Charles Co. School Board Honors Outstanding Employees, Students

Board honors exemplary employees

The Board of Education honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees during the March 11 Board meeting, including Leigha Pehlivan, Michael Hoffman, Jason Mackey, Charlotte Kelton and Karen Elliott.

Pehlivan is an art teacher at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. Beyond her duties as a teacher, she is involved in the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program, the art club, the yearbook team, the badminton club and is responsible for the school’s lobby showcase. Pehlivan is working on her master’s degree at McDaniel College and hopes to complete the program this month. She is also a part of the school system’s effort to stay current in the arts and helps write curriculum for CCPS. Ryon Principal Robert Opiekun said that Pehlivan is an outstanding teacher. “Through her caring and consistent approach toward students, she has been able to foster excellence in many children,” Opiekun wrote in a nomination letter.

Hoffman is a third-grade teacher at William A. Diggs Elementary School. He has served as a team leader, the math team coach and the environmental science sponsor for several school years. Hoffman has also chaired and organized the fifth-grade field trip to Philadelphia which requires the coordination of more than 250 people. According to a nomination letter written by Diggs Vice Principal Lou D’Ambrosio, “Mr. Hoffman has always volunteered to take on extra duties to enhance the educational environment of the students at Diggs Elementary. He often seeks opportunities to challenge himself by asking to teach inclusion classes and volunteering to teach at different grade levels.”

Mackey is an administrative assistant at General Smallwood Middle School. In addition to his duties as an administrative assistant, he serves as the school’s testing coordinator and is the special education department chair. Mackey works with the special education department and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) facilitator to ensure the compliance of all of Smallwood’s IEPs. Smallwood Principal Kathy Perriello said that he is the epitome of a true professional. “Mackey embraces Charles County Public Schools and General Smallwood’s mission of being the difference in the lives of students. His attitude of ‘How we can, not why we can’t’ is refreshing, transparent, and most of all impactful,” Perriello wrote in a nomination letter.

Kelton is a reading instructional assistant at John Hanson Middle School. In her position, she has increased student reading scores from 29.41 percent in 2011, to 34.79 percent in 2012 and again to 44.4 percent in 2013. Through her work with children Kelton has helped Hanson reach education goals. She uses in-service trainings, online resources and attends workshops to become a better educator. According to a nomination letter written by Hanson Principal Kathy Kiessling, “Mrs. Kelton is gentle and kind. She has a unique way of reaching students and getting them to perform. As our eighth grade reading intervention instructional assistant, she has remained a consistent piece of the puzzle to reaching successful test results.”

Elliott is a media center instructional assistant at Thomas Stone High School. She maintains the school website and sends out communications through Edline and Blackboard. Elliott serves on several committees at Stone including the Character Education committee, the school improvement team and the School Making a Difference team. She creates newsletters for parents and assists parents and students with Edline. Stone Principal Michael Meiser said that Elliott completes all tasks with pride. “She is a selfless individual that puts the needs of the school/children first, and does so with a smile on her face,” Meiser wrote in a nomination letter.

The Board honors several exemplary employees each month.

Board recognizes outstanding students

The Board of Education honored five students on Tuesday, March 11, for excellence in academic achievement, personal responsibility and career readiness, which are the focus areas of the school system’s master plan. Honored were Elizabeth Gerstman, fifth grade, William A. Diggs Elementary School; Mya Carter, fifth grade, J.P. Ryon Elementary School; Michael McPherson, eighth grade, John Hanson Middle School; Andrew Wright, eighth grade, General Smallwood Middle School; and Kaitlyn Crooke, senior, Thomas Stone High School.

Gerstman was recognized in the area of career readiness and has been a Diggs student since kindergarten. She has been on the honor roll every marking period and scored advanced on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in both reading and math. Gerstman is involved in school activities including the math team, Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA), and Destination Imagination (DI). As a second grader, she helped her DI team earn the Da Vinci award which is typically awarded to high school teams. Gerstman is striving to enter the engineering Science Technology and Industry (STI) program at North Point High School and is considering pursuing a career as an architectural engineer.

Carter was recognized in the area of academic achievement. She was named to the school honor roll for her academic efforts during her first quarter of fifth grade and later received straight A’s and principal’s honor roll for her improvement. Carter participates in the math team, dream team, MESA, safety patrol and is a violinist in the fifth-grade orchestra. According to Ryon Principal Robert Opiekun, Carter is a hardworking, self-motivated and incredibly responsible student. “Mya always strives to reach her full potential and works well with everyone. As a leader of her class, Mya demonstrates respect for herself and her peers, and tackles challenges with a positive attitude,” Opiekun wrote in a nomination letter.

McPherson was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. He demonstrates personal responsibility by being punctual for class and is prepared to learn. McPherson is a great listener and always follows directions in class. He often uses class assignments to practice new skills and apply new concepts. Hanson Principal Kathy Kiessling said McPherson is a leader among his classmates. “Michael stands out from his peers because he always makes the right choices and is an exceptional role model for others,” Kiessling wrote in a nomination letter.

Wright was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. He has maintained principal or high honors since he started middle school at Smallwood and is involved in several extracurricular activities. Wright is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Math Counts, MESA, VEX Robotics and the spelling bee team. He also participates in middle school archery, track and field, volleyball and golf. Smallwood Principal Kathy Perriello said that Wright is a role model for students. “Since sixth grade, Andrew continues to be a positive force in our school community by exceling in and out of the classroom,” Perriello wrote in a nomination letter.

Crook was recognized in the area of academic achievement. She has taken eleven Advanced Placement (AP) classes and has earned A’s in each class. Crook has a 4.6 grade point average (GPA), putting her at the top of the senior class. As a senior, she is taking seven AP courses, is a member of the National Honor Society and the WEB Dubois Honor Society, both of which serves as president. She is the captain of both the Envirothon and mock trial teams and she helped guide Stone’s It’s Academic team to win second place. In addition to school activities, Crook volunteers at an elementary school and a nursing home to help the young and elderly citizens of Charles County. She has been accepted to Christopher Newport University and plans on majoring in both political science and Spanish.

Each month the Board of Education honors students for their success in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility.

Featured Sponsor

The King's Christian Academy
Academic Excellence in a Safe, Christian Environment. Located in Callaway, close to PAX NAS.

Reader Comments

Featured Sponsor

Apartments of Wildewood
The area's premier rental community! Conveniently located to NAS PAXRVR and Solomons.

Need Legal Representation?

Three So. Maryland locations to serve you. Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, DUI Defense.

Follow SoMd HL News