Mahri Aste, principal of Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, has been selected from a pool of national nominees to receive the 2013 Outstanding Principal Award from the Curry School of Education Foundation. The award is presented annually to a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education with a record of excellence in school administration, professional stature beyond the school and dedicated community service.
Aste has been an educator in the Fairfax County Public Schools since 1990, when she began teaching at Mosby Woods. She later became assistant principal and then principal of Lynbrook Elementary, returning to Mosby Woods as principal in 2004.
Her school of 940 students from 50 different countries has met Adequate Yearly Progress standards for the Virginia Standards of Learning every year from 2005 to 2012 in all subgroup populations. In 2006 and 2007, her school was named a National Title I Distinguished School. She received the Virginia Board of Education Excellence Award in 2010 and the Virginia Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence in 2011.
Aste facilitated a partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts program, turning Mosby Woods into a model school for arts integration in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. She also worked with George Mason University to create a Professional Development School at Mosby Woods, where GMU students come to learn how to be effective teachers and administrators, according to Fabio E. Zuluago, assistant superintendent of Fairfax County Schools. “The Principal’s Companion,” a textbook for preparing school leaders, features Aste as an exemplary principal mentor.
Aste is known for her inspirational leadership of the staff, her high educational aspirations for all students and for her community service.
She maintains a food pantry in the school for needy families, and has organized a Walk for the Homeless, as well as the Shining Stars program during the winter holidays to provide clothing and gifts to needy students and their families.
Aste earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and two degrees from the Curry School: a master’s degree in early childhood education in 1990 and an education doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies in 2009.
She will attend a dinner at the University of Virginia and receive her award from the Curry School of Education Foundation on Oct. 24.