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Gifted and Talented education council, MSDE honor CCPS content specialists

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education will honor three Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) content specialists for supporting access and implementation of gifted and talented education. They are Sheila Hettel, middle school math content specialist, John Tompkins, middle school English/language arts content specialist, and Jack Tuttle, social studies content specialist.

Hettel graduated with a bachelor’s from Frostburg State University and has a master’s from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She started with CCPS as a math teacher at John Hanson Middle School before moving into the role of content specialist which she’s held for three years. “It is important to engage gifted and talented learners in the learning process to provide challenges and opportunities for growth,” Hettel said.

Tompkins comes from a family of educators. Other than a brief sixth-grade dream of making it to the NBA, “Becoming a teacher was all I wanted to be,” he said. He earned his bachelor’s from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., and a master’s in reading from Towson University. He was a language arts teacher to sixth graders and taught social studies to eighth graders at Milton M. Somers Middle School at the start of his career with CCPS. He has been a content specialist for eight years. “Today’s students become tomorrow’s adults, and it is in the best interest of society to engage all learners,” Tompkins said. Students’ abilities to process information, enjoy school and attend regularly is linked to higher levels of engagement and success, he said. “Having students who do well in school, attend regularly, and like it produces the next generation to improve society,” Tompkins said.  

After graduating from Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.Va., with a bachelor’s in secondary social studies and physical education — he would go on to earn a master’s in economics and economics education from Johns Hopkins University — Tuttle began his career teaching government, economics and world history in Preston County, W.Va. Moving to Maryland, Tuttle taught social studies at La Plata High School and coached junior varsity soccer. During his time at La Plata, Tuttle also taught various other courses. He became a CCPS social studies content specialist in 2008. “All students deserve an education that provides them opportunities to challenge themselves and to work diligently to both set and achieve their own learning goals,” Tuttle said. “Parents, educators and the community have a responsibility to support all children as they attempt to reach their personal best.”

The content specialists, who were nominated by staff of the CCPS Office of Gifted Education, will be honored during a virtual awards ceremony Feb. 28 with a Non-Classroom Based Educator Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award.

To read more about teachers honored by the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education, click here. To read more about students’ accomplishments who will be honored, click here.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 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).