Behind the scenes: staff profiles

John Ellenberger, Director of Student Activities

The man in charge of setting up all the football games, scheduling tournaments and approving club activities is the Director of Student Activities (DSA), John Ellenberger.
Before becoming the DSA at AHS, Ellenberger taught at Holmes, South Lakes and Robinson High School and coached high school football for over 20 years.
“I love coming to work every day,” Ellenberger said. “I tell everyone that I have the best job in FCPS because I get to work directly with the coaches and athletes at AHS.”
Ellenberger also works with custodians, the performing arts department and is the building engineer. With all these responsibilities, every day at work is going to be busy.
“There is always something going on at this end of the building, but It’s great to see the students involved in something that they enjoy doing,” Ellenberger said.
He also helps run the Atoms Athletics Instagram page, and if you’re a student athlete, you’ve probably seen him at games watching every second, snapping pics and taking videos of the best football plays and volleyball points for the school’s social media.
However busy he may be, Ellenberger doesn’t feel the stress as long as he’s prepared for all the games and events he has to help run.
Any student athlete can attest to the fact that Ellenberger loves coming out to games and supporting students.
“The best part of the job is interacting with the students and making sure they are having fun. You are only in high school once,” Ellenberger said. “I feel that a part of my job is to do everything I can do to make athletics and activities one of the best parts of students’ times while in high school.”



Photo courtesy of Twitter/ Shawn DeRose

Principal Shawn DeRose is in his third year of running AHS. Being principal is a big job and requires a lot of time and energy.
“I get here around 7:30 every day, and I would say my day typically ends around 4:30, and then I’m home by 5,” DeRose said.
Daily, he works with teachers and parents on their concerns, talks with his fellow administrators and has a schedule full of department meetings and conferences. Big picture, DeRose works on important tasks like making sure events get planned correctly and put on the schedule, and checks in with the county regarding the overall standing of AHS.
As a leader, DeRose sometimes has to make unpopular decisions, but they are ones he believes are in the best interest of the student body.
This school year and the pandemic, in general, has brought a lot onto teachers and administrators in ways that they could not prepare for or anticipate, causing these hard decisions to pop up more often.
“The most stressful part of my job is the things that happen that are unexpected and having to make choices that aren’t well liked, but that I believe are best,” DeRose said.
However stressful this job may be, it can be very rewarding. DeRose gets to interact with spirited and devoted students and talented, passionate staff daily.
“Easily, the best part of my job is the students. I love the students at Annandale,” DeRose said. “They are such a diverse, thoughtful, caring group of students that is unlike most schools in Fairfax County.”



Lisa Foliaco, Counselor (Lec- Om)

Counselors do it all. They write letters of recommendation for their students, help communicate with teachers and parents, and support students in whatever mental health help they might need.
Counselor Lisa Foliaco is in charge of students with the last names Lec-Om in all four grades. Every day, there is something new for Foliaco to do and problems for her to help fix.
“I am not sure I have normal days. I see students throughout the day and help with their academics, social-emotional health, and career/college plans,” Foliaco said. “I look forward to coming to school every day and seeing what the day will bring.”
Although she is not in a supervisory role with adults, she is still responsible for helping over a hundred students in her part of the alphabet. Since counselors start working with their students freshman year and continue to do so throughout all four years, Foliaco gets to know people well and builds strong bonds.
“The best part of my job is getting to form relationships with my students and watch them mature into young adults and graduate from high school,” Foliaco said.
All the AHS counselors do so much work behind the scenes like planning out our schedules, making sure the paperwork for graduating seniors and incoming freshmen is filled out, and writing boatloads of college recommendations every year. It’s a never-ending job but is incredibly rewarding.
“Being a school counselor is the best job to have in a school. It is so nice to know that you make a difference in a student’s life,” Foliaco said.



LInda Bradshaw (IB DP Coordinator)

AHS has about 60 senior IB Diploma Candidates. The person guiding them all on their difficult journey to getting the diploma is IB Coordinator Linda Bradshaw.
Before becoming the IB Coordinator, she taught elementary school for 11 years, and when she first came to AHS, she was an English teacher.
Now, her job entails making sure candidates are meeting all of the special requirements, supporting teachers and providing resources for internal assessments, talking to students about their classes, recruiting students for the IB diploma and communicating with parents and counselors.
“I’m usually in the building at 7:30 each morning and leave around 3:30 p.m.,” Bradshaw said. “There’s always something to do, and no two days are the same.”
Students know that IB classes and exams are challenging to take, but they may not know that they are just as challenging to schedule. Bradshaw is no stranger to just how much time IB can take up on every level.
“The busiest and most stressful times of the year are during course selection (Jan/Feb) when I promote IB classes and the IB diploma particularly and during IB exam season (May),” Bradshaw said.
Students also aren’t the only ones who need to learn about IB. Lots of families are unfamiliar with the IB program, so it takes a lot of time to explain the benefits and how to select the right courses. Each year, Bradshaw watches her IB Candidates walk across the graduation stage and feel a sense of pride knowing that she helped them succeed.