Since the 1990s, Christine Mais has been a staple in the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) office of school administration. She is a go-to resource for several school system staff and administrators because she is well known for giving more than 100 percent to any task. If she isn’t at her desk, she is at a school volunteering with students or in the community, helping with one of the many organizations she supports. Her commitment to the school system, children and the Charles County community are evident in all that she does. For this commitment, Mais was recently named the 2015 recipient of the James E. Richmond Leadership Excellence Award.
The award was established two years ago to honor school system leaders who exhibit standards of leadership and excellence demonstrated by Richmond during his career. Richmond spent his entire 47-year career with Charles County Public Schools, and served four terms as superintendent. Mais was formally presented with the award at the Board of Education’s Dec. 8 meeting and said she is honored to be selected for an award that values inspiration.
“Mr. Richmond was the epitome of leadership as he inspired and motivated everyone to reach their potential – no matter their role in the school system. It has been my honor and privilege to work among many leaders over the past 31 years and I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Mais said.
In her current role as executive assistant to the assistant superintendent of school administration, Mais serves as a liaison between the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building and the county’s 36 schools and four centers. She works to support principals and vice principals, as well as any other staff member, teacher, student, parent or community member in need of assistance. Her professionalism is apparent in all that she does and her ability to stay calm and handle whatever crosses her desk is admirable to her peers. She is often the first line of response for the office of school administration for parent concerns, emergency reports and incidents at schools.
Dr. Sylvia Lawson, assistant superintendent of school administration, has worked closely with Mais during the past 2.5 school years. Prior to working with Dr. Lawson, Mais worked alongside Ronald Cunningham, the former deputy superintendent of schools until his passing in 2011. At the Board meeting, Lawson talked about Mais’ dedication to the school system and said not only is she her go-to resource, but is someone who is “virtually irreplaceable.”
“Over the past 31 years, Chris has been a true asset to our school system. She has shared her wealth of knowledge with so many and is a thriving force of humanitarianism and volunteerism in our community. She has been a great executive assistant and a great friend. Chris, you will be missed but never forgotten,” Lawson said when presenting Mais to the Board. Earlier this school year, Mais announced her plans to retire in March.
Over the years, Mais has worked closely with school principals. Several Charles County Public Schools principals commented on Mais’ ability to support them and guide them during their career. Kathleen Morgan, principal at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School, said Mais has always been there to guide her. “Over the past 15 years as a principal Chris Mais has always been a guardian angel to principals,” Morgan added.
Benjamin Stoddert Principal Kenneth Schroeck said Mais stands out as a person who strives to exemplify excellence. “Chris stands out as someone who exemplifies excellence for Charles County Public Schools. She has been there to guide me. She has inspired me and always went out of her way to make sure I was simply having a good day,” Schroeck said.
Mais first joined CCPS in 1985 as a secretary in the University of Maryland/Charles County Teacher Education Center. A major accomplishment of her career during her time with the Education Center was her involvement with the formation of the school system’s partnership with Bunkyo University in Japan. In the late 1980s, a group of CCPS teachers applied for a Mid-Atlantic Region Japan in the Schools (MARJiS) grant through the University of Maryland. Through this grant, CCPS staff traveled to Japan and later hosted Bunkyo students as part of a student exchange. In 1989, Mais was selected to be a part of the MARJiS team and traveled to Bunkyo University. For the following 10 years, Mais helped to coordinate and plan the annual Bunkyo student exchange visit to Charles County Public Schools.
In addition to her commitment to Charles County Public Schools, Mais also serves the community in which she works. For more than 30 years, she has served on several school system committees ranging from the Glasva Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Glasva/Wayside Educational Specifications Committee to the Board of Education Budget Advisory and Strategic Planning committees. She has been a part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life efforts for nearly 20 years and has served as captain and co-captain of the team at the Starkey Building. Additionally, Mais is the Charles County Public Schools campaign coordinator for United Way and the secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Charles County.
This is not the first time Mais has been honored for her commitment to Charles County Public Schools and the community. In 2006, Mais was named the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Working Woman of the Year. In 2007 she received the American Cancer Society’s Regional Award of Excellence for Mission Delivery and was honored with their Community Service Award in 2013.
Mais said she is honored to work for Charles County Public Schools. “Thirty one years ago when I came to work for Charles County Public Schools, it was the best decision I ever made. I am deeply grateful for those who saw something in me. Going the extra mile… it was and is a way for me to show my appreciation for all of the blessings in my life,” Mais said.
The idea behind the award came from former longtime Board of Education Col. Donald Wade, who served on the Board of Education for several years and passed away in 2014. Wade introduced the award as a way to honor outstanding school system leaders and to honor Richmond for his service to Charles County Public Schools.
Mais is the second school system recipient of the award, which was first awarded in 2014 to former Board of Education Chairman Roberta S. Wise. A recognition plaque hangs near the boardroom at the Starkey Building, which houses Charles County Public Schools administrative offices.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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 Pamela K. Murphy, 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.