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 very 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.