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Board recognizes exemplary teachers, staff for commitment to teaching and learning

The Board of Education honored at its Feb. 13 meeting Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members for their commitment to teaching and learning. Due to January’s meeting moving to a virtual format because of inclement weather, three staff members who were to be recognized at last month’s meeting were honored at the February meeting. Two other staff members who were set to be recognized at January’s meeting will be honored at the March Board meeting.

Honored at the February meeting were Erica Boardley of Mattawoman Middle School, Leland Burns of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School, Caren “Christie” Carpenter of Mary B. Neal Elementary School, A’leese Dickerson of North Point High School, Khenra Granger of William B. Wade Elementary School, Stephanie Lane of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, Holly Smigal of Walter B. Mitchell Elementary School and Lauren Washington of Phoenix International School of the Arts (PISOTA).

Since arriving at Mattawoman in 2016, Boardley has been a team player. “She has immersed herself in the school culture and demonstrates a daily desire to provide middle school students with an optimum learning environment and an opportunity to hone their social skills,” Mattawoman Principal Sonia Blue said. Boardley is the Positive Behavioral and Interventions Support (PBIS) coordinator and active in the program for five years, coordinating events and activities. As a math teacher, she has a handle on math pedagogy and her students’ test scores are evidence that she is an astute teacher. She is continuing her education having recently earned a master’s degree from McDaniel College and studying for her Administration I certification. She is a mentor teacher, sixth-grade team leader and has been a MathCounts sponsor at Mattawoman. “Ms. Boardley works tirelessly to ensure all areas under her responsibility are well planned and executed,” Blue said. “She is a team player who is always willing to assist where she is needed.”

Burns is known as “Mr. Lee” at Dr. Mudd where he is a dedicated and valued member of the staff who builds relationships and makes connections with coworkers and students. “He is loyal, supportive and committed to ensuring Dr. Mudd’s environment is safe, clean and conducive to learning,” Dr. Mudd Principal Portia Parker said. Burns ensures classrooms and staff have essential supplies and is quick to respond where he is needed. He has worked for CCPS for 17 years and boosts near perfect attendance on the job. Deborah Booze, the registrar, said Burns is reliable. Nathaniel Yake, technology facilitator, said Burns is a hard worker who is easy to work with. Lea Halmon, an instructional assistant in kindergarten, shared that Burns is always on time and easy going. Fifth-grade students said that every day they see Burns, he asks about their day. “The students shared that he is a good friend to everyone and that he is really good at his job,” Parker said.

As a front office secretary and one of the first people most visitors usually see when they visit Neal, “Ms. Carpenter sets the tone of the building,” Neal Principal Anthony Carroll said. “She greets everyone with a smile and goes out of her way to ensure students, parents and staff feel welcome.” Parents and other guests to the school often comment on how kind and helpful Carpenter is and how she is willing to jump in to help with anything that will benefit the school and students. She delivers materials to classrooms, is heard throughout the school making daily announcements and makes sure PBIS drawings are held each week.

What started out as a poetry course at North Point in Dickerson’s classroom has grown into a published book featuring student poetry and art. Dickerson organizes the publication and introduced book signing events and question-and-answer sessions with the contributors. This year, the event is expanding into a poetry festival that includes panel discussions with past students and other activities. Dickerson, an English teacher, models what it means to be a lifelong learner, North Point Principal Daniel Kaple said. She recently earned her National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), she attends conferences and workshops, and is a mentor teacher for new and veteran 11th-grade English teachers. She also leads a book study for colleagues. “Ms. Dickerson has made a significant impact on the North Point community with her contributions to our staff’s professional development,” Kaple said. “She recognizes that being a model learner, empowering and motivating educators, and engaging students are crucial steps in enhancing school culture and climate.”

Granger is a second-grade inclusion teacher at Wade who is a member of the school’s Professional Learning Team. Because of this, Granger is often observed by new teachers learning about leading dynamic lessons and a harmonious classroom. Outside of the classroom, Granger guides professional development opportunities for staff. She has taken part in Teach to Lead, a partnership of the U.S. Department of Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and Teach Plus. Granger is a PBIS coach at Wade and volunteers for school events. “Khenra continues to grow as an educator,” Wade Principal William Miller said. “She never stops learning for her students.”

As Jenifer’s registration secretary, Lane works collaboratively with the school’s parent liaison to support many Title I events including the summer backpack program, learning nights and extended learning opportunities before and after school. Lane teams with other staff members to provide a positive climate and school culture for students. The school’s registration secretary for the past six years, Lane is dedicated to her work. “She is diligent and specific about gathering the necessary documents for proof of residency,” Jenifer Principal Kevin Jackson said. “She actively works with our pupil personnel worker to monitor absences and residency issues.” Lane supports students and parents by taking part in activities and events. “She always goes above and beyond for our students to support them,” Jackson said. “She eats lunch with our students, incentives them and offers suggestions to help students feel successful.”

At Mitchell, Smigal is a member of the Professional Learning Team (PLT) and attends meetings with central office staff and goes to monthly school based PLT gatherings. She presents information from the meetings to Mitchell staff on the Instructional Leadership Team and other staff members. “She embraces any opportunity to increase her capacity as an educator,” Mitchell Principal Diedra Barnett said. As the school’s learning resource teacher, Smigal supports students and teachers with gifted education content and is the school’s expert in the field, Barnett said. She is also the testing coordinator at Mitchell. “She is very organized with student data, deadlines and overall scheduling,” Barnett said. “She works hard to ensure that her daily schedule maximizes her time to work with students, but also to have availability to support staff.”

Washington, a social studies teacher at PISOTA, has more than 20 years of teaching experience in CCPS. “Her level of support and willingness to always help our school community speaks volumes,” PISOTA Principal R. Demetri Sermons, Ed.D., said. Washington is also the school’s testing coordinator who is a “gem” in ensuring staff members and students are aware of and supporting during testing windows. She pitches in where help is needed and is supportive of her colleagues. Washington recently decided to return to school to pursue another degree to further her support of the school. “Mrs. Washington is a natural born leader and gravitates toward additional responsibility and opportunities to train and support others for the betterment of our scholars and school,” Sermons said. “Her pride, dedication and determination is evident in all that she does.”

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,765 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 38 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).