The Board of Education at its Oct. 18 meeting honored six Charles County Public Schools employees for their excellence in education and commitment to teaching and learning. Honored were Erin Amore, Stephanie Barry, Valerie Benton, Kathleen Davis, Janice Earnshaw and Ivy Wade.
Amore is a third-grade teacher at Berry Elementary School and is known among her colleagues as a role model and team player. She sets high expectations for her students and works hard to ensure her third graders become lifelong learners. Her students are often found working together on reading and math activities, exceling in reading groups and setting examples for the rest of Berry’s third graders. Amore is quick to help new teachers and any co-workers in need of assistance. She is known as the “go-to” teacher when it comes to implementing and setting up math groups, guided reading rotations and successful behavior management. Amore also supports the Berry community as the school’s Special Olympics Unified basketball chairperson, fourth grade math team coach, Relay for Life team member and team leader for the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program.
Barry is a special education teacher at La Plata High School where she began her career with CCPS in 2005. She strives to help all students achieve success and works hard to provide additional support to those in need of extra assistance. As a special education teacher, Barry has a large case load of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and creates lesson plans to include multi-sensory techniques and differentiated learning activities. She is innovative in introducing and teaching new technologies to students and staff, and creates testing schedules to meet the needs of all learners. Barry is regarded by staff and school administration as a leader in problem solving who strives to best serve students. Barry also helps to write curriculum at the county and state levels, attends workshops and extra training opportunities, helps with Relay for Life activities, coordinates afterschool tutoring opportunities for students, and serves as the cheerleading and Unified track coach.
Benton is a school counselor at Piccowaxen Middle School where she helps support the needs of more than 420 students. In 2015, Benton was the sole counselor at Piccowaxen for the majority of the school year and worked diligently to meet the needs of her students. She consistently models a positive attitude and ensures the counseling office is an inviting place for parents and students. Benton is often one of the first staff members to arrive at school, and one of the last to leave in the afternoons. She is known for working until she “gets the job done” and plans Career Day, activities to support families at holidays, new student orientation and open house activities. School counseling is a second career choice for Benton, who served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a command chief from the Air National Guard. Her commitment to the students at Piccowaxen is evident on a daily basis in all that she does.
Davis is a resource teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School, where she has worked with students and staff since 2014. She works with the administrative team on strategies and professional development opportunities to implement in the school setting to support a positive learning environment. Davis coordinates the morning and afternoon announcements at school and enthusiastically demonstrates ram pride. She is a go-to resource for staff, but a primary resource for new teachers in need of lesson plan assistance, mentoring and guidance. Davis attends several afterschool and extracurricular activities to support students and promotes their achievements on school social media accounts, such as Twitter. She often attends student government association meetings and talks with students about leadership opportunities.
Earnshaw is a fourth-grade teacher at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School and strives to build relationships with her students. She is a passionate teacher and creates a dynamic learning environment. Her classroom is inviting and her students are often found using learning stations or hands-on activities to study concepts. She is energetic and opens her classroom to other teachers in need of ideas and techniques. Earnshaw is a mentor teacher and supports those in need of additional instructional support. Additionally, Earnshaw dedicates her time to afterschool activities and events for the Higdon community, including launching a Kiwanis K-Kids Club at the school four years ago. Students in this club focus on service learning and how they can support the community. Recently, the K-Kids Club partnered with the Maryland Master Gardeners to beautify a butterfly garden at the school, and ultimately secured a rain barrel for Higdon from the Charles County Government. As sponsor of the club, Earnshaw helps Higdon students learn the value of community service and leadership skills.
Wade is an instructional assistant at Eva Turner Elementary School and is known among her colleagues as a team player. She handles any job or task with ease, and strives to model a positive attitude and serve as a role model for students and staff. Wade has spent the past 16 years of her career in education at Turner and primarily works in the three-year-old classroom. She is instrumental in supporting all teachers and assistants in the building, always encouraging students and staff to do their best. Wade mentors new staff and manages a student of the month recognition program to highlight role model students. She assists with Judy Center functions and has been recognized as the school’s Golden Apple award recipient several times for going above and beyond in her position. Additionally, Wade co-chairs the Relay for Life team and plans activities to ensure school goals are met.
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.