The Board of Education of Charles County honored six Charles County Public Schools employees at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10 during a recognition ceremony. The employees were honored for exemplary accomplishments, commitment to student success and achievement, and contributions to their schools and school communities. Honored were Toni Adams, Diane Fisher, Pamela Gill, Jonathan Liston, Melody Philpotts and Donna Rhoades.
Adams is a special education instructional assistant at Gale-Bailey Elementary School, where she has worked for the past five years. Adams demonstrates a “can-do” spirit and attitude and is eager to volunteer and assist wherever she is needed. Her caring nature is evident in her interactions with both students and staff. Gale-Bailey Principal Verniece Rorie said Adams’ commitment to the Gale-Bailey community also is evident in her work ethic. “She is a staff member that has an eager spirit who is always ready to go the extra mile for staff and students,” Rorie wrote in a letter of recommendation. In addition to her role in the classroom, Adams serves as a member of the social committee, Positive, Behavioral, Interventions and Support (PBIS) and Relay for Life teams, and helps to coordinate Christmas in Marbury events for the community.
Fisher is a longtime science teacher with CCPS and currently works with seventh graders at John Hanson Middle School. Fisher has been teaching at Hanson for the past 29 years and first worked as a special education teacher before exploring her passion for science. She is certified in deaf education, special education and science, and strives to work with students of all learning abilities. Hanson Principal Susan McCormick said Fisher is an energetic teacher who is always willing to try new things and do what it takes to help children succeed. Fisher enjoys sharing her love of science with students and helps them to learn about the environment. She also coordinates the Student Service Learning (SSL) program and often stays after school to help students complete their projects. Fisher mentors new teachers, helps with PBIS programs, serves as the school Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) sponsor and is working toward Hanson’s Green School certification.
Gill teaches third grade at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School and works hard to meet the needs of students. Her classroom is inviting, well organized and decorated with charts that outline routines, expectations and ideas for students who finish class assignments early. Gill is certified in English as a Second Language (ESOL), which helps her support the large population of bilingual students at Barnhart. During her 15 years at Barnhart, Gill has taught first, second and third graders and assisted several students in overcoming challenging behaviors and academic challenges. She has served as team leader, mentors new teachers and is the yearbook sponsor. Gill also helps to plan special events for the school community such as the character breakfast and holiday festival. Barnhart Principal Benjamin Kohlhorst credits Gill with several school successes. “Gill spends countless hours above and beyond the school day in order to deliver high quality lessons. She takes great pride in her work, with students and the school community,” Kohlhorst wrote in a letter of recommendation.
Liston is a longtime engineering teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School and oversees the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program at the school. He started his career as a mathematics teacher and received certification in Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing. Liston was integral in the launch of the PLTW program at Lackey and teaches a full schedule of seven classes in order to provide students with an additional advanced technology education credit. His students admire his passion for teaching and his commitment to helping them achieve academic and personal success. Liston is the sponsor of the MESA program at Lackey and has helped his students achieve several county and state championship wins. He also helped a Lackey MESA team earn a third place national award in 2014. Lackey Principal Kathy Perriello said Liston is an example of a model teacher. “Mr. Liston serves as a mentor to other experienced and novice teachers. More importantly, when there is a student need, one can rely on Mr. Liston. He can always be counted on to assist whenever and wherever needed,” Perriello wrote in a recognition nomination letter.
Philpotts is the media specialist at T.C. Martin Elementary School and sponsors the Kiwanis K-Kids Club. As sponsor of the K-Kids Club, Philpotts guides community service activities for students and helps to provide ideas on how the club can support the community. She also uses books in creative ways to help students learn positive behavior and personal responsibility. Martin sponsors a Read on the Road program in which students are provided with incentives to read while riding the school bus. Philpotts helps to track program data and works with students to choose books. She is child centered and demonstrates a kind and caring approach in all that she does. Philpotts also dedicates time to manage the school’s recycling program and sponsors the student council. Martin Principal Robert Opiekun credits Philpotts’ work ethic for helping to make the school a better learning environment. “She accomplishes all that she does with an amazing attitude toward her profession and the children she serves. She speaks positively about all children all the time and works well with everyone. She is a clear asset to T.C. Martin,” Opiekun wrote in a nomination letter.
Rhoades is a kindergarten instructional assistant at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School. She has served the school community for more than 15 years in her position and is well known for her contributions to the success of students. She comes to school early daily to prepare for the arrival of students and goes out of her way to help her colleagues prepare for the school day. Rhoades demonstrates a positive attitude and is highly regarded by her colleagues as a team player who puts her best effort in everything she does. Brown Principal Christienne Warren has overseen the school for the past three years and said when she met Rhoades, she knew she was an asset to the school. “As soon as I met her I knew that she was a huge asset to the Dr. Brown school community. She comes to school every day, without fail. She is a very important influence in the lives of so many children and has made a positive impression on so many Dr. Brown families,” Warren wrote in a nomination letter.
The Board honors several exemplary school system employees monthly. Principals and administrative staff recommend one staff member for recognition before the Board annually.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 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.