System, Board honor support personnel with exemplary awards

System, Board honor support personnel with exemplary awards


Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) annually honors outstanding support services personnel in the areas of instructional assistant, secretary, information technology, maintenance and food service. The awards program was established to recognize the roles support personnel have in supporting the effective and efficient operations of the school system.

Honorees for 2017 include Travis Harman, roof mechanic, CCPS Maintenance Shop; David Troxel, computer analyst at St. Charles High School; Gail Slaughter, food service manager, Henry E. Lackey High School; Jacqueline Douglas, kindergarten instructional assistant, Dr. James Craik Elementary School; and Barbara Tillman, secretary to the principal, Berry Elementary School.

The Board of Education at its June 13 meeting honored the recipients of the support services awards.

Outstanding Maintenance Employee

Harman has been working for the school system for more than 16 years in the maintenance department. He was essential in the remodeling of the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center to allow for the opening of the Virtual Academy this school year. Harman led a crew of technicians in overseeing construction efforts at Stethem and designed the roofs used in the academy learning areas. Harman also led a team of employees in building updates recently completed at La Plata High School. La Plata Principal Douglass Dolan said Harman is a role model employee for CCPS.

“Mr. Harman was instrumental in his work on the ramp and roof for classroom trailers outside of the school. He also helped with the new gym and fixing different things on the baseball field. It is my pleasure to recognize the great work Mr. Harman has done for La Plata,” Dolan wrote in a nomination letter.

Harman demonstrates pride in his work and an exemplary work ethic. He meets deadlines with ease and ensures all aspects of a job are complete on time, safely and correctly. He is often sought out for his expertise and advice on CCPS construction projects and his colleagues admire his professionalism and ability to serve as a team player. April Murphy is the supervisor of operations for CCPS and has worked with Harman on several projects. She said he is an important asset to the maintenance department.

“Mr. Harman has a remarkable ability to assess a project, evaluate alternatives and make sound recommendations to resolve the issue. He is professional, considerate and a great example of a team player,” Murphy wrote in a nomination letter.

Prior to joining the school system, Harman worked as a tradesman and carpenter with Charles County Public Works.

Outstanding Information Technology Employee

Troxel has worked for CCPS for the past 11 years. He was hired as a computer intern in August 2006 and promoted to a computer analyst in 2007. Since 2016, Troxel has worked at St. Charles High School and serves as a key member of the technology team. He ensures all instructional equipment and technology at the school is maintained, inventoried and repaired. Troxel also works closely with the testing coordinator to ensure all technology requirements are ready for students and staff during testing.

St. Charles Principal Richard Conley wrote a letter of recommendation as part of Troxel’s award nomination. In his letter, Conley refers to Troxel as a “go-getter” and problem solver who is an asset to the school community.

“He coordinates his responsibilities and organizes work so effectively he is able to anticipate needs, prepare in advance, and solve potential problems before they become larger issues. He is supportive of his colleagues and is always approachable when staff or students need assistance,” Conley wrote.

Troxel has also worked at several other schools including C. Paul Barnhart, William B. Wade, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, Mary B. Neal, Eva Turner, Walter J. Mitchell and Mary H. Matula elementary schools, Milton M. Somers and Benjamin Stoddert middle schools and North Point High School. He is often sought out by staff to help present at trainings and is quick to share new technologies with his colleagues. Troxel takes training classes and has earned additional technology certifications to stay up-to-date on current technology practices.

Mike Mickey is a network engineer for CCPS and said Troxel has helped the technology department with functions outside of his work load as a computer analyst, such a streamlining the computer inventory process. “He is an excellent employee who has an outstanding work ethic, a pleasant demeanor, and has earned the respect of everyone in both the technology department, and at the schools he has been placed,” Mickey wrote in an award nomination letter.  

Outstanding Food Service Employee

Slaughter has worked in the food service department for CCPS since 1984. She first joined the school system as a food service substitute and then joined the food service team at Lackey in 1986. In 1996, Slaughter was promoted to a food service manager position at J.C. Parks Elementary School. She later moved to General Smallwood Middle School, where she oversaw the food service department as a manager for three years. Slaughter was promoted to food and nutrition manager at Lackey in 2002.

