Board honors exemplary employees

Board honors exemplary employees


The Board of Education at its March 13 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees for exemplary accomplishments, and a commitment to students and staff.

Honored were Robert Castellano, Donna Fowler, Juliana Herscher, Jacob Terlecki and Rebecca Wheaton.

Castellano, known as Chief C., is an instructor at Henry E. Lackey High School with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) program. He began his career with the school system in 2013 and is highly regarded among Lackey cadets. He prides himself on building meaningful relationships with students and is visible in the school, at events and within the school community. Castellano collaborates with teachers to ensure his students are achieving and excelling in the classroom. Last school year, he spent several months overseeing the ROTC program at Lackey without the assistance of a second instructor. He taught all classes, oversaw the color guard units, managed all financial responsibilities and represented Lackey at community events. Castellano helps to cover classes in need of a substitute, assists with bus duty, supervises students in the hallway and greets students during morning arrival. Lackey Principal Kathy Perriello said Castellano’s commitment to excellence is admirable. “As a result of his efforts, we improved our grade on our most recent ROTC inspection. Chief Robert Castellano epitomizes Air Force character attributes of integrity, honesty, loyalty, competency, responsibility and self-discipline,” Perriello wrote in a nomination statement.  

Fowler is the technology facilitator at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School. She started her career with CCPS in 2003 at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center. During her career, Fowler has also worked at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School and Matthew Henson Middle School. She takes great pride in her work and often arrives early to school each day. Fowler is prepared, kind and caring in her interactions with students, and helps wherever she is needed to assist. In addition to serving as the school technology facilitator, Fowler is the public relations liaison, website manager, school photographer and fourth-grade math team coach. She is a member of the technology and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) committees, culture and climate committee, Synergy trainer and Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) liaison. Dr. Brown Principal Karen Lewis said Fowler is a valuable part of the school community. “Ms. Fowler’s contributions to Dr. Brown Elementary are countless. She is always willing to lend a hand to a fellow co-worker when needed. If she sees a problem she tries to find a possible solution,” Lewis wrote in a nomination statement.

Herscher is a first-grade teacher at T.C. Martin Elementary School. She recently achieved National Board Certification and has been teaching with CCPS for the past 20 years. Herscher is the first-grade team leader and mentors new teachers. She is a strong advocate for literacy and enjoys watching her students grow throughout the school year. Herscher has also taught at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and Malcolm elementary schools and loves working with first graders. Her passion for reading and writing are evident in her lessons with students. Herscher strives to instill in her students a love for learning. She receives outstanding evaluations annually and exhibits a deep understanding of content knowledge. Herscher is also part of the Formative Assessment for Maryland Educators (FAME) project in Charles County and at Martin. Robert Opiekun, Martin principal, said Herscher is an exemplary teacher. “Mrs. Herscher has been quoted as saying, ‘Making an impact on lives is why I chose this profession.’ One of her joys of teaching is seeing the progress that children make in her classroom as readers and writers throughout the year,” Opiekun wrote in a nomination statement.

Terlecki is an eighth-grade science teacher at John Hanson Middle School. He has been teaching science at Hanson for the past 13 years and is passionate about working with students. He presents students with challenging, engaging and supporting lessons. His rapport with students is tremendous; he strives to support students both academically and emotionally. Terlecki brings science to life for students and his classroom is filled with vivid and engaging displays. He understands the need for a balance of meaningful instruction and supporting students. Terlecki is a go-to resource for his colleagues, who often ask him for support in managing student behavior, innovative ideas to deliver lessons and techniques to motivate students. He has served as the science department chair, is active in the grade recovery program and founded the Dungeons and Dragons Club at Hanson. Benjamin Kohlhorst, Hanson principal, said Terlecki is an example of a powerhouse teacher. “Great buildings are built around great teachers. Strong content knowledge, passion for teaching and the ability to connect with students makes for a powerhouse here at John Hanson. As a cornerstone in eighth-grade science for the last 13 years, Jake Terlecki delivers challenging lessons to his students,” Kohlhorst wrote in a nomination statement.

Wheaton is a fourth-grade teacher at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School. She was chosen for recognition by Barnhart Principal Brian King for her outstanding work ethic and contributions to the school community. She is committed to the success of her students and strives to push them to reach their fullest potential. Wheaton maintains a classroom environment of high expectations, effort and achievement. Her teaching philosophy revolves around the idea that education is life changing. She comes to school each day, ready to challenge her students and change their lives through instruction. Wheaton also serves as the math team coach and has taught at the English as a Second Language (ESOL) summer camp. Additionally, she was selected to serve on the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) social studies working group. In a letter of nomination, King describes Wheaton as an outstanding educator. “She constantly volunteers to support Barnhart programs and events. She is committed to providing her students with high quality instruction and the support necessary to achieve their full potential,” King wrote.

The Board at its monthly meetings honors CCPS students and staff who are nominated by their principals for recognition.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 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 Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial 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. 

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