The Board of Education honored five exemplary Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees during its Oct. 10 meeting for their dedication and commitment to teaching and learning, and for making a difference in the lives of students. Honored were Monica Halloran, fifth-grade teacher at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School; Velvet Gipson, instructional specialist at Theodore G. Davis Middle School; Catherine Powell, school counselor at Indian Head Elementary School; Miriam Ratcliffe, special education teacher at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center; and Lori Sanchez, secretary to the principal at Westlake High School.
Halloran has taught with CCPS for the past 12 years and takes on all opportunities to make her classroom inviting and engaging for students. She maintains high expectations for students and goes out of her way to ensure every student understands class content and assignments. Halloran makes learning fun and presents concepts in exciting ways. She also makes time to support students outside of the classroom. Halloran is the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) coach and a member of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, and the math, reading and social committees. Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Principal William Miller said Halloran is a role model who puts forth her best effort daily. “She is an outstanding teacher who often sacrifices her own time to help students in need. Everyday Mrs. Halloran’s students go home having worked their hardest and given her 100 percent of what they could,” Miller wrote in a nomination letter.
Gipson has been working for CCPS for the past 15 years and began working at Davis in 2013 as a reading resource teacher. She is innovative in her teaching and her passion for education is evident in all that she does for students. Gipson oversees the reading program at Davis. She helps to implement interventions for students who need additional assistance and works with teachers to ensure they have the most up-to-date strategies and skills to support all levels of learners. In addition to coordinating reading intervention programs and staff development opportunities, Gipson helps implement academic and behavioral interventions. Davis Principal Kim McClarin said Gipson is a role model example of a professional educator. “Ms. Gipson is the thriving force behind our language arts department. She ensures that county initiatives are met and her school innovations and attention to detail are evident in all she does,” McClarin wrote in a recognition nomination.
Powell is known among her peers at Indian Head as a positive problem-solving role model for students. She creates engaging lessons for students on topics such as friendship, family, and positive relationship building. Powell also talks with students about topics such as responsible social media use, bullying prevention and community involvement. At the start of the school year, Powell co-presented with her principal, Tim Rosin, during grade level discussions about content in the Code of Student Conduct. She hosts lunch bunches with students and ensures her office environment is warm and welcoming. Powell emphasizes the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships in all that she does. In a letter written on behalf of her recognition, Rosin said Powell always does what is best for students. “Catherine Powell is an outstanding school counselor who truly goes above and beyond in providing daily guidance services to groups of students and individual students,” Rosin wrote.
Ratcliffe is the team leader for the Early Intervention Program at the Gwynn Center. She works closely with staff to implement strategies and interventions for students with special needs. She meets weekly with her team to monitor student progress and shares instructional strategies for students with different learning disabilities. Ratcliffe is a model for her team on how to help students improve their communication and social skills. As a teacher with CCPS for more than 17 years, Ratcliffe has been nominated several times for recognition through the Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee awards program. She is also part of the climate team at the Gwynn Center and always puts the needs of her students first. Daphne Burns, principal at the Gwynn Center, said Ratcliffe is a positive advocate for students with special needs. “Miriam is instrumental in the success of the Early Intervention Program. She has spent her career in special education and taught students with special needs from 3 years of age through the elementary primary grades,” Burns wrote in a nomination letter.
Sanchez is a hard worker and pays great attention to detail. She manages the overall school calendar for Westlake and handles any use of facility requests from both school system and community organizations. She promotes a team environment and often plans collaborative activities to ensure the secretarial team feels supported. She focuses on professional development and takes courses to keep her skill set up-to-date. In 2016, Sanchez completed the Certified Administrative Professional program, known as CAP. She goes out of her way to help those in need of assistance and is kind and professional in all that she does. In his letter of support for Sanchez’s nomination, Westlake Principal Michael Meiser said Sanchez is an asset to the school. “Ms. Sanchez is diligent in her job. She arrives early, and never leaves until her tasks are complete for the day,” Meiser wrote.
The Board at its monthly meetings recognizes outstanding CCPS students and staff for exemplary accomplishments.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 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 Dr. Patricia Vaira, 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.