(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser made a surprise announcement at Capital City Public Charter School by announcing Justin Lopez-Cardoze, a seventh grade life science teacher, as the winner of the 2020 DC Teacher of the Year Award.
“Justin Lopez-Cardoze exemplifies how teachers have the ability to transform the lives of young people, inspire a joy of learning in and outside of the classroom, and empower students to reach their full potential,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that a school’s success is a team effort, and that it takes a lot of people working together – students, parents, and teachers – to achieve success. Thank you Mr. Lopez-Cardoze for setting an excellent example for our children and our teachers, and congratulations on being selected as the 2020 DC Teacher of the Year.”
The prestigious honor is awarded annually to a public or public charter school teacher in the Washington, DC who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to student achievement and comes with cash prize of $7,500. In addition to receiving this honor, Lopez-Cardoze will now be considered for the National Teacher of the Year Award. He will also receive an additional $1,500 to support travel to national conferences, workshops, and other professional development opportunities during his one-year term as 2020 DC Teacher of the Year.
Lopez-Cardoze has taught at Capital City Public Charter School for the past three years, where he holds several leadership roles. He currently serves as the school’s Science Department chair, seventh grade-level team lead, and middle school representative on the school’s Equity Core Committee. Outside of his work at Capital City, Lopez-Cardoze works as a member of the clinical faculty for Urban Teachers in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Education delivering coursework on Secondary Science curricula to Urban Teachers Fellows.
“Through the thoughtful relationships he’s formed with students and educators, Justin Lopez-Cardoze has helped create a community committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “Justin is a talented, compassionate, and dedicated educator and we are grateful for his service to our students. Congratulations, Justin, for being named 2020 DC Teacher of the Year.”
Prior to teaching at Capital City PCS, Lopez-Cardoze taught life science, biology, and conceptual chemistry at Yeshiva of Greater Washington from 2015-2016, and chemistry at Lee High School in Jacksonville, FL, from 2011-2014. Lopez-Cardoze holds a master’s degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a double minor in Biology and Hispanic Studies from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While attending UNC-Chapel Hill, he was recognized for excellence in the university’s chemistry department.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education also awarded $1,500 to two other 2020 DC Teacher of the Year finalists - Beth Barkley an English Language Arts and Human Rights/Social Justice teacher at the Cardozo High School International Academy, and Dr. Daniel Spruill, a music educator at Center City Public Charter School’s Brightwood Campus.