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Board of Education honors outstanding educators

The Board of Education of Charles County at its Dec. 13 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members for their commitment to the school system and student success. Each month, the Board honors staff members chosen by their school principals for recognition who demonstrate their dedication to teaching and learning.

Honored by the Board were Cassandra Ament of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School; Alexandria Bumb of Matthew Henson Middle School; Deidra Fuller of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School; Laurie Silk of the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center; and Charlene Woods of William B. Wade Elementary School.

Cassandra Ament is an instructional resource teacher at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School where she works with intervention groups, coaches teachers through math lessons, oversees DreamBox recognition boards and is a member of several committees to ensure the culture and climate at Dr. Mudd is welcoming to parents, students, staff and community members. Ament has more than two decades of experience in education and has spent seven years at Dr. Mudd. She regularly meets with teachers and staff to review curriculum and analyze data. “She believes that every student has gifts and it is our responsibility as educators to tap into those gifts,” Dr. Mudd Principal Orlena Whatley said. At Dr. Mudd, Ament has helped the school gain in math scores and works with teachers to remain current on math pedagogy. As a member of Dr. Mudd’s instructional leadership team she is instrumental in scheduling professional learning. She has presented at the county, state and national levels on best practices in mathematics and recently presented at the National ESEA Distinguished conference. Ament is devoted to the Dr. Mudd community. “She is that person who would give their last if it meant that it would help someone else,” Whatley said. “There has never been an activity or function held at Dr. Mudd that she hasn’t attended.” Ament doesn’t hide behind her title or desk. “Mrs. Ament is an amazing resource for teachers and students and will do anything possible to be a support or cheerleader,” Genevieve George, third grade teacher, said. “She is a great asset to Dr. Mudd.”

While Alexandria Bumb started at Matthew Henson Middle School mid-year during the 2021-22 school year, she has quickly become the testing coordinator extraordinaire, Henson Principal Christina Caballero said. As a learning resource teacher, Bumb has created and implemented a testing schedule, communicates regularly and often with staff, students and parents. Bumb is an expert at building relationships with staff in different departments including the administrative and special education teams. She also keeps an eye on students in the gifted education program ensuring they have the support they need to excel. Bumb leads professional learning team debriefings and as a detailed orientated person has a knack for creating documents, managing folders and updating files. She works well with others and is willing to fill in where needed. Bumb has stepped in to cover for math and reading specialists when they are teaching classes or hosting interventions. Outside of school, Bumb enjoys baking and shares her creations with school staff.

Deidra Fuller is one of the longest working employees at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School having worked for at least five principals at the school. “She has established a legacy of excellence as the secretary to the principal,” Jenifer Principal Kevin Jackson said. When Jenifer became a Title I school, Fuller delved into learning the Title I routines and procedures. She reached out to the secretaries at other Title I schools to get advice and insight. Fuller’s professionalism is invaluable at Jenifer with her offering solutions to problems that crop up and being a staff member who can get things done. Jackson said Fuller is supportive of his vision for the school. “She offers excellent perspective in terms of what has been tried, and what has worked, at Jenifer,” Jackson said. Fuller ensures that staff are appreciated with gifts for special occasions and small tokens of thanks. “She consistently anticipates what the administration and staff need many times before it is even thought about,” Jackson said. On a grander scale, Fuller organizes and jumpstarts food and school supply drives at the school. “Mrs. Fuller is impactful in our main office,” Jackson said. “She is always willing to work on the weekend for special projects and volunteers her time without expecting anything extra.” Fuller was unable to attend the Dec. 13 Board meeting. Principal Jackson accepted the recognition on her behalf.

Laurie Silk, student data clerk at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center, is continually learning about and creating ways for staff to easily access student information. Stethem Principal Louis D’Ambrosio calls her the center’s “Synergy guru.” Information on grades, attendance, scheduling — it doesn’t matter, it’s a few clicks away for Silk. “If you need information for any one student, class, school — Mrs. Silk can find a way to get the information,” D’Ambrosio said. “Mrs. Silk’s dedication and objectivity in her decision making assists the growth of the Stethem center.” She provides daily, weekly and monthly reports to various teams to monitor student achievement, growth and success. Silk is a stickler for protocol and will work with staff to ensure the best possible scenario for students. Silk is sought out for her advice. “The kind of advice that is sometimes hard to take,” D’Ambrosio said. “But it is the truth.”

Charlene Woods, a third grade teacher at William B. Wade Elementary School, tries out and adapts to new strategies to meet students’ academic needs. A quiet leader who leads by example, Woods makes learning fun. “She always makes learning fun for us and makes us feel very special no matter what,” a student told Wade Principal William Miller. While Woods’ students call her “awesome,” Miller appreciates her willingness to accept any challenge. “Whether it is introducing a new strategy or enhancing an old on, she will always do what’s best for students,” Miller said. Woods is known to forego her planning time to help a struggling student and collaborates with other teachers. Woods is an inclusion classroom teacher who enjoys figuring out each child’s unique learning style and developing strategies to meet their individual needs. “Charlene has always taken the initiative to modify work to meet the students where they are at so they can have success,” Cornelia Poudrier, Woods’ cooperating special education teacher, said. “I love working with Charlene as a co-teacher.”

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 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 Kathy Kiessling, 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.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).