Brenda Tillotson, a vice principal at General Smallwood Middle School, is the 2014 Charles County Public Schools Vice Principal of the Year. She was recently selected for the annual honor and was recognized for her dedication to student success. Tillotson, who has served as a vice principal at Smallwood since 2010, has a longtime career in education that spans a period of more than 20 years. Upon learning of her selection as this year’s award recipient, Tillotson was humbled by her selection and proud that her accomplishments earned her special recognition.
“I am fortunate to work at General Smallwood Middle School, where I receive the support of the administration, staff, students and parents. It is very humbling to be recognized for the hard work that I put into my job to support our students and staff. I hope this honor symbolizes the type of work ethic and commitment that I have to our students and staff,” Tillotson said.
Criteria for the Vice Principal of the Year award include a strong work ethic, commitment to the success of students and staff, and the ability to help maintain a positive learning environment. In letters written on behalf of Tillotson’s nomination, her peers, parents and students say that not only does Tillotson embody this criteria, she emulates the characteristics of a strong leader.
Marjorie Powers, whose son attends Smallwood, wrote a letter in support of Tillotson’s nomination. She said because of Tillotson’s guidance and support, her son has had a positive middle school experience. “She is always willing to go above and beyond to help students. I have heard her numerous times telling students to do their best and make the right decisions. She acknowledges our son daily and he looks forward to going to school each day to see Ms. Tillotson. She is a prime example of what a vice principal should be,” Powers wrote.
Tillotson serves as the seventh-grade vice principal and is also responsible for overseeing several school programs, such as the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), extended-learning opportunity (ELO) and Saturday School programs, the mathematics, social studies, science and related arts departments, the counseling department, after-school activities, non-certificated staff and the master school schedule. She also conducts staff observations and evaluations, oversees after-school conferences, open house events, fifth-grade transition meetings and maintains the schedule for all substitute employees.
Additionally, Tillotson serves as the principal’s designee and is responsible for the facility when Smallwood Principal Kathy Perriello is out of the building. In her nomination letter, Perriello said Tillotson’s dedication to students and work ethic is un-parallel to any. “Ms. Tillotson has demonstrated above and beyond her capabilities to be an outstanding school leader. She possesses many admirable qualities such as a strong work ethic, loyalty, dedication and a proactive mindset. Her attitude of ‘How we can – not why we can’t’ sets her apart from the rest,” Perriello wrote.
Her positive rapport and ability to establish relationships with students has earned Tillotson respect and admiration, and her work ethic is apparent in all that she does. From monitoring lunch shifts in the school cafeteria to helping struggling students access additional assistance, Tillotson is well known among the Smallwood student population for her ability to connect with kids. Smallwood seventh grader Ian Diable wrote a nomination letter in support of Tillotson and said she is a fantastic leader.
“She is a great coach, mentor, trusted administrator and an amazing person. Ms. Tillotson has a great sense of humor. She is witty, which makes her fast at making a joke. I trust her judgment and believe that she deserves to be acknowledged formally as the Vice Principal of the Year. She is still number one in my book,” Diable wrote.
In addition to her ability to support positive relationships among students, Tillotson is also well known for her professional demeanor among staff. Her belief that all children have the potential to succeed is something that Tillotson strives to instill in each Smallwood staff member, and she models consistency in all of her job duties and responsibilities. She also serves as a mentor to teachers interested in pursuing administrative opportunities and is respectful, firm and fair in all staff interactions.
Anthony Carroll is an instructional resource teacher at Smallwood and said Tillotson is a “bright light” among school staff. “Ms. Tillotson is more than an outstanding vice principal. She is a tremendous figure here at General Smallwood Middle School. She is a model of consistency, a bright light, and is always willing to give positive words of encouragement when the need is there,” Carroll wrote in a nomination letter.
Tillotson began her career in education as a mathematics teacher in Prince George’s County, where she taught at the high-school level for four years. She began teaching with Charles County Public Schools as a mathematics teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School in 1997. She became a vice principal at Smallwood in 2010.
She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Millersville University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College. Tillotson was honored by the Board of Education on June 10. The Board honors one outstanding vice principal each year.
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 35 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, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Pamela Murphy, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
General Smallwood Middle School Vice Principal Brenda Tillotson, left, was honored as the 2014 CCPS Vice Principal of the Year. Tillotson was honored by the Board of Education on June 10 and is pictured with Smallwood Principal Kathy Perriello, right.