Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs


Board of Education elects chairman, vice chairman

Virginia McGrawMichael Lukas

The Board of Education of Charles County elected Virginia McGraw as chairman and Michael Lukas as vice chairman at its Jan. 13 meeting. The Board elects a chairman and vice chairman each January, and officers serve one-year terms.

McGraw, a former Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) principal, is a new Board member, elected to her first term in November. She retired from CCPS in June following a 25-year career as a teacher, vice principal and principal. McGraw was the 2009 CCPS Principal of the Year, and volunteers with Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church. She has served as past president and recording secretary of Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Sorority, and is also a member of the Charles County Retired School Personnel Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary special education and her master’s degree in special education. McGraw is a resident of Waldorf.

Mr. Lukas is serving his second term on the Board and first as vice chairman. He is an engineer and branch manager at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division. Mr. Lukas works with the Boy Scouts and enjoys playing and coaching soccer. He has volunteered with several community organizations, including the Greater Waldorf Jaycees, Waldorf Kiwanis, Christmas in April and Relay for Life. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and has completed graduate studies in systems engineering at George Mason University and the Naval Post Graduate School. Mr. Lukas lives in La Plata with his wife and son. First elected in 2010, he was re-elected to a second term in November 2014.

Board honors exemplary employees

Pictured from left are Stephen Fitzgerald, Beth Sorsby, Steven Baldo, Doreen White and Nathaniel Yake.
Pictured from left are Stephen Fitzgerald, Beth Sorsby, Steven Baldo, Doreen White and Nathaniel Yake.

The Board of Education honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees during the Jan. 13 Board meeting, including Steven Baldo, Stephen Fitzgerald, Beth Sorsby, Doreen White and Nathaniel Yake.

Baldo is a special education teacher at William B. Wade Elementary School where he has worked for the last seven school years. During his time at Wade, he has been nominated several times for recognition through the Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee awards program. He strives to motivate students about learning and works to ensure they are comfortable in the classroom. Baldo also works with students to implement new strategies and monitor their learning and personal goals. Last school year, Baldo launched a unified basketball team, in which special education students were paired with their peers to participate. Wade Principal Penny Nye said Baldo exemplifies the word teacher. “He is a quiet force that has a positive effect on many and a smile that is contagious. When the Wade staff was polled about who to nominate for this award, they unanimously voted for Mr. Baldo,” Nye wrote in her nomination letter.

Fitzgerald is a media specialist at Matthew Henson Middle School where he has worked for the past five school years. He has increased independent reading among students by using a number of strategies, produced video book talks with students and staff, and helped to start the Husky Bucks program. Fitzgerald is also responsible for producing the morning announcements and sponsors successful Scholastic book fairs in which he hosts parent book nights to allow the community to attend and purchase books after work hours. He is a professional leader that consistently seeks ways to enhance his skill set as a media specialist. Henson Principal Sonia Jones said Mr. “Fitz” is well liked among both students and staff. “He is well respected by staff, students and the community. His ability to bring a strong literature background infused with technology makes him a much sought after educator. Students love Mr. Fitz,” Jones wrote in a nomination letter.

Sorsby is a reading resource teacher at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School. She has worked for CCPS for the past 13 years and has taught third grade and kindergarten. She has been Jenifer’s reading resource teacher for the past two school years and implements training on reading strategies for teachers. She also assesses each new Jenifer student to ensure they are placed in the best classroom for reading instruction. Earlier this school year, Sorsby organized a schoolwide activity for American Freedom Week called “Our Heroes,” that featured a decorated tree to show appreciation to military members and their families. Sorsby also earned her National Board Certification in 2009. Jenifer Principal Nancy Seifert said Sorsby is a skilled and talented teacher who holds herself to high standards. “She is a self-starter, works well under minimal supervision, and always gets the job done to a level of excellence far exceeding all expectations,” Seifert wrote in her nomination letter.

White is a special education instructional assistant at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center. She is known for being helpful and handles several tasks daily. In her position, she assists students in self-contained and inclusion special education classes, and also helps to answer phones, serve lunches to students and volunteers to chaperone field trips. White helps to enforce learning objectives for students in the classroom by learning the material herself so she can provide support where needed. She is an organized, efficient, dedicated employee who consistently puts forth her best effort. Stethem Principal Wayne Freeman said White’s work ethic is exemplar. “She goes above and beyond her call of duty and does it all with a smile on her face. She is truly dedicated to her profession,” Freeman wrote in a nomination letter.

