The Board of Education honored five exemplary Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees at its Dec. 12 meeting for their dedication and commitment to teaching and learning, and for making a difference in the lives of students.
Honored were Samantha Clark, special education teacher, Mary H. Matula Elementary School; Karen Ferruzza, library media specialist, Arthur Middleton Elementary School; Ann Herbert, prekindergarten teacher, Gale-Bailey Elementary School; Annemarie Simpson, mathematics teacher, Maurice J. McDonough High School; and Peter Wilt, social studies teacher, Milton M. Somers Middle School.
Clark is an inclusion teacher at Matula and demonstrates passion for her students on a daily basis. She is the special education team leader and works hard to create a schedule that maximizes instruction. She holds herself to high standards and is flexible, dependable and driven. Earlier this school year, Clark created a bulletin board to acknowledge the efforts of the special education team. Team members use the board to post messages about positive successes in the classroom. She is kind, caring and supportive of both students and her colleagues, and goes out of her way to do what is necessary to help children. Matula Principal Carrie Richardson said Clark is a pleasure to work with. “Samantha Clark is amazing. Sam is amazing because she possesses a love and passion for teaching our students each day,” Richardson wrote in a nomination letter.
Ferruzza is a longtime CCPS employee who is dedicated to students. She organizes the annual Middleton Spelling Bee and two book fairs for students and families. Her focal point for instruction reaches beyond library and media resources for students. She incorporates hands-on activities and science, technology, engineering and math challenges for students at all grade levels. Ferruzza builds MakerSpace activities into her classes and works closely with the technology facilitator to help students and staff with technology usage. She attends professional development workshops to learn the latest and presents at systemwide meetings. Ferruzza also manages Synergy for Middleton, is the school webmaster and passes on positive news from the school as its public relations liaison. Middleton Principal Lou D’Ambrosio said Ferruzza embodies the qualities of an excellent educator. “Mrs. Ferruzza is consistently rated highly effective. She actively pursues excellence as our media specialist, a title she embodies,” D’Ambrosio wrote in a nomination statement.
Herbert also is a longtime CCPS employee and leads the Gale-Bailey community service project Christmas in Marbury. She provides instructional support to all grade levels and is a leader on the prekindergarten team. She is consistently involved with extracurricular and school community activities, and often is sought out by colleagues for ideas and advice. Herbert has participated with the school’s Relay for Life team for 19 years, as well as the school social committee. She has served on the leadership team, as Relay for Life team captain, and as a member of the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) teams. Herbert is also active in her community as leader of a 4-H club and Charles County volunteer. Gale-Bailey Principal Verniece Rorie said Herbert is a longtime supporter of the school community. “Mrs. Herbert has consistently contributed to the school system and community projects for decades. She helps to provide instructional support through curriculum teams for seven various teams,” Rorie wrote in a nomination statement.
Simpson has chaired the math department at McDonough for several years and is known as a master teacher. She received her doctoral degree in mathematics and leads professional learning groups and staff development sessions. Simpson provides resources and support to the math department and implements classroom lessons that actively engage students in learning about math. For example, her Advanced Placement (AP) statistics and honors pre-calculus students work in groups to create catapult sidewalk labs and Barbie bungee jumping trials to learn about mathematical principles. She eagerly takes part in the school improvement team and is the varsity swim team and math coach. She also is this year’s senior class sponsor. McDonough Principal Steven Roberts said Simpson is a vital member of school staff. “Her leadership in our math department is extraordinary, always providing resources and support to the entire department. She is a contributing member of many afterschool activities and supports all aspects… she is a large contributor to the success we achieve,” Roberts wrote in a nomination statement.
Wilt is a peer coach for Somers staff and organizes student events, plans engaging lessons and activities, provides awards for student excellence and oversees the school PBIS program. He is an integral part in the school’s designation as a PBIS Gold banner school and mentors students in need. He assists teachers who seek his guidance on working with challenging students, building positive relationships and creating a safe and orderly environment. He is an example of a teacher who helps all students achieve success. Wilt is highly respected by students because he listens to them, treats them with dignity and respect, and provides the necessary support they need to be successful. Somers Principal Carrie Akins said Wilt is an important part of the Somers faculty. “Mr. Wilt mentors students in need and facilitates in finding mentors for other students. He is often sought by colleagues as a support. He is positive, proactive, and a progressive example of helping all students to be successful,” Akins wrote in a nomination letter.
The Board at its monthly meetings recognizes outstanding CCPS students and staff for exemplary accomplishments.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.