Board of Education honors outstanding school system staff

Board of Education honors outstanding school system staff


The Board of Education at its April 17 meeting honored six Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) exemplary employees for their dedication to student success and commitment to teaching and learning.

Honored were Elizabeth Brandkamp, Debra Coates, Ashley Lyles, Angela MacKay, Jacqueline Taylor and Tiyata Winters.

Brandkamp is a third-grade teacher at Mary B. Neal Elementary School. She was nominated for recognition before the Board by Neal Principal Deborah Brown for her passion for teaching and love for children. Brandkamp has been teaching for the past 12 years and became a teacher so she could make a difference in the lives of children. This school year, she launched a Math Talk initiative in her classroom. Each day, Brandkamp displays pictures or numbers on the Smart board and her students discuss the relationships between numbers. Through these talks, her students have a better understanding about math and are excelling in the subject area. Brandkamp strives to provide a learning environment in which all students are excelling. Her students take pride in their work and enjoy coming to class each day, ready to learn. Brown said she enjoys when Brandkamp shares her successes. “Mrs. Brandkamp is excited by the success of her students. She stops by to tell me about lessons that she teaches and how her students do or about the difficulties they have. Most of all she comes to share the joy of teaching with me and I appreciate that more than she knows,” Brown wrote in a nomination letter.

Coates is a kindergarten instructional assistant at Malcolm Elementary School. She has worked at Malcom for the past five years and formerly worked for several years supporting students with autism. She demonstrates a sincere and genuine interest in her students and works closely with the kindergarten team to ensure all students are successful. She has an excellent rapport with children and is praised by her colleagues for her commitment to students. Coates strives to get to know her students and their families, and maintains positive relationships with parents. She sponsors the Just Say No Club at Malcolm and creates engaging lessons for students. Coates also supports Relay for Life efforts and often provides food for events and fundraisers. She attends after-school activities such as math and reading nights, and helps others create engaging and colorful displays in school hallways. Malcolm Principal Wilhelmina Pugh said Coates excels in all aspects of her work. “Debbie is extremely resourceful and constantly searches for ways to make her supporting role more interesting and unique. She truly understands the importance of fostering positive relationships with the students and their families,” Pugh wrote in a nomination letter.

Lyles is an instructional assistant in the SOAR program at J.C. Parks Elementary School. SOAR stands for structured teaching, opportunities for social inclusion, active learning and rigor and is a regionalized program for students with autism who require specialized instruction. She is committed to her students and goes out of her way to ensure they achieve academic and personal successes. She helps manage the classroom and has worked with other schools to refine their SOAR programs. Lyles also launched a staff morale committee at Parks this school year and creates activities that help to boost teacher and student engagement. Her colleagues refer to her as a role model with an outstanding work ethic. She is part of the Christmas at Parks program in which the school partners with a local church to provide for families in need. Parks Principal Greg Miller said Lyles is a role model in all that she does. “Ashley has continued to refine her skills in this position, often taking over the teacher role when the teacher is out or at a meeting. She has worked with other schools to help their SOAR program, as her commitment to learning about meeting student needs is quite evident,” Miller wrote in a nomination letter.

MacKay is a fifth-grade teacher at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School. She has been teaching with CCPS for the past 30 years, with 26 of those years at Mitchell. She embraces new instructional initiatives and works hard to ensure her lessons are engaging for students. She takes pride in her work and demonstrates an outstanding work ethic. MacKay was instrumental in Mitchell’s recent 50 Years of Excellence celebration and is a valuable member of the school community. Her commitment to student success is evident in all that she does and her colleagues seek her out for advice and support. MacKay’s students are eager to learn and engaged in the classroom. MacKay plans to retire at the end of this school year and hopes to return as an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) program tutor. Mitchell Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor said MacKay is most deserving of recognition. “Mrs. MacKay has given and continues to give her all to Charles County Public Schools and to Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School, every day. The success of students is important to her and it shows,” Robinson-Taylor wrote in a nomination letter.

Taylor is an English teacher at North Point High School, where she has been teaching since 2014. She challenges her students to do their best and commands respect in the classroom. Taylor encourages students to meet high expectations and teaches them to understand hard work makes success possible. Her expectations, combined with innovative technology use, enables her students to succeed. Taylor is known among her colleagues as the ultimate team player and true professional. She strives to connect with each one of her students and create a positive relationship with not only her students, but also their families. Taylor is the first to recommend solutions or volunteer to try something new in the classroom. She also mentors new teachers and is committed to student success. North Point Principal Daniel Kaple said Taylor is an example of an employee who is respected by all. “She is an educator who every single day, strives to do what is best for students. Although you will not typically find her in the spotlight, she is considered a leader among her peers,” Kaple wrote in a nomination letter.

Winters is an administrative intern at Mattawoman Middle School. She currently serves as the sixth-grade administrator and is a firm and consistent leader. Last summer, Winters coordinated and managed a summer boot camp for incoming sixth graders. More than 175 students and parents participated, which resulted in positive relationship building. She leads the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program and coordinates numerous activities for students and staff. Winters also oversees the Grade Recovery, tutoring and ELO programs and hosted Mattawoman’s first parent testing night. She recently completed her master’s degree in school administration and is part of the CCPS Lead Program for aspiring administrators. Mattawoman Principal Sonia Jones said Winters is committed to being an outstanding administrator. “She will not leave Mattawoman Middle School until all tasks are complete. In just a few short months, she has garnered the respect of her entire team of teachers. They know Ms. Winters will do what she says she will do,” Jones wrote in a nomination letter.

The Board at its monthly meetings recognizes outstanding CCPS students and staff for exemplary accomplishments.

About CCPS

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 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.

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