Donald M. Wade, a longtime Charles County Board of Education member and former chairman, was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) Charles W. Willis Award. The award is named for the first executive director of the Association and is presented to a board member in Maryland who has made outstanding contributions to the school Board and school system they serve. Wade was nominated for the award by Charles County Board of Education Chairman Roberta S. Wise, and was selected from a number of highly-qualified candidates.
Wade was unaware that he had been nominated for the award and said he was shocked when he received the phone call from MABE that he was this year's recipient.
“I was shocked when I was notified that I was the award winner this year. Honestly, it took me a few minutes to fully understand that I was nominated and selected. It is truly humbling to receive such a prestigious award. I am honored to represent the Charles County Board of Education and to work on behalf of children in the community. It all comes down to the children and making programs and opportunities accessible to them in order for them to achieve success,” Wade said.
Wade is currently serving his fourth, four-year term with the Board of Education and was first elected in 1998. He was nominated for the passion he shows for student achievement and his dedication to implementing programs that foster student successes and provide a well-rounded, quality education for all children. He was also nominated for his role in the implementation of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (JROTC) and three-year-old programs in Charles County Public Schools.
In his award nomination, Wise said Wade is most deserving of an award that highlights service to the community. “He invests his personal time to promote the school system, to engage the public and to ensure the development of sound educational policy. He insists that each decision and policy the Board makes should focus on students, and he is adamant that the Board must operate as a team united for Charles County Public Schools and its students,” Wise wrote in the nomination.
During his tenure on the Board, Wade has served three, one-year terms as chairman, and two terms as vice chairman. He strives to provide children with a quality education and is actively engaged in eliminating the achievement gap through early childhood education and reading programs. He also serves as a resource for the school system in the advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Additionally, Wade co-founded the Charles County Think Tank for Education, a community group devoted to the thoughtful advancement of education, and is the founder of the County Veteran's Memorial Committee.
In addition to serving on the Board of Education in Charles County, Wade is an active member of MABE, and has served on their Board of Directors and several MABE committees. He also served as a member for the Archdiocesan Board of Education for the past three years and has received additional accolades for his community service.
Wade joined the United States Air Force in 1960 after receiving a regular commission to serve as a Second Lieutenant from the University of Maryland, College Park ROTC program. He spent 30 years on active duty and was an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies at three universities. He was a teacher, a department chairperson and a faculty advisor to 21 JROTC units in Prince George's County before retiring in 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and earned a Master of Science degree in education (guidance and counseling).
Wade will be honored by MABE at their annual conference in October.
For more information on MABE and the Willis award, visit www.mabe.org.
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 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.