Skip To Main Content
CCPS volunteers nominated for 2024 Be the Difference Awards

The Board of Education of Charles County on June 13 honored several Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) volunteers as part of the 2024 Be the Difference Awards program. During the recognition ceremony held at North Point High School, the Board recognized several award nominees for their contributions to the school system.

The Board first launched the volunteer awards recognition program in 2018 to highlight the contributions of those who volunteer in schools who help to enhance teaching and learning. School staff can nominate a volunteer in one of five award recognition categories: elementary school parent volunteer, middle school parent volunteer, high school parent volunteer, Charles County business volunteer and community organization volunteer.

From among the nominees, a subcommittee comprised of Board of Education members chose an overall award recipient in each respective category. A total of 36 finalists were named in the 2024 awards program. The overall award recipients chosen this year include the following volunteers.

  • April Crowley, middle school parent volunteer, Matthew Henson Middle School.
  • Keith Elkins, Charles County business volunteer, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School.
  • Timothy Jones, community organization volunteer, Westlake High School.
  • Adeeb and Chanelle Parkar, elementary school parent volunteers, Berry Elementary School.
  • Erin Reif, high school parent volunteer, Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Crowley was nominated because of her contributions to help the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) at Henson become a community school partner. She spearheaded the re-establishment of a fully functioning PTSO board at the school. She gathered presenters to re-enforce the well-working partnership between the community and the school.

Elkins serves as a coach and mentor through the Helping Everyone Respect Others (HERO) program at Jenifer and other CCPS schools. Elkins meets with students every Friday and provides them with skills for leadership and collaboration. According to his nomination materials, students look forward to seeing Elkins as he consistently reminds them of how important they are as leaders.

Jones, affectionately named Brother Jones by students at Westlake, has been instrumental in the success at the school. He also participates in the Elite Black Men mentoring group at the school. Jones cares about the students and meets them where they are by having them find lyrics to songs that they enjoy analyzing and annotating them. He continues to find ways to increase literacy and make reading and writing fun for high-school age male students.

Adeeb and Chanelle Parkar were nominated for the award because of their consistent efforts toward Berry for the past five years. Their involvement promotes student learning and engagement, supports the school’s initiatives and encourages the involvement of others. The couple leads programs, volunteers for field trips and classroom activities, is actively involved in the school’s PTO and works at the school store.

Reif has worked as a volunteer at McDonough since 2016. She works to support the school’s sports teams from running the open concession stand at home games to filming the presentation of “fRAMily Impact” awards to teachers. According to her nomination materials, Reif’s time, patience and leadership does not go unnoticed at the school as she is an integral part of a successful student athlete experience. She is more than appreciated by students at the school every time she shows up for them.

Finalists in the awards program

Elementary School Parent Volunteer

  • April Cave, nominated by Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School.
  • Tina Clapsaddle, nominated by J.C. Parks Elementary School.
  • Keishia Duckett, nominated by William A. Diggs Elementary School.
  • Kisha Flagg, nominated by Billingsley Elementary School.
  • Jennifer House, nominated by Mary H. Matula Elementary School.
  • Don’te and Erica Kelley, nominated by Dr. James Craik Elementary School.
  • Mary Frances Kenion, nominated by Arthur Middleton Elementary School.
  • Krystal Magana, nominated by Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School.
  • Kahla Manriquez, nominated by C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School.
  • Susan Morgan, nominated by T.C. Martin Elementary School.
  • Abigail Navarro, nominated by J.P. Ryon Elementary School.
  • Arman Niklas, nominated by Malcolm Elementary School.
  • Danielle Owens, nominated by Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School.
  • Adeeb and Chanelle Parkar, nominated by Berry.
  • Debbie Poyner, nominated by Gale-Bailey Elementary School.
  • Sarah Teel, nominated by Higdon.
  • Jared Willemin, nominated by Eva Turner Elementary School.
  • Melanie Winfrey, nominated by Mary B. Neal Elementary School.

Middle School Parent Volunteer

  • Anissa Banks, nominated by Phoenix International School of the Arts (PISOTA).
  • April Crowley, nominated by Matthew Henson Middle School.
  • Stephanie Distler, nominated by Mattawoman Middle School.
  • Lindsay Funkhouser, nominated by General Smallwood Middle School.
  • Peter Halikman, nominated by Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.
  • Shahara Rogers, nominated by Theodore G. Davis Middle School.
  • Tracy Vasquez, nominated by Milton M. Somers Middle School.
  • Nikki White, nominated by Piccowaxen Middle School.

High School Parent Volunteer

  • Dana Alexander, nominated by North Point High School.
  • David and Victoria Kelly, nominated by La Plata High School.
  • Rita Osborne, nominated by Thomas Stone High School.
  • Erin Reif, nominated by McDonough.
  • Patricia Rodriguez, nominated by Henry E. Lackey High School.

Community Organization Volunteer

  • Jessica Conjour, nominated by Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School.
  • Timothy Jones, nominated by Westlake.
  • Cpl. Terril Lawrence, nominated by Higdon.
  • Pastor Jenn Legacy, nominated by Indian Head Elementary School.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.- Nu Zeta Omega Chapter, nominated by Smallwood.

Charles County Business Volunteer

  • Keith Elkins, nominated by Jenifer.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer with CCPS, visit

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).