Teachers and faculty say good-bye


Studio art and design teacher Jacqueline Pappas poses with students as her last year comes to a close.

As the 2022-23 school year comes to a close, several teachers and faculty members are set to leave AHS for retirement or external promotions.
The A-Blast sent out an email to teachers retiring or getting promoted from AHS. The teachers represented in this story reflect a sampling but not a comprehensive list of teachers leaving AHS.
These teachers have had countless impacts on students and the community here at AHS, including learning disabilities and geosystems teacher Eileen Walsh. Walsh has taught at AHS for 12 years across two tenures, and she is now retiring from teaching.
“The highlight of my career has been sponsoring the Green Atoms since 2017. It’s wonderful to see the passion students have for recycling and gardening,” Walsh said.
Walsh looks forward to sleeping in most mornings, quilting, traveling, and possibly trying out the van life for a few months.
Don Colgan will also be leaving AHS to become the athletic director at Central High School in Shenandoah County. Colgan has held multiple positions and taught multiple subjects during his six years at AHS, including 9th and 10th grade health, physical education, drivers education, and personal fitness.
Additionally, Colgan has worked as the defensive coordinator and game manager for the Atoms football program.
“[My favorite memory was] the COVID spring football season. I have some great relationships with students, players, teachers, and coaches that I will value for the rest of my life,” Colgan said.
Ernest Lissabet will be retiring at the end of the school year, which is her 9th at AHS as an ESOL teacher.
Her favorite memory at AHS has been teaching students Kendo, and upon retirement, she plans to move to Canada.
Additionally, AHS will lose fine arts and studio arts and design teacher and department chair Jacqueline Pappas. Pappas has served 15 years in FCPS, and her favorite memory from her time at AHS came in 2017 when she taught three levels of art during the same class period.
“I had my level 2 students in one classroom and across the hall I taught levels 3 and 4. I thought I would lose my mind when the year started, but that year turned out to be the best year of my teaching career,” Pappas said. “The students were all understanding, helpful, empathetic and willing to do whatever I assigned. We built relationships that still hold today and memories that will last forever.”
In her retirement, Pappas plans to spend her free time with her grandchildren, travel the world, and fulfill items on her bucket list.
Lastly, administrative assistant Sylvia Schwind will retire this summer after nine years at Weyanoke elementary school and 22 at AHS.
“Besides being available to staff and faculty for whatever their needs were, [my favorite memories have been] making many friendships, and mentoring students, this has been like my second family,” Schwind said.
Schwind looks forward to sleeping in, spending more time at the Outer Banks, and seeing her family in Colorado more often in her retirement.
AHS wishes all staff leaving the best of luck in their future endeavors.