Yake has been the technology facilitator at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School for the past five school years and is known for displaying a high degree of pride in his work. He works closely with other special area team members to collaborate on lessons and integrate other subject areas and grade level content into the technology curriculum program. Yake coordinates Hour of Code events for Mudd students and is working to create lessons so students at all grade levels can participate. He also makes an effort to greet students daily as they arrive to school. His coworkers describe Yake as an expert in introducing young children to working with computers and technology. Mudd Principal Kimberly Hairston said Yake is involved and present in everything that he does. “Mr. Yake is a great colleague, teacher and all around good person. The students are fond of him and know he genuinely cares for them,” Hairston wrote in a nomination statement.

The Board honors several exemplary employees each month.

Board recognizes outstanding students

Pictured back row from left are students Terrence Griffin and Dejane Vera. Pictured front row from left are students Manita Opoku, Andi Bailey and Kallyn Gold.
Pictured back row from left are students Terrence Griffin and Dejane Vera. Pictured front row from left are students Manita Opoku, Andi Bailey and Kallyn Gold.

The Board of Education honored five students on Tuesday, Jan. 13 for excellence in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility. Honored were Andi Bailey, fifth grade, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School; Kallyn Gold, fifth grade, William B. Wade Elementary School; Manita Opoku, fifth grade, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School; Terrence Griffin, eighth grade, Matthew Henson Middle School; and Dejane Vera, junior, Westlake High School.

Bailey was honored by the Board in the area of academic achievement. She has received several principal’s honor roll awards and scored at the advanced level on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in both mathematics and reading. Bailey is a member of the Just Say No Club, math team, Destination Imagination, chorus, and also plays the flute in the school band. Her artwork has been displayed as part of a show held annually at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building and at the Charles County Fair. She is a positive example of a role model for her peers.

Gold was honored by the Board in the area of personal responsibility. She is an honor roll student who is well known for her positive attitude toward learning. She participates in several school-related activities such as the math team, Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA), and computer bowl and is a member of the school safety patrol. Gold is also involved in several community-based organizations including the Girl Scouts, UNICEF, and recently participated in a 5K marathon walk/run to benefit diabetes awareness. Gold is a reliable student and serves as a role model for others.

Opoku was honored by the Board in the area of academic achievement. She is an honor roll student and is well known among her teachers as a hard worker who enjoys helping others. Opoku has attended Jenifer since kindergarten and has been recognized at the school level for her academic performance and demonstrating personal responsibility. She has also received several awards for her attendance. She is a member of the school drama club, math team and is part of the gifted and talented program. Outside of school, Opoku enjoys reading fiction books.

Griffin was recognized by the Board in the area of career readiness. He is a member of the Henson student government association (SGA) and the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). He is well known among his teachers as a student who displays determination and is focused on his future and academic goals. Griffin maintains honor roll grades and plans to have a career as a computer animator after he finishes his studies. To better prepare for his future, Griffin recently conducted research during winter break to find colleges and universities that offer computer animation degree programs.

Vera was recognized by the Board in the area of academic achievement. She is a hard-working student who completes her classwork and related assignments on time. She is consistently engaged in the classroom and goes beyond the minimum requirements to learn. As a student in the multimedia program at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center, Vera stands out among her peers for her enthusiasm. She is also helpful in acclimating new students to the Stethem campus. Her teachers describe her as a role model student that is a pleasure to have in their classrooms.

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

Johnson named Educator of the Year

Norma Dallas from the Arc of Southern Maryland, pictured left, presents Larry Johnson, an instructional specialist with Charles County Public Schools, pictured right, with the 2014 Arc of Southern Maryland Charles County Educator of the Year award during the employee recognition portion of the Board of Education’s Jan. 13 meeting.
Norma Dallas from the Arc of Southern Maryland, pictured left, presents Larry Johnson, an instructional specialist with Charles County Public Schools, pictured right, with the 2014 Arc of Southern Maryland Charles County Educator of the Year award during the employee recognition portion of the Board of Education’s Jan. 13 meeting.

Larry Johnson, an instructional specialist for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS), was recently named the 2014 Arc of Southern Maryland Charles County Educator of the Year. The award recognizes educators who are dedicated to ensuring that children and young adults with special needs have access to opportunities for success. He was nominated for the award by Amy Hollstein, assistant superintendent of instruction for CCPS, for his passion for working with students with special needs.

