Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Board honors outstanding support staff

The Board of Education honored six Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees with Outstanding Personnel Awards on June 9. Honored were

-- Nghia Dang, computer analyst, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building;

-- Madonna Gaume, technology facilitator, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School;

-- Eric McElhenny, electronic technician, CCPS Radio Station Road Annex;

-- BiJon Trice, secretary to the principal, John Hanson Middle School;

-- Gloria Renee Ward, head of accounts payable, Starkey Building; and

-- Victor Woodland, building service manager, Theodore G. Davis Middle School.

Dang has worked for the school system since 2009 and supports the technology needs of staff at both the Starkey Building and the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center. His strong technical knowledge of networking skills, computer hardware and software allows him to efficiently and quickly solve issues. He is well known among his coworkers as dependable and willing to assist anyone in need of technical assistance. Dang is professional and approachable and often sought out to mentor computer interns and computer analysts in schools and at other CCPS work locations. He assists with technology inventories, and the maintenance of technology and is knowledgeable with Smart boards, laptops, desktop computers and server hardware. Lora Bennett is the information technology manager for CCPS and wrote a letter in support of Dang’s award nomination. In her letter, she describes Dang as an important contributor to the morale of his team. “He works hard to keep the technology in all the buildings he supports functioning to enable the staff to create learning opportunities and support the mission of our school system. He is always willing to assist and prides himself on doing his work effectively and to the highest level of performance,” Bennett wrote.

Gaume has worked for CCPS since 1997 and began working at Barnhart as the school’s technology facilitator in 2004. She works hard to develop exciting and engaging lessons for students, and ensures her lessons match the skills of all learners. She plans lessons with grade-level teachers but also seeks out additional curriculum to support student learning in the computer lab. Gaume aims to provide fun learning opportunities for her students and is resourceful in completing all tasks. This school year she completed training to learn more about the school system’s partnership with so she can teach Barnhart students about computer coding. Gaume also volunteers to serve as the sponsor of the Computer Bowl team in which she helps students prepare for an annual current events quiz-style competition hosted on the Internet. Additionally, she helps coordinate several school-related events such as Breakfast with Santa, the Harvest Festival and Relay for Life efforts. Barnhart Principal Troy Barnes said Gaume is a valuable asset to the school. “She is resourceful, understands all aspects of her job, utilizes technology daily, fosters cooperative relationships within the entire school community, and demonstrates outstanding leadership,” Barnes wrote in an award nomination letter.

McElhenny has worked for the school system for more than 20 years as an electronics technician. In his role, he supports and maintains bell schedules at schools and fire alarm, clock, security and audio systems for CCPS. He is adamant in learning new technologies to support his duties and is diligent in maintaining, upgrading and replacing system components, as needed. He also supports antennae and cable systems at all schools and buildings, and oversees the public address systems, also known as the PA audio system, used in schools. McElhenny is well known among his peers for his professional attitude and strong work ethic. He strives to assist with any task he is given and is committed to excellence in his position. Mary B. Neal Elementary School Principal Carol Leveillee wrote a letter on behalf of McElhenny’s nomination and said his commitment to his profession is evident in all he does. “Eric is always dedicated to getting the job done. He is dependable and knowledgeable. He always has a solution to any issues. Whether it’s security, sound systems, speakers, intercoms, or whatever, Eric is on the job,” Leveillee wrote.

Trice has worked in the office at John Hanson since 2012 and handles several tasks for the school, including the school budget, payroll organization and financial reports. He also serves as the point of contact for technical and software support and helps to evaluate administrative operations. He manages the use of facilities calendar for Hanson and maintains all records related to the school’s accountability plan. Trice is well known among Hanson staff for his kind demeanor and professionalism. His dedication to detail and quality is evident in all jobs he manages. Trice offers his assistance when needed and strives to develop and maintain a positive rapport with students, staff and parents. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Trice serves as a mentor for students and helps coach basketball. Hanson special education teacher Megan English said Trice is an excellent role model for students. “He establishes positive relationships with students within the school through coaching, participation in PBIS activities, and just by being a respectable presence throughout the building. Many of my students with special needs look forward to chatting with him on a regular basis. He is an excellent role model for our students to look up to and happily takes on that responsibility,” English wrote in a nomination letter.

Ward’s career with CCPS spans more than 34 years and includes positions such as word processor operator, certification clerk, computer operator, accounting assistant and head of accounts payable. Ward was named the head of accounts payable in 2013 and develops queries to maintain payment records, reconciles vendor statements and obtains reimbursements from vendors. She also helped implement an electronic funds transfer payment system for accounts payable and assisted in developing a comprehensive binder of accounts payable procedures. She created helpful hints for secretaries to use when receiving invoices in the computer system and trains employees in retrieving documents from Laser Vault, a document management system used by CCPS. She is professional and demonstrates a strong work ethic, attention to detail and volunteers to take on difficult tasks when needed. In an award nomination letter, accounts payable staff member Ann Peddicord said that Ward goes above and beyond. “There is no job that she will not tackle with every ounce of energy she has to give and have it completed on time and as near to perfect that is possible. She is one of the most organized people that I have met, and one of the hardest working people that I know,” Peddicord wrote.

Woodland began his career with CCPS in 2002 and worked at General Smallwood Middle School and Henry E. Lackey High School as a building service worker. He was promoted to the building service manager at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center in 2004 and took over the manager position in building services at Davis when the school opened in 2007. He works with contractors and coordinates the use of facilities for the school, county and community events. He assists with bi-annual bus evacuations, prepares the building for all events and helps to maintain areas outside of the school. He works with school administrators to ensure the school is safe and orderly, performs daily facility checks and maintains building inspection records. As building service manager, Woodland also prepares daily assignments for his staff and is well known for his attention to detail and strong work ethic. Davis Principal Stephanie Wesolowski said Woodland has been an integral part of the instructional program at Davis since the school opened. “Maintaining a large facility is no easy task, but you wouldn’t know it from observing the leadership qualities of Mr. Woodland. He is always available no matter how large or small the request and he is extremely dependable. He is truly an exemplary employee,” Wesolowski wrote in a nomination letter.