She leads by example and maintains a cheerful and dependable demeanor. She pays attention to detail, organizes and assigns work schedules, supervises staff all while ensuring staff meet health department requirements for safe, proper and efficient use of kitchen equipment. Slaughter maintains accurate inventory records, reviews child nutrition regulations and regularly attends trainings to stay up-to-date on food service certifications.

Students and staff are impressed with her positive attitude and ability to help the breakfast and lunch programs at Lackey run efficiently. Janai Jamison is a 2017 Lackey graduate and wrote a letter on behalf of Slaughter’s award nomination. She said Slaughter’s support of the second chance breakfast program, as well as her caring demeanor, at Lackey help to make a positive impact for students.

“Ms. Slaughter also had a major influence on the decision to implement second chance breakfast which has had a positive influence in the learning and health of the students of Lackey High School. I always look forward to lunch, which I know will be pleasant because Ms. Slaughter will be serving and keeping lunch orderly,” Jamison wrote.

Outstanding Instructional Assistant

Douglas has worked at Craik as an instructional assistant since 2011. Before joining Craik staff, she was a childcare provider with the early childhood training program at North Point for 11 years. Douglas is known among her colleagues as an effective and efficient educator who implements engaging activities and lessons for students. Her passion for working with children is evident in her interactions with students and she demonstrates a caring and kind demeanor. She believes all children are capable of learning and sets goals in order for all students to learn and be successful.

Douglas is also the first to try new technologies and works well with other members of the kindergarten team. Craik kindergarten teacher Janelle Harris has worked with Douglas for the past four years and wrote a letter of recognition for her nomination.

“Ms. Douglas is a bright and personable team player. She has a tremendous desire to better the lives of others. She makes the kindergarten year a most memorable year with fun activities and goes well out of her way to create projects, memory books full of pictures and mementos for each of her students, every year,” Harris wrote.

Craik fifth grader Rylee Cavalier worked with Douglas as a kindergarten student and said she made learning fun and exciting. “She did so much to make learning fun! She always helped students to do better and go farther,” Cavalier wrote in a recommendation letter.

Outstanding Secretary

Tillman is a longtime CCPS employee. Her career spans more than 48 years of service to the Charles County community in the role of secretary to the principal. Tillman has worked with many educators throughout her career, most of which she spent at Walter J. Mitchell and Berry elementary schools. Tillman also worked at Dr. James Craik Elementary School for seven years and at Henry E. Lackey High School for one year.

Tillman will retire at the end of this month from Berry, where she has worked for the past 21 years since the school opened in 1996. Her colleagues refer to her as the “heart of the school” and admire her dedication to her position. She handles several tasks daily and completes them with ease while supporting the needs of teachers, staff, parents and students. She also oversees all financials at Berry and manages both payroll and substitute requests. Berry Principal Sandra Taylor refers to Tillman as a jack-of-all-trades.

“Berry is the largest elementary school with over 900 students. Even though each grade level consists of six classes, excluding kindergarten, and having a staff of 100 people, Barb is able to multitask and perform all aspects of her job with ease. She meets deadlines and her audits are impeccable,” Taylor wrote in a nomination letter.

Nicholas Gardiner is a fifth-grade teacher at Berry and has worked with Tillman for the past four years. Tillman is his go-to person at Berry and goes above and beyond to ensure teachers and students have what they need ready for the school day. “From securing substitutes for myself or my team, to handling finances for different clubs and activities, I know that I can approach Barb and get the help I need, and get it with a smile. Our school will have tremendous shoes to fill when Barb retires,” Gardiner wrote in an award nomination letter.

The awards program also includes recognition categories in the areas of outstanding building service worker and central office support. There were no nominees in these areas for the 2017 award year. A committee composed of staff review all nominations and select the recipients for demonstrating excellence on the job.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 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 Pamela K. Murphy, 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.

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