Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill was treated like a military commander on Sept. 18. Joint Base Andrews invited Hill in June to be a part of the 2015 Honorary Commanders program.
The Honorary Commander Program is a yearlong opportunity with the maintenance wing to create partnerships between leaders in surrounding communities and encourages an exchange of ideas and experiences. Hill is working to create a partnership with Joint Base Andrews to be able to provide experiences for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students to bring awareness to possible career opportunities.
Hill spent the day talking with members of the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard unit, and experienced unforgettable moments while participating in flight simulations and other hands-on demonstrations. “What a thrill to be named an honorary commander…to get to be up close and personal with an F-16 fighter was an experience I’ll never forget. More importantly, the relationships we’re building with the leadership of the D.C. Air National Guard will help us prepare our students for success after high school. Real world skills and sharing best practices in leadership are two immediate outcomes of this new partnership. We’re looking forward to learning more about how we can bring these skills to our classrooms,” Hill said.
While on the tour, Hill was introduced to two Air National Guard members who are also CCPS alumni, Senior Airman Paul James and Senior Airman Arthur Fortineau. Board Member Barbara Palko, who joined Hill on the tour, said she was impressed with the CCPS graduates. “My favorite part of our Joint Base Andrews tour was having two CCPS graduates as our tour escorts for the day. Senior Airman James and Senior Airman Fortineau were so proud of their positions and their work with the D.C. Air National Guard. They both contributed their success to the learning experiences received while attending school in Charles County. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Palko said.
James graduated from Westlake High School in 2006 and fixes electrical and environmental issues on aircrafts. He credits his success to lessons he learned from his favorite teachers. “Mr. [Homer] Hastings’ engineering class helped me get a good understanding of the engineering field and on the other side of the spectrum, choir taught me to be a leader. With choir, every person has a specific part and if one person is off, the whole choir is off. The same thing applies to my job here,” James said.
Along with Hill and Palko, Board Members Jennifer Abell and Mark Crawford attended the tour. In the upcoming months, Hill plans to invite members of the 113th Wing to CCPS to experience Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs first hand and discuss leadership and ways to motivate and move students in the right direction.
“It was great to be able to interact with the men and women who serve with the D.C. Air National Guard. They were all top-notch people who do important work that often goes unnoticed,” Hill said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 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.