Living Legends: The Dynamic Duo

Living Legends: The Dynamic Duo

Patty and Kate Moran making a difference in Del Ray.

Patty and Kate Moran were named 2023 Living Legend of Alexandria.

Patty and Kate Moran were named 2023 Living Legend of Alexandria.

Living Legends 


Patricia “Patty” Moran and her husband moved to Alexandria from Boston for a year in 1976 and “we never went back.” She says her son was three years old and her daughter Kate was two-months old.

“We moved into my cousin Jim Moran’s house and have been in Del Ray ever since. It’s addictive here; the people are so easy to get along with.”

Moran started teaching preschool every Sunday at Blessed Sacrament and then taught in the nursery for 20 years so she was always around kids. That and the fact that she is the fourth child of 12 siblings in her family. “We always made our own entertainment.”

She coached her son’s basketball team in middle school and some of her daughter’s sports teams but she began her volunteer work in the schools at what was then TC Williams High School in 1988 when her son entered high school. “I helped the principal with things all the time, and I was so involved with all of the activities that they gave me my own key to the building and my own mailbox. I spent all day there; I couldn’t help myself.” It wasn’t until 2006 that they finally gave her a paying job as the administrative assistant to the principal, which is where she is today.

When she wasn’t working at her official job, Moran served as PTSA President, ANGP Co-Chair, Titan Expo Co-Chair, Athletic Boosters Committee, Scholarship Fund. Whenever there is an event in the schools or the community Moran is part of it, “acting as an Indian under the chief.” Every December she takes a week off work to volunteer for the Alexandria Department of Social Services Holiday Sharing Program.

Moran has served as the sponsor of the Key Club for six years, an organization that brings together students to volunteer for school and community events. “We have 180 members and participate in 65 events a year.” Moran says the students provide valuable assistance for these events, and it also gives them a great chance to meet each other with different cultures and nationalities and ages that they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to know.

Moran says she has seen kids over a long time and doesn’t think kids have changed. “But what has changed is the things around them. In the 80s kids had face-to-face contact and had to converse but now there is social media. The kids are the same but the tools are much more sophisticated.” And of course the clothes are different. “Society is much more accepting.”

Moran and her daughter Kate work on many of the community events together with one of the most important being the Nancy Dunning Memorial Garden Committee. The purpose is to help plan and design a meaningful and peaceful garden in Del Ray dedicated to her sister Nancy Dunning’s memory after Dunning’s murder in 2003. Every year Mount Vernon Avenue is lit with 1,000 luminaries in remembrance, and Kate Emcees the Holiday Tree Lighting and reminds the community of her aunt’s contributions to Del Ray.

Moran was awarded the coveted annual Del Ray Business Association Award in 2007 for her years of dedicated work in organizing, supporting, volunteering, fundraising and making a difference in Del Ray. She has received many other awards including the Salute to Women Making a Difference Award, the Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Award, Alexandrian of the Year, the Alexandria Red Cross Burke Award and was Grand Marshal for the Annual Turkey Trot.

Moran says she was born a volunteer. “Whenever I see anyone needs help on Facebook, I’m there. I’m a soft touch.”


Kate Moran

Kate Moran couldn’t decide which way to go. Lucky for Del Ray she made the decision she did. Moran grew up in Alexandria and was an active member of the drama department at Alexandria City High School. At the same time she took another elective, called Human Resources, which taught students about basic teaching methods and paired them with students at Jefferson Houston elementary school with special needs. “I helped him with reading and writing. It was a great experience. I learned some of the basics of teaching.” When deciding what to major in after high school, Moran struggled to decide whether she wanted to focus on her love of teaching or the stage.

Moran eventually decided to major in theatre at Catholic University and after graduation headed off to Europe with three friends from high school, “… to see the world. But when I came back I had to get a real job.” She ended up taking on a teaching assistant position at Naomi L. Brooks Elementary (formerly Maury elementary) in a class for elementary-aged students who qualified for special education services. She then applied and was accepted into an accelerated master’s program at the University of Virginia where she received her Master’s in Special Education from the University of Virginia in 2002.

Moran completed her student teaching practicum in Loudoun County and was later hired for a full-time teaching position upon receiving her masters. Her first teaching position was working with middle school students at Harper Park Middle School in Loudoun County. While in this position Moran developed and implemented a school-wide behavior program for any student who qualified for special education services. Through this program’s development and work, “back when this was fairly new,” the school was able to reduce the suspension rate in half the first year and did not have to send any students to private placements.

After teaching in the classroom for six years, Moran was ready for a new challenge and left Loudoun to work as a special education Coordinator with the Alexandria City Public Schools. Moran worked as a secondary level coordinator for the first few years and then coordinated the K-12 Life Skills program, which supported students with intellectual disabilities. Moran then applied and was accepted for a position at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), where she remains today. Moran has developed policy letters and guidance and oversees State’s special education programs as an Education Program Specialist and State Lead. While working at the OSEP, Moran completed her dissertation and received a Doctorate in Special Education Leadership from George Mason University in 2014.

In addition to her experience with education, Moran is a well-established singer-songwriter in the DC/MD/VA area. She began a successful local music festival in Del Ray (2007), the Del Ray Music Festival, and performed with her pop band, the Kate Moran Band, in and around the DMV area for years. She released an EP and a single with the Kate Moran Band.

She then started her award-winning Rainbow Rock Band where she performs in the DMV and as far away as New York. Her mother Patty, when available, serves as Pattycake Patty in the band.

Moran furthered her dream when she began the Rainbow Rock Collection, "Rockin the Rainbow to kids in need all over the world!" a nonprofit devoted to meeting the needs of children in her neighborhood and beyond. One specific collection, close to her heart, is the Coats for Kids, which partners with the Alexandria Department of Human Services to collect coats for kids in foster care. She founded the Tot Rock Fest in 2015 to support those activities, as well as highlighting children’s music in the DMV music scene.

Moran and her mother co-chair the Nancy Dunning Memorial Garden Committee to create a peaceful garden in her aunt’s memory. “When my aunt was murdered in 2003, I wanted to keep all the things she did going for her legacy. She did the Halloween Parade, volunteered at the Carpenter’s Shelter, and so much in the background to support and help all these events in the community.” At Christmas Kate and Patty help fill the 1,000 luminaries lining the Avenue, put them out and light them in memory of her aunt and Patty’s sister, and Kate has been the host for the Del Ray Holiday Kick-off recounting her aunt’s many accomplishments and leading the families in holiday songs.

Moran along with her mother received a Star Award from the Del Ray Business Association for their years of dedicated work in organizing, supporting, volunteering, fundraising and making a difference in Del Ray. Moran has received the National Parenting Products Award, National Mom’s Choice Gold Award as well as Family’s Choice Gold Award, U.S. Department of Education Peer Recognition Customer Service Award, and has served as a Governor on the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Recording Academy, supporting children’s musicians in the DMV.


Living Legends of Alexandria is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to identify, honor and chronicle the lives of individuals who have contributed to the community in an exemplary and lasting way that has significantly impacted the quality of life in Alexandria and serves as an inspiration to others. Nominations for the 2024 Legends are open now through May 1.