First Grade Team

Welcome to the wonderful world of First Grade!  This will be an exciting and fun-filled year for your child and we appreciate your support and trust as we begin this adventure.  We value every child and will work hard to make this year memorable and very special.

We are committed to helping each student become a successful and independent learner.  We are dedicated to the education of the whole child–intellectually, socially, emotionally, culturally, and physically.  We believe that First Grade lays the foundation for a lifetime of enthusiastic learning.  We are committed to providing classrooms that are welcoming, exciting, and safe.  Our students should want to come to school each day ready to learn and our goal is to make this happen.

At Nottingham, students in kindergarten and first grade have shared personalized learning Apple iPads assigned to their classroom. Through this integration, and in conjunction with staff training as part of the APS Personalized Learning Program, there are many student benefits of personalized learning, such as:

– Students are challenged to think critically and use higher order level skills.
– Students are more engaged in learning when they are given more opportunities to take control of their learning.
– Teachers are able to offer immediate feedback so that students can make adjustments to their thinking and improve their work.
– Students are exploring more creative ways to solve problems, express their ideas, generate new learning and develop skills to work as part of a team in the classroom and virtually.

Grade 1 Teachers

Ms. Costa
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Hello. My name is Maryanne Costa and I am delighted to be teaching another year of first grade. I have an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and my Masters in Education from Marymount University. Teaching is my second career after working many years as a writer/editor for nonprofits. My hobbies include reading, cooking and trying new restaurants, walking and dancing (to work off all that eating!). Fun fact: my two grown-up children, Alex and Shanley, are Nottingham alums.

Ms. Gargano
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My name is Lia Gargano and I am excited to be a part of the 1st-grade team at Nottingham! I am originally from Brewster, New York, and moved to Washington D.C. to attend college at American University. I also received a Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership Studies from AU. I have previously taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in D.C. and APS. I am a lifelong learner and I’m ready for a fantastic year of teaching and learning!

Ms. Willis

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Hi! My name is Ava Willis, and I am so excited to be joining the first-grade team at Nottingham this school year. This will be my first-year teaching first grade. I graduated from Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia with my B.A. in Elementary Education. I was born in Southern California but have spent most of my life in Falls Church. My hobbies include reading, listening to music, hanging out with my family, and coaching softball! I cannot wait to meet everyone and am looking forward to an amazing year!!!