“Mr. Johnson is an outstanding educator who is passionate about the education of students with disabilities. He has worked tirelessly with special and general educators to ensure that all students have instruction that meets their unique learning needs. He is a true asset to Charles County Public Schools,” Hollstein said in a nomination statement.

Johnson has worked for CCPS since 2010, where he began working as a special education teacher at General Smallwood Middle School. He took a position in 2011 as an instructional specialist at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, which houses the administrative offices for the school system. He works directly with the special education department and serves as a support for special education teachers and students. He also plans and implements professional development sessions and trainings that focus on improving academics for students with disabilities.

Johnson said he was humbled to receive the award and credits those he works with as aiding to his passion in working with students with disabilities. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn from colleagues with many years of experience and practice in ensuring equitable access and opportunity for students with diverse learning needs. I would also like to acknowledge all of the educators in the county for their hard work and dedication in ensuring the success of our students,” Johnson said.

Norma Dallas from the Arc of Southern Maryland presented Johnson with the award at the Board of Education’s Jan. 13 meeting. Prior to joining CCPS, Johnson worked at the High Road Upper School, an alternative school in Washington D.C., and as a teacher with Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in government, law and sociology from Lafayette College and a master’s degree in special education from Trinity University. He is working on a doctorate degree in special education from Walden University.

Superintendent, CCPS staff featured in video series on learning standards

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill, along with three other Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members, recently participated in a series of interviews for use in a video series about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. In 2011, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) developed Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards (MDCCRS), which were developed from the Common Core Standards. The standards define the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in the workplace and postsecondary education, ensuring that students receive a high quality education. CCPS began implementing the MDCCRS last school year.

The series was produced by the Alliance for Excellent Education, which today released the videos on their website, all4ed.org. Videos in the series also feature comments about the implementation of new learning standards for CCPS from Amy Hollstein, assistant superintendent of instruction. Additionally, John Hanson Middle School Principal Kathy Kiessling, and Erica Williams, an instructional resource teacher at Hanson, talk about the implementation of the standards at the middle-school level.

The videos serve as a resource for other school districts in the process of implementing Common Core. Other educators from Maryland featured in the video include staff from Baltimore City Public Schools, and Dr. Henry Johnson, who is the assistant state superintendent, division of curriculum, assessment and accountability with MSDE.

Maryland is one of five states, along with California, Colorado, Kentucky and Ohio, chosen to be featured in the Alliance’s video series. The Alliance chose CCPS among Maryland school districts to participate in the video series for efforts in improving high school graduation rates and closing achievement gaps. The videos featuring CCPS staff are available for view at all4ed.org/commoncoreequity/common-core-and-equity-maryland/. The series of videos is posted at all4ed.org/CommonCoreEquity/.

System seeking 2015 Teacher of the Year nominations

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is seeing nominations for the school system’s Maryland 2015-16 Teacher of the Year candidate. The nominated teacher must be a classroom, resource or media teacher who spends the majority of his or her time teaching and has a minimum of five years teaching experience. The selected candidate will also be named the 2015 Charles County Teacher of the Year.

There can only be one nominee per school. Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 27 to Pam Mucciolo in the CCPS office of human resources. Application information is available on the school system website at www.ccboe.com/jobs/teacheroftheyear.php. Applications should include the candidate’s educational and professional development history; professional biography; examples of community involvement; a statement on the candidate’s philosophy/style of teaching; three letters of support from a principal, administrator, colleague, student or former student, parent or community leader; and statements on education issues and trends, as well as the teaching profession. For additional information and requirements, visit the CCPS website.

The 2015 Charles County Teacher of the Year will have opportunities to speak to students and staff during events such as New Teacher Orientation, and will also attend the state Teacher of the Year ceremony and gala.

There is a two-tiered process for the selection of the candidate for the Maryland Teacher of Year. The first step is at the county level where applications are received, semi-finalists are selected and interviewed by a panel of school system staff, and one candidate is selected to represent Charles County as its Teacher of the Year. Each Maryland county and Baltimore City forwards one recommendation to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), which selects the Maryland Teacher of the Year.

For additional information, contact Pam Mucciolo in human resources at 301-934-7242 or pmucciolo [at] ccboe.com.

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