AKROYD Susan Gay Akroyd Susan Gay Akroyd was born to Jane and Carlton (Colly) Akroyd on August 18, 1947. Her precious parents and dear brother, Randy who died at age 15, are with the Lord in Heaven. She was raised in Lawrence Township, NJ and died at age 73 in Arlington, VA on July 30, 2021, where she lived for over 20 years. She spent most of her retirement summers and holidays in Waretown, NJ on the water in her beloved late parents' home. Susan attended Trenton Central High School and Trenton State College (The College of NJ) where she graduated early. She received her Masters of Education with a specialization in reading at the University of Virginia, summer, 1971. In Fall, 1971, Susan was employed as a reading specialist in Fairfax County Public Schools, also becoming the President of the FEA reading Teachers Association. She then worked in the Area II Office as a literacy resource, in the Office of Instruction to assist in supporting all schools more widely, as Assistant Principal at Hutchison Elementary in 1984 and became principal of Parklawn Elementary for 27 years, 1987-2014. This school became her "home" as she embraced all students, their families, staff and school system personnel as her family. It was a gift given to her in life to be able to support over 850 children from over 40 different countries yearly. Through her collaboration with staff, Parklawn became a Distinguished National Title I School. First Ladies Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama visited Parklawn as did others from many different countries. Susan was the finalist for the FCPS Teacher of the Year (1979), finalist for Principal of the year (2008) and received the state of VA Don Lacey Award for Excellence (2006). Publications included articles in several edu cational journals. Her favorite genre was poetry that she loved to write and kept over the years as did her staff. Her poems centered around the children in the school and the strength and commitment of the wonderful Parklawn staff. Susan's work in education included presentations such as George Mason University guest lectures, seminars for reading teachers, training for elementary principals and adjunct professor for University of Virginia for several years. She was among the first cadre of principals selected for a statewide mentoring program to support new principals. Her work to collaborate with others to move teaching and learning forward included board membership on the county ESOL Advisory Council, the Greater Washington Reading Council, Phi Delta Kappa and Zonta which advocates for the power of women locally and worldwide. She also was one of several individuals to begin the formation of the Greater Washington Make-A-Wish Foundation, continuing that volunteer work into retirement. In retirement, Susan also supported adult ESOL learning at her church at McLean Presbyterian, for the Northern Virginia Literacy Council and began a class for such learners at the Shirlington Library. Susan is survived by first cousins, Robert Akroyd, his wife, Heather, Nancy Akroyd, and Susan's dear friends of over 45 years, Victor Schwartz of Alexandria, VA and Kaellyn Arch of Wheaton, Illinois, Marge and Paul Commarato and Ginnie and Ray Peterson all of Waretown, NJ. Always, her family and a host of other friends who were always there through times of both great joy and challenge and her work on behalf of the children and those in need is what gave meaning to her life. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 21 at McLean Presbyterian Church, 1020 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, Virginia. In keeping with her love for children and animals, contributions to honor Susan may be made to: Popcorn Park Zoo, 1 Humane Way, Forked River, NJ 08731 or to The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education Foundation, 417 Emmet St. South, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4276 for the Susan Akroyd Scholarship Fund. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 21 at McLean Presbyterian Church, 1020 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, Virginia. In keeping with her love for children and animals, contributions to honor Susan may be made to: Popcorn Park Zoo, 1 Humane Way, Forked River, NJ 08731 or to The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education Foundation, 417 Emmet St. South, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4276 for the Susan Akroyd Scholarship Fund.
Published by The Washington Post on Aug. 10, 2021.