CCPS Teachers Receive SMECO 2022 Outstanding Teacher Awards
CCPS Teachers Receive SMECO 2022 Outstanding Teacher Awards

HUGHESVILLE, Md. – Eight Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers were recently named the 2022 Outstanding Teacher Honorees by Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO). The annual awards program recognizes teachers for outstanding achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The CCPS teachers honored for mathematics were Lauren Bonn of Milton M. Somers Middle School; Melissa Bridegum of Mary B. Neal Elementary School; and Jennifer Hoiler of Henry E. Lackey High School.

The teachers honored for science were Michelle Fryer Dommel of Berry Elementary School; Charles Newcomb of Westlake High School; and Erin Rhoades of Somers.

Honored for STEM were Stephanie Vinson of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School; and Brian Wells of Westlake.

Teachers were nominated by staff, students, principals, educators, community members or administrators. Entries were evaluated by a panel of judges. Outstanding teachers are chosen for their inspiration to students and their ability to motivate them to become innovators. According to SMECO, outstanding teachers are “employees who are essential to the continued success of tech-driven businesses because they bring valuable mathematics, science, and technology skills to the workplace.”

Bonn has been a teacher with CCPS for 11 years and is currently an eighth-grade math teacher at Somers. Bonn’s motivation as a teacher is making sure that her students are equipped academically and socially to aid in their overall growth as respectful and hard-working members of society. She enjoys getting to know her students and creating an environment for learning that they desire to be a part of. “It’s incredible to see the change from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” she said.

Bridegum is a long-time educator with CCPS finishing up year 13 as a second-grade teacher at Neal. Contributing to her longevity as an educator is her drive to create a safe space for her students. She said, “I was a student who struggled with math. I needed extra support and never felt understood by the adults who were trying to help me.” Bridegum said that when she became a teacher she wanted to “create an environment where every student felt they had a voice, could take risks, and could feel they had the ability to learn. I love watching the growth that happens over the course of a year with a student,” she said.

Hoiler is a math teacher at Lackey teaching Grades 9-12 in algebra, pre-calculus and Advanced Placement (AP) statistics. She has been an educator with CCPS for nine years enjoying the new experiences that each day will bring. Holier is motivated as a teacher knowing the long-lasting influence she has on her students’ lives. “Knowing that I have positively impacted a students’ life in some way and made learning fun is what motivates me as a teacher,” she said. She hopes that they will remember her later in life.

Fryer is the science teacher at Berry Elementary finishing out her fourth year with CCPS. She teaches Grades 3-5, and she delights in helping students “fall in love with science,” she said. As an educator she said that she enjoys seeing the excitement of students when classroom lessons are seen in their everyday lives. “My motivating factor as a teacher is seeing how excited the students get when they make the connections from science in the abstract to science that impacts themselves,” she said.

Newcomb is a science teacher at Westlake teaching freshman, juniors and seniors. He has been an educator with CCPS for 21 years. “After 21 years, I still have new experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Though sometimes challenging, the experiences help me to evolve as an educator,” he said. He enjoys primarily teaching freshman because it is rewarding watching them grow. “What motivates me as an educator is being a positive influence on children and helping students to grow as individuals. Teaching mostly freshman allows me to watch the students mature and become young leaders throughout their time in school,” Newcomb said.

Erin Rhoades has been the sixth-grade science teacher at Somers for four years. As an educator she values the impact that she has on her students in their everyday interactions. “I love sharing with students how the world around them works, how it impacts them, and how they, in turn, impact the world. I have been given the precious opportunity to be a part of other people’s life stories,” she said. Rhoades is grateful to contribute to her community through teaching.

Vinson is in her fifth year of teaching with CCPS. She is the computer science teacher at Stoddert teaching Grades 6-8. She holds fast to the philosophy of pushing her students past their limits to help them reach their fullest potential. “What I love most about being an educator, is the opportunity to encourage students to push passed their perceived limitations and exposing them to the wonderful world of technology in a new and fun way,” she said. Vinson knows that teaching is more than a job, but it is a calling as an educator. She said that this motivates her knowing she has a direct impact on the future.

Wells is an all-around CCPS employee. He teaches 9-12 grade AP computer science, geometry and algebra II math, and Project Lead the Way (PLW) engineering classes at Westlake. He is also a VEX and MESA Robotics coach, head golf coach and head girls indoor/outdoor track coach. His determination is seeing his students and athletes excel after high school. This motivating factor has brought him to his eleventh year working with CCPS.

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