as a family. Second, I implored each of them to put aside self and to focus on one thing...being champions for kids.

The phrase, "being champions for kids", is not my own. It is borrowed from the wonderful work of fellow school leader and author Jimmy Casas. In Jimmy's book Culturize he describes being a champion for kids as follows: "Regardless of students' personal history or circumstances (good or bad), we can help them overcome obstacles by creating a school culture that makes them feel connected, capable, and confident in their abilities." A few years ago, in an August meeting with our school's leadership team, I reminded our staff of the importance of making sure that every student and staff member felt a sense of belonging, were engaged and felt connected every time they walked into our building. A year later I read Jimmy's book and was reminded of how important this concept really is.

As we prepare for the 2019-20 school year, I want you to send your children to school each day confident in the fact that they will have many champions ensuring their success this year. Those champions will be found in the classroom, out at bus duty, cleaning the bathrooms after school, answering phones in the front office, wiping away the tears in the clinic, and making sure the pizza is cooked just right! To be a champion for kids means very simply that we give everything we have for every student, every day! As a father, I know this is the type of school I would want my kids heading off to each day. As your principal, you have my assurance that we will strive to provide that type of learning environment to the very best of our ability each day.

As we prepare to embark on the 2019-20 school year, I want to extend my warmest welcome to our newest Pythons in preschool and kindergarten. We know how precious the start of their school career is and are so honored to be on the front end of this exciting learning adventure. I also want to welcome back our amazing staff! Every single member of the Evergreen Mill team is here because they believe in being champions for kids. They are amazing instructors too. What a combination. Lastly, I want to thank my partner in this work, and our wonderful assistant principal, Jenn Haggerty, for her tireless work in preparing this summer to ensure that this school year is a success. Feel free to reach out to me any time with your questions and/or concerns. I am here for you!

Expecting Success!

Daniel Lani


Dates To Remember

Back To School Night (Parents Only) - August 20 @ 6:30 PM

Kindergarten Orientation - August 21 @ 9:00 AM

Open House (For All Students and Parents) - August 21 @ 10:00 AM

First Day of Classes For Students - August 22

Boo Hoo Breakfast (For K Parents) - August 22 @ 8:00 AM

Student/Teacher Holiday - August 30, September 2

Classes Resume - September 3

First Day of FUTURA (Grade 5 students only) - September 4

ParentVUE Information Night - September 9 @ 6:00 PM

PTA Meeting - September 9 @ 7:00 PM

Spirit Day! - September 27

**Download a printable calendar below!

Welcome To Our Newest Staff Members

We are so excited to welcome the following new staff members to the Evergreen Mill family!

Nicole Chesney - Kindergarten

Jackie DeGroat - First Grade

Natalie Wainner - Second Grade

Andrew Washington - Second Grade

Megan Buser - Third Grade

Karissa Mehaffey - Third Grade

Kaitlyn Ferranti - Fourth Grade

Kathryn Hicks - Fourth Grade

Melissa Fangio - Fifth Grade

Alicia Austin-Betenson - Resource

Lorraine Spencer - Resource

Kelly Noah - K-2 Autism

Kalley Kirkland - Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

Melissa Muszynski - STEP

Brian Fletcher - Physical Education

Kim Woodward - Lead Counselor

Noah Kachman - Counselor

Amarjeet Brar - Cafeteria Manager

Glenda Almendares - Day Time Custodian

Melissa Cassady - Parent Liaison

LCPS And Evergreen Mill Elementary School Are Committed To Going Green!

A Virtual First Day folder will be provided to parents via the LCPS website This portal will direct you to the forms that all parents need to complete at the start of the school year. Many of these forms are found directly in ParentVUE (see below) and include: Rights and Responsibilities Signature Form, Family Life Education Opt Out Form, and the Media/Photograph opt out forms. A link to the Emergency Dismissal Form is provided below. You will receive more information at Back To School Night or in your child's first day folder.

