School system staff receive awards, recognition from SECAC

School system staff receive awards, recognition from SECAC

The Charles County Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC) honored more than 100 Charles County Public Schools staff and community members at its eighth annual Teacher and Staff Appreciation Awards ceremony held Wednesday, April 24, at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center.

Honorees are nominated for recognition by students, parents and community members. Recognized were teachers, instructional assistants, school bus drivers and attendants, school counselors, psychologists, administrators, occupational, physical and speech therapists, and others who make a difference in the lives of special needs children.

Award winners are nominated and selected in six categories: individual elementary; individual secondary; elementary group; secondary group; related services and support staff/ administration.

In the individual elementary school category, Luanne Cochran, a special education teacher at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School, was named the overall winner. Evan Vahratian, a special education teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School, received the overall award in the individual secondary category.

The elementary winners in the group nomination category are from T. C. Martin Elementary School. They are Kim Jameson, school nurse; Kellen Stiffler, fifth-grade teacher; Jo Anne Roberts, physical therapist; and Katie Guesto, special education teacher.

Two winners were selected for the secondary group award. They are from John Hanson Middle School and the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center. From Hanson they are: Linda Baker, instructional assistant, Life Skills program; Stacey Bennett, special education teacher; Rachael Roszell, instructional assistant, Life Skills program; and Brittany Williams, instructional assistant. From Stethem they are; James Brown, Jr., job placement coordinator; Anthony Silva, instructional specialist; Christina Sprague, special education teacher; and Thomas Weirich, principal.

In the related services category, Marta Starkey-Mister, a speech therapist at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, was selected as the winner. In the support staff/administration category, Tynika Lytle, vice principal at J.P. Ryon Elementary School, was selected as the winner.

Additionally, honorees recognized for nominations include:

