The Board of Education at their Oct. 13 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees for being the difference in their positions and in the lives of children. Honored were Candice Vallandingham-Adam, Brian Chase, Michelle Gilliam, Erica Hughes and Kristen Liston.
Vallandingham-Adam is an instructional resource teacher at Arthur Middleton Elementary School. She was chosen by Middleton Principal Louis D’Ambrosio for recognition before the Board for her commitment to excellence in her position and for assisting students and staff. As the instructional resource teacher at Middleton, Vallandingham-Adam works with teachers and administrators to assist in providing effective instruction for students. She helps Middleton’s new teachers with planning and preparation and volunteers for leadership opportunities. Prior to her position at Middleton, Vallandingham-Adam taught at both the elementary- and middle-school levels and served as a team leader, cheerleading coach and sponsor for Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA). D’Ambrosio said Vallandingham-Adam is a valuable asset to the Middleton school community. “She works tirelessly in conjunction with the administration and has become a go to staff member for teachers. She has a positive attitude and supports administrative initiatives,” D’Ambrosio wrote in a nomination statement.
Chase is the building service manager at Gale-Bailey Elementary School and was selected for Board recognition by Principal Verniece Rorie for his ability to effectively lead the building service team at the school and for demonstrating an outstanding work ethic. He completes all tasks on time and is efficient in completing any projects or duties assigned. He is well known among his colleagues as a dependable and reliable worker. Rorie said Chase’s efforts were integral in an excellent start to the school year. “Gale-Bailey has been the site of major improvement projects. In the midst of these projects, Mr. Chase was still able to lead his team through preparation for an excellent opening of school. He is an integral part of the Gale-Bailey family,” Rorie wrote in a nomination statement.
Gilliam is a school counselor at Maurice J. McDonough High School and was chosen for recognition for her commitment to the counseling profession and for supporting all levels of learners. Gilliam is the counseling department chair at McDonough and is highly respected among students, staff and parents. Gilliam has several years of experience as a counselor with CCPS, and previously worked at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School and General Smallwood Middle School. Her colleagues often seek assistance from her when they need clarification on policy or practices and she strives to maintain positive relationships and open communication with students and parents. Gilliam is coordinator of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at McDonough and launched a program at the school called SWAG to assist struggling students. She served as president of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) for three years and was a finalist for their national award in 2011. McDonough Principal Bradley Snow commended Gilliam’s thoroughness and attention to detail. “Her thoroughness when conducting business is exceptional. She exemplifies the qualities that define a team member and seeks out opportunities to get involved on many fronts within the walls of MHS,” Snow wrote in a nomination letter.
Hughes is a fifth-grade teacher at Mary H. Matula Elementary School and was chosen for Board recognition by Matula Principal Carrie Richardson for demonstrating a positive attitude and commitment to her students. She creates a positive and welcoming classroom environment where students feel comfortable and are confident learners. Hughes provides fun and engaging lessons for her students and strives to reach the needs of all learners. For the past two years, Hughes has served as the fifth-grade math team sponsor and helped her students place at the county-level competition. Richardson said Hughes is an exemplar role model for her colleagues. “Mrs. Erica Hughes is an exemplary educator. She has created a learning environment to ensure student success and growth,” Richardson wrote in a nomination letter.
Liston is the choir teacher at Milton M. Somers Middle School and was recognized for her exemplar work ethic and commitment to ensuring that all students at Somers have access to fine arts programs. She demonstrates best practices in her classroom and welcomes all students into her choir program. She makes her classes fun and exciting and does an exemplary job of infusing content and curriculum into her choir lessons. As the music department chair, Liston works with her colleagues to develop scheduling that supports related-arts subjects and opportunities for students to participate. Last year, she developed a combined concert for Matula, Somers and La Plata High School students to showcase the talents of her classes but also to generate interest in musical programs within the community. Somers Principal Carrie Akins said Liston holds high expectations for her students and gives them the confidence to achieve goals. “Mrs. Liston ensures that all students are actively engaged and learning every day in her class. There is never a day when students are sitting idle – they are always actively learning, actively ‘doing’ in her classroom. She truly works hard to ensure her choir is an outstanding example and pleasure to share with our greater community,” Akins wrote in a nomination statement.
The Board honors several outstanding employees each month.
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.