LCPS is also preparing to launch a web based application called Permission Click. Be on the lookout for an email and additional details shortly!

Student Safety

At Evergreen Mill, our number one priority is the safety of your children and our staff. All parents must present a photo ID to enter the school at all times. You will also be asked to state the purpose for your visit. You may be denied entry to the building if you request an unscheduled meeting with the administration or a teacher. All meetings with Evergreen Mill staff must be scheduled in advance. Upon entry into the buidling, all parents and visitors are asked to report directly to the main office. Please sign in and you will receive a visitor pass which will be worn at all times while you are in the building. Prior to departure, parents and visitors are asked to return to the office and sign out.

It is our goal to maintain an open and inviting school building for our students and their parents. However, as we are focused on student safety, the above policies will be followed every time you come to visit our school. You have my assurance that you will always be greeted warmly and you will be treated with the utmost respect by our front office staff and administration. If this is ever not the case, please reach out to me via phone or email.

Family Life Education (FLE)

Family Life Education is taught in all grades at the elementary level. Opt out decisions are to be made by September 9, 2019. You may select to opt your child out of Family Life Education via ParentVUE or by contacting Mr. Lani or your child's teacher. The Family Life Parent review of materials will be held at the Administrative Building in Ashburn from August 27 through August 29. Please contact our office or visit the LCPS website for more information.

PTA News and Notes

With school just around the corner our amazing PTA is gearing up! We are so thankful for all of you who have offered to volunteer this year! There are still a few opportunities for you to get involved with our PTA as well. Below is a list of open Committee Chair positions. If you are interested in serving as a committee chair in any of these areas, please contact Trisha Victor at

Open Committee Chair Positions

Spring Fundraiser

Becoming A PTA Member

We need all of our parents to support our PTA by becoming a member. We are currently accepting new PTA members on PTBoard (use the link below). Parents who sign up early will receive a FREE EMES car magnet and the class with the most PTA members signed up by Labor Day will get an icecream party!

Back To School Volunteers Needed

We are in need of volunteers for Friday, August 16 from 9am - Noon to help us put together First Day packets and distribute School Supply Kits. Come any time you are available and bring the kids along to help!


ParentVUE is your one stop LCPS portal to access your students academic records, confidential documents, and to update your families emergency and personal contact information. Please use the link below to learn more. All parents will need an active ParentVUE account for the 2019-20 school year. If you need help accessing your account or enrolling please contact Peggy Eder or Jennifer Haggerty in the main office. A parentVUE enrollment and information night will be held at 6:00 PM on September 9 in the Evergreen Mill library. Volunteers will be on hand to assist parents with the ParentVue registration process and an overview of ParentVue will be provided in the computer lab. Then plan to stick around for our first PTA meeting of the year at 7:00 PM. For more information about ParentVue, click the link below.

Help Us Get Your Child Home Safely Every Time!

Safety is our number one priorty. As you can imagine, the first day of school can be a bit stressful for your children and for our staff. An outstanding teacher and colleague told me years ago that a successful first day of school is marked by three things: everybody finds their classroom, everybody eats, and everyone gets home! Please help us to ensure a successful first day for your child by completing the Transportation Form provided below. Please complete and return this form to us by Back to School Night or Open House. Feel free to drop it in the mail, scan and email it to Mrs. Eder at or Mrs. Kenyon at, or bring it on by and say hello.

Need Assistance? We Can Help!

If, due to a disability, you need assistance to enable you to participate meaningfully in any meetings or activities at Evergreen Mill Elementary, please call Daniel Lani at 571-252-2900 at least FIVE WORKING DAYS prior to the event.

Our Parent Liaison, Melissa Cassady, is also available to assist you with filling out forms, registering for events, and can connect you with numerous community resources to support your family. Please call Mrs. Cassady at 571-252-2900 if you need assistance. Her office schedule is listed below.

Evergreen Mill Parent Liaison Schedule

Monday - 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Tuesday - 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Wednesday - 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Thursday - 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM