Teach­ers, staff honored by school sys­tem

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The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion honored five Charles County Pub­lic Schools (CCPS) em­ploy­ees dur­ing its May 9 meet­ing for their ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment to teach­ing and learn­ing, and for mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of stu­dents.

Among those honored were Amy Adams, a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher at the F.B. Gwynn Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter; Rhonda Slater, a fifth-grade teacher at In­dian Head Ele­men­tary School; Steven Tim­mer­man, a phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher at Mt. Hope/ Nan­je­moy Ele­men­tary School; Me­gan Par­sons, a math­e­mat­ics teacher at Theodore G. Davis Mid­dle School; and Jack­son Long, a drama and the­ater arts teacher at Westlake High School.

Adams is the leader of and has been in­stru­men­tal in the suc­cess of Gwynn’s Mul­ti­ple In­ten­sity Teach­ing/Tran­si­tion Aca­demic and Adap­tive Skills Class (MIT/TAASC) pro­gram, help­ing stu­dents learn skills nec­es­sary to func­tion in­de­pen­dently, aca­dem­i­cally, so­cially and be­hav­iorally. She meets with her team to talk about stu­dent progress and con­cerns of the staff. Hired in 2012, Adams earned cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as an Autism Spe­cial­ist and is pur­su­ing a master’s de­gree in spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion. She wants to go on to get a doc­tor­ate in spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion to lead­ing the MIT/TAASC team, Adams works with other teach­ers and has trained staff mem­bers new to the pro­gram and the school to help them un­der­stand the needs of the stu­dents. “She is a model for her team on how to help stu­dents im­prove their com­mu­ni­ca­tion and so­cial skills,” Gwynn Prin­ci­pal Daphne Burns wrote in a nom­i­na­tion let­ter. Adams has made a con­nec­tion with the par­ents of her stu­dents. “Amy’s par­ents al­ways rave about how she makes them feel at home and com­fort­able in speak­ing with her,” Burns said. “She makes her­self avail­able to speak to par­ents and to en­sure them their child is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress. Many of her stu­dents are non­ver­bal so she makes sure par­ents stay in­formed via emails, home notes or per­sonal tele­phone calls.”

Slater is in her fourth year teach­ing at In­dian Head. The first two years were spent teach­ing fourth grade be­fore be­ing asked to move to fifth grade. “She did so will­ingly and with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude,” In­dian Head Prin­ci­pal Ti­mothy Rosin wrote in a nom­i­na­tion let­ter. “She is a teacher who con­stantly and con­sis­tently puts each and ev­ery one of her stu­dents’ needs at the fore­front of ev­ery in­struc­tional de­ci­sion she makes.” Slater goes be­yond class­room ex­pec­ta­tions and serves as a pos­i­tive prob­lem-solv­ing role model for her stu­dents. Her knowl­edge, work ethic and love for teach­ing are ad­mired, Rosin wrote. Her class­room is al­ways open to fel­low teach­ers who would like to ob­serve her teach­ing. “I feel be­yond for­tu­nate that as a new teacher I have had the op­por­tu­nity and ab­so­lute plea­sure of work­ing along­side Rhonda Slater these last two years at In­dian Head,” Robyn Dal­ton, a fifth-grade teacher at In­dian Head, said. “I con­tinue to grow and learn from her knowl­edge and ex­per­tise on a daily ba­sis. She is not only a team­mate, but a men­tor for many in our build­ing.”

Tim­mer­man, a phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher, shows up at Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy ev­ery day with a smile on his face, Prin­ci­pal Wil­liam Miller wrote in a nom­i­na­tion let­ter. “[He] knows all of the stu­dents’ names and is usu­ally the first per­son the stu­dents see.” Tim­mer­man has been teach­ing since 1988, and has been at Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy since 1995. He con­tin­ues to work with county of­fi­cials on de­vel­op­ing cur­ricu­lum for PE, but he is fo­cused on his stu­dents. “Our com­mu­nity does not have ver y many or­ga­nized sports teams,” Miller wrote. “He takes the time to ex­pose the stu­dents to op­por­tu­ni­ties that they may not get to un­til high school.” Tim­mer­man, de­scribed as “kids first,” helps or­ga­nize the school’s Beaver Fun Run, the Jump Rope for Heart pro­gram and gives up his free time to re­ward and work with stu­dents who need ex­tra sup­port. He can be counted on to vol­un­teer for any pro­gram the school holds, Miller said, and isn’t afraid to try new things. “He is al­ways try­ing new ideas out to give the stu­dents more op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Miller said. “Steve is a pil­lar of the com­mu­nity that he serves.”

Par­sons has taught sixth-grade math, sixth-grade en­rich­ment math, Al­ge­bra I and Al­ge­bra II. Her Al­ge­bra I stu­dents turn in some of the high­est grades in the county. She is the ad­vi­sor for Davis’s Na­tional Ju­nior Honor So­ci­ety and is the chair of the math de­part­ment. “She goes above and be­yond the ex­pec­ta­tions of a class­room teacher,” Davis Prin­ci­pal Kim McClarin said. “She con­tin­ues to set high ex­pec­ta­tions for her stu­dents and un­der her guid­ance, our stu­dents flour­ish.” Par­sons tu­tors Davis stu­dents and is a ten­nis coach at North Point High School. In the class­room she is able to make Al­ge­bra “come alive,” McClarin said. “Me­gan pos­sesses a high level of ex­pec­ta­tions for her stu­dents,” she added. “[They] are able to achieve such high lev­els that her stu­dents out­per­form oth­ers in and out of the county.”

Long is cred­ited with giv­ing morn­ings at Westlake a bit more life. “[He] rev­o­lu­tion­ized our morn­ing an­nounce­ments,” Prin­ci­pal Michael Meiser wrote in a nom­i­na­tion let­ter. Long also en­lists his stu­dents when it comes to video record­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment and in­struc­tional ini­tia­tives to im­prove teach­ing and learn­ing at Westlake. Long makes con­nec­tions with stu­dents that al­lows the teens to grow and learn. “He cares about them,” Meiser wrote. Long is an in­struc­tional leader who in­vites oth­ers into his class­room and in­vites feed­back. “[He] is will­ing to try new ways to teach and take chances on teach­ing kids and new teach­ing strate­gies,” Meiser said. Many of Long’s stu­dents con­sider him an as­set to Westlake. “He is sim­ply the best teacher here at Westlake,” se­nior Trevon Bed­ford said. “Mr. Long em­bod­ies the key char­ac­ter­is­tic needed to be a great ed­u­ca­tor,” Meiser said. “He has the abil­ity to build re­la­tion­ships.”

Each month, the board hon­ors sev­eral out­stand­ing staff mem­bers.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Charles County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion honored out­stand­ing teach­ers dur­ing the May 9 meet­ing for their ded­i­ca­tion to teach­ing and learn­ing. Pic­tured from left are Amy Adams, Rhonda Slater, Steven Tim­mer­man, Jack­son Long and Me­gan Par­sons.

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