LA PLATA, Md. – The Board of Education at its April 20 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members for their commitment to the school system and student success. Each month, the Board honors staff members chosen by their school principals for recognition who demonstrate their dedication to teaching and learning. The recognition ceremony was held in a virtual format and featured pre-recorded introductions and recognitions from school principals.
Honored by the Board were Shannon Chisholm, Katie Cooper, Kimberly Dade, Michelle Schenemann and Shiquita Walker.
Chisholm is a compliance facilitator at St. Charles High School. She was hired at the school in 2015 as a special education teacher and serves as the special education department chair. In these roles, she leads the largest department at St. Charles that serves 185 students. Each of the 185 students have individual educational, social-emotional and functional needs, and Chisholm ensures each receives quality instruction. Chisholm oversees a caseload of more than 50 students and maintains consistent communication with students and their families. She is well known among parents as a kind, passionate and supportive educator who instills a love for learning in students. As a compliance facilitator, Chisholm is responsible for coordinating the special education team to support student Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and to ensure instruction is in compliance with federal, state and county mandates. She consistently demonstrates a positive attitude and models commitment, professionalism and hard work. St. Charles Principal Richard Conley said Chisholm is an exemplary educator. “She consistently demonstrates a ‘can do’ attitude even when faced with daunting, personally demoralizing challenges, she models the hard-work, commitment, and professionalism that she strives to inspire in her students,” Conley wrote in a nomination letter.
Cooper is a fifth-grade teacher at Dr. James Craik Elementary School. She is a leader among her peers in the classroom and in technology use. Cooper is a go-to resource for her colleagues who need assistance. This school year, Cooper has aided her peers in virtual instruction, with online learning programs and how to navigate hybrid teaching and learning. Students thrive in her class because Cooper makes learning engaging and fun. She holds high expectations for her class and prioritizes relationship building with her students. Cooper also leads the fifth-grade team as team leader and is the Craik Synergy coordinator. In this role, Cooper is responsible for overseeing the gradebook program for the school and training others in using the system. She has served as the public relations liaison for Craik since the program’s inception in 2016. Cooper launched a Facebook page for the school and is committed to providing updated information to the school community on a consistent basis. Craik Principal Michelle Beckwith said Cooper is a valuable asset to the school community. “Mrs. Cooper is an active member of our school community. Her leadership and technology expertise has been valuable throughout the virtual school year. She finds resources for students, staff and parents and troubleshoots issues that arise,” Beckwith wrote in a nomination letter.
Dade is a mathematics teacher at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. Her lesson plans are engaging and tailored to the individual needs of her students. Dade is kind, passionate and caring; her students see that she is genuine and has their best interest in mind. She has high expectations for her students and they are eager to achieve because they know Dade supports them in their efforts. She consistently communicates with families and holds her students accountable for their learning. Dade is a leader among her peers at Stoddert and serves as the sixth-grade team leader. She also sponsors the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). As team leader, Dade developed a method to track student interventions that all grade-level teams now use. As the NJHS sponsor, Dade has facilitated guest speakers as part of a career exploration series for students. She is a resource for new teachers and often facilitates lesson planning. Additionally, Dade participated in the school system’s administrative leadership program and is working on a graduate degree in educational leadership. Stoddert Principal Erica Williams said Dade is an outstanding teacher. “Ms. Dade is collaborative, thorough and puts 110 percent effort into everything she does. Ms. Dade is an all-around phenomenal math teacher,” Williams wrote in a nomination letter.
Schenemann is a prekindergarten teacher at Malcolm Elementary School. She demonstrates a high degree of pride in her work and models an exemplary work ethic for others. Schenemann is soft spoken and has a quiet and calming demeanor with students. Last school year when schools closed from COVID-19, Schenemann quickly created a plan to continue teaching virtually with her students. She transformed areas in her home into a classroom setting and remained committed to meeting with her students online. Schenemann recognizes the importance of early education. She strives to instill in her students learning fundamentals before they start kindergarten. She plans with the kindergarten team and is a go-to resource for staff with technology needs. Schenemann is sought out by her colleagues who need technology help. She recently launched a new lesson series in her classroom and helped her colleagues learn the program by modeling a lesson using Zoom. Malcolm Principal Mary Finneran said Schenemann is a role-model teacher. “Michelle was meeting with her students on Teams last year before it was mandatory. Her students were prepared for coming back to school in the fall virtually. Michelle is a great team leader for prek and kindergarten. She even attends the kindergarten instructional leadership team meetings with us to offer ideas and input,” Finneran wrote in a nomination letter.
Walker is an instructional specialist at J.C. Parks Elementary School. Walker leads professional development at Parks and has helped teachers through changes in math curriculum for the past 12 years. She regularly attends countywide staff development sessions, and then hosts trainings for her colleagues at Parks. Walker shares instructional strategies and ideas with teachers, and co-models lessons to ensure teachers are reaching all levels of learners. For the past four years, Walker has led a group of new teachers as their mentor. She hosts New Teacher Talks, and orientations weekly for new teachers so they feel supported and have the tools to grow in the profession. Walker regularly shares information for parents on math programs. She uses the Class Do Jo system to share concepts and lessons so families can help their children at home. She also created a math resource room at the school for teachers. Materials are organized by concepts such as measurement, volume and domain. Teachers are able to easily sign out these resources to use for instruction. Walker is known among her colleagues as a go-to resource for support. Parks Principal Gregory Miller said Walker is an integral part of the school team. “She helps to bridge the gap between school and home, since the math strategies are not the way most parents learned. Instead Mrs. Walker brings that terminology to parents so they feel more comfortable in helping their child,” Miller wrote in a nomination statement.
The Board each month honors CCPS students and staff selected by their principal for recognition.