LA PLATA, Md. (April 12, 2017)—The Board of Education honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees during its March 21 meeting for their commitment to teaching and learning, and for making a difference in the lives of students. Honored were Christina Caron, Anastasia Griffin, Yvonne Haws, Tyler Miller and Mary Montgomery.
Caron is the learning resource teacher at Mary H. Matula Elementary School. She is an integral part of the school community and manages the gifted education program. Caron also leads the assessment program at Matula and launched before-school book clubs this school year for staff and students to share their love of reading. The book clubs are planned for six weeks at a time. Nearly 65 students signed up for the first session earlier this school year. The second session began recently and participant totals have doubled to more than 120 students. The clubs are broken down in to book themes and specific authors so students of all grade levels can participate. Additionally, Caron is the Lego Robotics sponsor and helps with the chess club. Matula Principal Carrie Richardson said Caron is an example of team player. "The epitome of a team player, Tina can be counted on to assist wherever and whenever needed. The staff of Mary H. Matula is delighted to recognize her as our exemplary employee," Richardson wrote in an award nomination letter.
Griffin is a mathematics teacher at North Point High School. She began teaching at North Point when the school opened in 2005 and has taught all levels of algebra, geometry and pre-calculus. Griffin has a strong rapport with students and works to engage students in a positive school climate. In 2013, she formed a teacher-led student group called Academic Eagles. The group focuses on creating and maintaining a positive school culture to engage students, staff and teachers. As a result of the success of the group, Griffin launched a pilot course called Student Leadership. The course is an extension of the Academic Eagles program and includes lessons and content focused on expanding student leadership skills. North Point Principal Mike Simms said Griffin has the ability to connect with a wide range of students. "Through her efforts to promote positive school culture, all stakeholders feel welcomed at North Point. Most importantly our students have received leadership skills necessary for them to be the future leaders of our community," Simms wrote in a recognition letter.
Haws is an instructional assistant for the kindergarten program at Mary B. Neal Elementary School. She has been working at Neal since the school opened in 2008. Haws is known by her colleagues as a true professional and dedicated staff member. She is a creative leader and collaborates with the kindergarten team to develop lesson plans and projects for students. Haws also helps during the afternoon dismissal at Neal and ensures the car rider dismissal is smooth and efficient. She is dependable and takes initiative in any task or project she undertakes. At the start of the school year, Haws worked to prepare her classroom for students when her co-teacher was out on leave. She took the lead on lesson planning and presented to parents during open house. Neal Principal Deborah Brown said Haws models an exemplary work ethic. "An example of her pride and work ethic is that she took a small table from the classroom, sanded it and painted it with chalkboard print. The students use it in the classroom for word work. Every project that Mrs. Haws is involved with is done beautifully," Brown wrote in a nomination letter.
Miller is a physical education teacher at Mattawoman Middle School. He has worked at Mattawoman for the past nine years and is a mentor and role model for students. He coordinates the school's substitute program and leads by example. Miller works with the seventh grade vice principal to coordinate a leadership program for teachers that provides classroom management and instructional strategies. He also works with students who are in need of additional guidance and academic support. Miller recently completed his master's degree and is completing an administrative internship. He has also served in the team leader role for the physical education department and models proper procedures and management. Mattawoman Principal Sonia Jones said Miller is an exemplary role model for students. "His attendance is exemplary and he leads by example. He mentors our students and encourages them to become successful and responsible members of their communities," Jones wrote in a nomination letter.
Montgomery is a fifth-grade teacher at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School. She is a longtime teacher with CCPS, having more than 32 years of experience in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Her passion is connecting with students and developing relationships with them to help them develop a love for learning. She makes learning fun and engaging for students and incorporates other technology, such as student laptops and SMART boards, into her lessons. Montgomery is asked to often model her instructional strategies for other teachers. In her classroom she reflects best practices and initiatives supported by CCPS, such as Kagan structures, Words Their Way lessons and flexible math groupings. She is also well known for her calm demeanor and love of teaching. In a nomination letter, Mitchell Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor referred to Montgomery as an inspiration. "She is a lifetime learner and an inspiration to us all. She is revered by her colleagues as knowledgeable and helpful," Robinson-Taylor wrote.
The Board honors several exemplary school system employees monthly. Principals and administrative staff recommend one staff member for recognition before the Board annually.