  • Kathleen Andrews, special education teacher, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School;
  • Renard Barnes, instructional assistant, Gwynn;
  • Angela Bates, special education instructional assistant, Emotionally Adjusted (EA) program, Mary H. Matula Elementary School;
  • Jody Bell, fifth-grade teacher, Arthur Middleton Elementary School;
  • Tammy Bowling, Multiple Intensities Teaching (MIT) program instructional assistant, Gwynn;
  • Scott Brain, psychologist, Gwynn;
  • Katherine Brooke, special education instructional assistant, Matula;
  • Francina Brown, instructional assistant, Life Skills program, Mattawoman Middle School;
  • Joanne Brown, occupational therapist, Gwynn;
  • Laura Buzzell, mathematics teacher, Lackey;
  • Susan Capeli, occupational therapist, Gwynn;
  • Robyn Cataldo, special education teacher, Berry Elementary School;
  • Cory Chapman, special education teacher, Thomas Stone High School;
  • Kelley Clancy, instructional assistant, Terrific Three's Program, Gwynn;
  • Audre Codrington, psychologist, William B. Wade Elementary School;
  • Micah Coe, instructional assistant, Gale-Bailey Elementary School;
  • Lauren Colfer, special education teacher, Piccowaxen Middle School;
  • Melyssa Cooke, special education teacher, Eva Turner Elementary School;
  • Kristin Cotner, occupational therapist, Gwynn;
  • Samantha Clark, special education teacher, Turner;
  • Virginia Cusick, physical therapist, Gwynn;
  • Heather Davis, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Elizabeth Dawson, special education instructional assistant, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School;
  • Donna Dillon, speech therapist, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School;
  • Inmaculada Dove, instructional assistant, Terrific Three's Program, Gwynn;
  • Melissa Elliott, special education instructional assistant, Wade;
  • Lashaun Epps-Rodgers, speech therapist, Brown;
  • Joann Exline, special education instructional assistant, Gwynn;
  • Sharon Farri, special education teacher, J.C. Parks Elementary School;
  • Susan Fine, special education instructional assistant, EA program, Stone;
  • Cindy Fitzsimmons, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Lola Ganley, speech therapist, Gwynn;
  • Patty Gray, bus attendant;
  • Donna Griffin, fourth-grade teacher, Wade;
  • Anita Grimes, special education prekindergarten instructional assistant, Berry;
  • Karen Gross, special education instructional assistant, Wade;
  • Cynthia Hangarter, kindergarten teacher, Wade;
  • Glenda Henry, instructional assistant, Life Skills program, Gale-Bailey;
  • Laura Hook, kindergarten instructional assistant, William A. Diggs Elementary School;
  • Amanda Hughes, special education resource teacher, Gwynn;
  • Erica Hughes, fifth-grade teacher, Matula;
  • Meghan Hunter, special education teacher, Mattawoman;
  • Erica Jackson, special education teacher, Middleton;
  • Marcie Jett, special education teacher, Piccowaxen;
  • Kelley Johnson, special education teacher, Stone;
  • Richard Kelly, special education teacher, Mattawoman;
  • Rita Ketchel, secretary, Gwynn;
  • Jason Kiessling, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Evelyn Lavorgna, kindergarten instructional assistant, Middleton;
  • Terry Leighton, speech therapist, Gwynn;
  • Paula Marquis, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Irene Masters, instructional assistant, Theodore G. Davis Middle School;
  • Jeffrey Mathews, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Jenna Monroe, special education teacher, Wade;
  • Kayleigh Monroe, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Lynn Ouellette, substitute teacher;
  • Mary Pace, bus driver;
  • Scott Paterson, psychologist, Stone;
  • Sandy Pickeral, bus driver;
  • Michael Pratt, I.E.P Facilitator, Stone;
  • Chelsea Pogar, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Wendy Poncheri, MIT program instructional assistant, Mary B. Neal Elementary School;
  • Gail Rankell, speech therapist, Wade;
  • Miriam Ratcliffe, special education teacher, Ryon;
  • Jo Anne Roberts, physical therapist, Martin;
  • Teresa Robinson, coordinator of autism services, Gwynn;
  • Cynthia Ross, special education instructional assistant, Matula;
  • Diane Ryan, special education prekindergarten instructional assistant, Parks;
  • Jessica Ryan, special education teacher, Neal;
  • Melissa Ryan, special education teacher, Neal;
  • Sandra Schliep, MIT program instructional assistant, Gwynn;
  • Edith Simmons, fifth-grade teacher, Matula;
  • Andrea Smoot, instructional assistant, STAY program, Gwynn;
  • Amy Snyder, special education teacher, Gale-Bailey;
  • Debbie Soileau, special education instructional assistant, EA program, Stone;
  • Mandy Stephens, bus attendant;
  • Kellen Stiffler, fifth-grade teacher, Martin;
  • Patricia Stokes, special education teacher, Diggs;
  • Stephanie Sullivan, fifth-grade teacher, Matula;
  • Sara Tayefeh-Hosseinlou, speech language pathologist, Gwynn;
  • Jameya Thomas, substitute teacher;
  • Bonnie Thomas-Stern, instructional assistant, Wade;
  • Peter Ullmann, music vocal teacher, Hanson;
  • Deborah Wade, kindergarten teacher, Diggs;
  • Amanda Walker, occupational therapist, Diggs;
  • Jean Walter, instructional assistant, Life Skills program, Brown;
  • Brenda Wagner, special education teacher, Gwynn;
  • Nancy Watts, special education teacher, North Point High School;
  • Agela Wenzinger, special education teacher, Brown;
  • Linda Westervelt, instructional assistant, STAY program, Gwynn;
  • Deborah Williams, school counselor, Wade;
  • Jeanette Williamson, special education teacher, General Smallwood Middle School;
  • Katie Wittig, special education teacher, Wade;
  • Joyce Yates, MIT program instructional assistant, Gwynn; and
  • Brandi Youmans, fifth-grade teacher, Middleton.

The SECAC is organized to provide a forum for issues pertaining to children with special education needs. Members advocate for recommendations and advise the school system about the education budget, inclusion assessments, support services and other issues concerning children and special education, and related services.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community 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.

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