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McDonough's Bradshaw is named 2023 Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year

Michelle Bradshaw, a veteran special education teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School, was named the 2023 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Teacher of the Year during a Feb. 23 ceremony held at St. Charles High School.

Bradshaw was among the five finalists for the title. Other educators named as finalists include Kimberly Cline, a kindergarten teacher at J.C. Parks Elementary School, Jennifer DeAtley, a reading resource teacher at Berry Elementary School, Kelsey Graham, a special education teacher at Dr. James Craik Elementary School and Rachel Proctor, an art teacher at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School. Among the four, one will be selected to represent Charles County in the 2023 The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Awards program. The nominee will be named later this spring.

Shortly following graduation from State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned a bachelors in English literature, Bradshaw started a teaching career. She has spent the past 27 years at McDonough where she teaches students in the ACHIEVE program.

"I was in her life skills class at McDonough,” Edwin T. Willie II wrote in a nomination letter. “She deserves all the awards possible for a teacher. I loved being her student … and because of her I learned many important skills. She treated me with respect, helped build my confidence and encouraged me to try new things.”

Bradshaw said she strives to improve the functional academics of her students with the intention of increasing their independence by developing a rapport with them while fostering mutual understanding and respect. She finds lessons in everyday tasks. “My classroom is not merely academic-based. My students quickly learn our classroom is a safe place where we work together, support one another, help each other improve and celebrate one another’s victories,” Bradshaw said.

At McDonough, Bradshaw is the advisor for RAM Friends Club/Best Buddies which creates friendship matches between club members with and without disabilities. She has been a co-collaborator with the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) program at McDonough since 2012. Bradshaw has served as a mentor for ACHIEVE teachers, organized Polar Plunges and worked at Unified track meets.

Through her efforts, ACHIEVE students are valued members of the McDonough fRAMily, Principal Darnell Russell said. “Ms. Bradshaw is an advocate for her students and is passionate about involving them in the school community,” he said. “She makes sure that her students have many opportunities to socialize and be positive contributors toward the success of our school.”

Bradshaw will represent Charles County in the 2023 Maryland Teacher of the Year Awards program later this year. The Maryland Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Each year, CCPS holds a Teacher of the Year Award program. Schools nominate one teacher with administrators, students, staff and families penning letters of support. The following are the nominees from each CCPS school and center.

Elementary schools

  • Chantel Frazier — special education teacher, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School.
  • Jennifer DeAtley — reading resource teacher, Berry Elementary School.
  • Diana Gyuras — physical education teacher, Billingsley Elementary School.
  • Davlyn Wilson — third-grade teacher, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School.
  • Kelsey Graham — special education teacher, Dr. James Craik Elementary School.
  • Jordan Combs — special education teacher, William A. Diggs Elementary School.
  • Veronica Golden — art teacher, Gale-Bailey Elementary School.
  • Sheila White — second-grade teacher, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School.
  • Mary Smith — prekindergarten teacher, Indian Head Elementary School.
  • Vicki Opiekun — fourth-grade teacher, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School.
  • Erin Dean — second-grade teacher, Malcolm Elementary School.
  • Bonnie Jenkins — second-grade teacher, T.C. Martin Elementary School.
  • Megan Richardson — second-grade teacher, Mary H. Matula Elementary School.
  • Meagan Fox — fifth-grader teacher, Arthur Middleton Elementary School.
  • Amber Walker — second-grade teacher, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School.
  • Rachel Proctor — art teacher, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School.
  • Lindsey McNeil — special education teacher, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School.
  • Risa Gervais — third-grade teacher, Mary B. Neal Elementary School.
  • Kimberly Cline — kindergarten teacher, J.C. Parks Elementary School.
  • Meredith Parsons — second-grade teacher, J.P. Ryon Elementary School.
  • Kimberly Parker — elementary science teacher, Eva Turner Elementary School.
  • Kellee Shoemaker — physical education teacher, William B. Wade Elementary School.

Middle schools

  • Kimberle Johnson — language arts teacher, Theodore G. Davis Middle School.
  • Letia Ballard — social studies teacher, John Hanson Middle School.
  • Ayesha Claytor-Stanislas — social studies teacher, Matthew Henson Middle School.
  • Teonna Coleman, special education teacher, Mattawoman Middle School.
  • Sherrie Gibney — science teacher, Piccowaxen Middle School.
  • Brittany Johnson — science teacher, General Smallwood Middle School.
  • Valerie Amend — language arts teacher, Milton M. Somers Middle School.
  • Sherryle Jackson — language arts teacher, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.

High schools

  • Teresa Getgen — physical education teacher, La Plata High School.
  • Jonathan Liston, engineering teacher, Henry E. Lackey High School. 
  • Michelle Bradshaw — special education teacher, Maurice J. McDonough High School.
  • Melissa Palmer — education careers program teacher, North Point High School.
  • Paul Jenkins — English teacher, St. Charles High School.
  • Abby Lawless — Spanish teacher, Thomas Stone High School.
  • Mark Pavlecic — vocal music teacher, Westlake High School.


  • Laura Ellis — infants and toddlers program teacher, F.B. Gwynn Educational Center.
  • Elizabeth Kreilick — mathematics teacher, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center.

More information on the Teacher of the Year finalists and nominees will be shared in the coming weeks on


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).