LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Marion Fox

Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: Payne Elementary School
School District: District of Columbia Public Schools
City, State: Washington, DC

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Music that Describes Marion

Marion Fox was nominated by her spouse, Malcolm Fox.

In 1988, Mrs. Fox started her path as a nurturer by serving as a “Volunteer Hug Mother” at DC General Hospital. The babies she bonded with while working as a Hug Mother were children who were left behind in the hospital or suffered from the result of their parent's drug use while they were being carried. The time Mrs. Fox spent holding these babies gave them the love they were missing until a family member came to get them or they were placed by Child and Family. At the time, Mrs. Fox was developing her gift of unconditional love for children.

In October 1989, as a single mother of three, Mrs. Fox was hired by DC Public Schools as a Teacher's Assistant. In addition to caring for three children on her own, she continued to pursue her education in spite of many challenges and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Education from The University of the District of Columbia and at Trinity College. In 2008, Mrs. Fox earned a Masters of Education from George Mason University

Mrs. Fox's interest in Special Education stemmed from her own difficulties in learning throughout elementary and high school. She knew of her intelligence, but she couldn’t figure out why she has such an issue with retention and following the class lectures. She has been quoted several times as saying," I never want any child who may have a different way of learning to be perceived as a child who has an inability to learn." Although school was difficult at times, she kept pressing on, changing study habits until she perfected them. It wasn't until Mrs. Fox's 12th grade year when she would finally meet an educator patient enough to see her difference and adapt to her learning style. She also sent Mrs. Fox to a center where she was diagnosed as dyslexic.

"I will never forget the understanding and belief that Dr. Carter showed me in the 12th grade," said Mrs. Fox. "She allowed me to take one of my English exams orally, and I amazed myself by passing my exam with ease. Dr. Carter, however, knew I could do it. She saw I learned differently than others."

This life lesson is the driving force behind Mrs. Fox's many success stories with her own students today. The Early Childhood foundation she has instilled in thousands of children has made her one of the most beloved childhood educators in the entire DC public school system.

While blazing her own path throughout her career, Mrs. Fox has also brought relationships to DCPS that have lasted for almost a decade. Some of the partnerships Mrs. Fox developed through her proposal writing are from the likes of Apple, Aver Media, Imani Computer Consulting and PFA. In addition to partnerships with these companies, Mrs. Fox has created several Community Builder Activities, which include:

  • Soles for Souls - shoes for the less fortunate;
  • Thanks for Giving Bags - bags with non-perishable items, toiletries and scarves, socks and gloves for the homeless;
  • Payne Soiree - welcoming new parents into the community;
  • a Uniform, Shoes and Coat Drive;
  • Angel Families - holiday gifts for the less fortunate;
  • Spring Bunny - baskets for children, and;
  • Payne Pearls - a healthy and a safe place to discuss and learn about healthy friendships and social grouping, expectations, knowledge, responsibility, success, and assertiveness

Mrs. Fox is a consistent, reliable educator. On various occasions, she has put her children and their families before herself by giving her off duty time to attend recitals, weddings, hospitals, birthday parties, homework help, and GED assistance.

In December of 2019, Mrs. Fox took time off to embark on a long journey to fight a three year battle with rheumatoid arthritis by having a bilateral hip replacement on the 18th and 20th.  While recovering she received some of the greatest gifts an educator could ever receive- In person visits from the majority of her parents and students. In fact, minutes before the first surgery she would receive a call from the Superintendent's Office informing her that she won the 2020 Rubenstein Effective Teaching Award for DCPS. In putting this achievement into perspective, there were 1200 DCPS educators in consideration for this highly respected award. 

While educating her children during the COVID-19 crisis, Mrs. Fox is still finding ways to excel and bringing out the very best in each of her students. The level of detail and preparedness has made her Zoom classes an example of effective online instruction for the entire Payne Elementary early childhood program. 

"I cannot list everything Marion has done. I can only say that she has been a LifeChanger in the lives of so many," said Mr. Fox. "Many of her former student’s parents reach back out to her to discuss the success of their child. They often attribute Mrs. Fox as a great root builder. She is our LifeChanger for life!"