The Board each year honors exemplary staff members who provide creative and quality services that support the effective and efficient operations of the school system.

Louis D’Ambrosio named 2015 Vice Principal of the Year

William A. Diggs Elementary School Vice Principal Louis D’Ambrosio, right, was honored by the Board of Education on June 9 as the 2015 Charles County Public Schools Vice Principal of the Year. Board Chairman Virginia McGraw, pictured left, presented D’Ambrosio with a plaque of recognition during the June 9 Board meeting. CCPS honors one outstanding vice principal per year.
William A. Diggs Elementary School Vice Principal Louis D’Ambrosio, right, was honored by the Board of Education on June 9 as the 2015 Charles County Public Schools Vice Principal of the Year. Board Chairman Virginia McGraw, pictured left, presented D’Ambrosio with a plaque of recognition during the June 9 Board meeting. CCPS honors one outstanding vice principal per year.

Louis D’Ambrosio, a vice principal at William A. Diggs Elementary School, is the 2015 Charles County Public Schools Vice Principal of the Year. He was selected for the annual honor for his passion for working with children and commitment to education. D’Ambrosio has served as a vice principal at Diggs since 2011. He was recently appointed as principal at Arthur Middleton Elementary School for the 2015-16 school year.

D’Ambrosio said throughout his life he has encountered numerous people who have positively impacted his career and helped him get to where he is today. He is also humbled by the recognition and said after he was notified of his award selection, it took him a few minutes to realize the honor being bestowed upon him.

“I was instantly humbled. Everyone always says that they can think of a teacher or coach or one single individual that helped them at the right time in their lives. I can list numerous influences in my life starting from first grade and up to now that have had a positive impact in my life. It truly does take a village to raise a child. I am honored and humbled to be nominated as an important part of the village,” he said.

Criteria for the Vice Principal of the Year award include a strong work ethic, commitment to the success of students and staff, and the ability to help maintain a positive learning environment. In letters written on behalf of D’Ambrosio’s nomination, his peers, parents and students say that he embodies all of the qualities of a great educator who is passionate about student success.

Diggs fifth grader Brianna Tabayoyong said D’Ambrosio is always there for students when they need additional assistance, or positive emotional support. In her letter of recommendation, she said D’Ambrosio is a role model for students. “When you’re feeling down, he is there. Mr. D’Ambrosio always has something positive to say. He is always there for you if you need him,” Tabayoyong wrote in a nomination letter.

D’Ambrosio’s nomination includes several recommendation letters from Diggs grade-level teams that highlight his ability to connect with not only students, staff and parents, but the entire school community. Members of the third-grade team said his ability to connect with students and strong work ethic make D’Ambrosio a standout leader.

“From the moment he joined the William A. Diggs staff he has maintained a positive attitude and strong goal-oriented work ethic. He is a creative and original thinker. He is committed to his staff and student growth and establishes positive partnerships with the community by being involved in several school programs,” wrote the Diggs’ third-grade team of teachers Tracey Crawford, Jennifer Krex, Stephanie Mooneyham and Corrie Wutka.

As a vice principal at Diggs, D’Ambrosio is visible in school hallways and classrooms. He makes it a point to visit each classroom daily and serves as a mentor for struggling learners. He assisted with the creation of the school improvement plan and student learning outcomes, and helps to develop the master schedule and testing calendar annually. He also delegates bus coordinator duties and manages the school website.

D’Ambrosio is an active member of the Diggs Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and attends several PTO events and spirit nights to support the school community. He also provides professional development for staff including presentations on differentiated instruction, the teacher observation process and the use of Edline. Additionally, D’Ambrosio has served as acting principal at Diggs while his principal was on extended leave.

Diggs Principal Sandra Taylor said D’Ambrosio is an exemplary part of her administrative team. “I have had the pleasure of working with Lou D’Ambrosio as my vice principal for the past four years. His leadership and administrative qualities have been invaluable. I truly believe there is no better candidate to receive this accolade. Last year, while I was out on maternity leave, Mr. D’Ambrosio proved that he is capable of running a school effectively. So it is without reservation that I nominate him for this award,” Taylor wrote in an award nomination letter.

D’Ambrosio began his career with Charles County Public Schools as a special education teacher at Milton M. Somers Middle School in 2001. In 2006, he was named as vice principal at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, and then transferred to vice principal at Indian Head Elementary School in 2007. D’Ambrosio served as the vice principal at Indian Head until 2011 when he took a vice principal position at Diggs. On July 1, D’Ambrosio starts his appointment as the new principal at Middleton.

He has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education, both from Mercyhurst University. He also has a certificate in advanced study in education from Notre Dame of Maryland University. D’Ambrosio was honored by the Board of Education on June 9. The Board honors one outstanding vice principal each year.

Superintendent announces principal, vice principal changes

The Board of Education today approved the appointment of five new principals and 10 new vice principals for the 2015-16 school year. Additionally, Superintendent Kimberly Hill announced nine principal transfers, nine vice principal transfers and administrative appointments.

New principals include:

-- Christina Caballero, vice principal at Mattawoman Middle School, has been named as principal at Matthew Henson Middle School.

-- Louis D’Ambrosio, vice principal at William A. Diggs Elementary School, has been named as principal at Arthur Middleton Elementary School.

-- Kevin Jackson, vice principal at Theodore G. Davis Middle School, has been named as principal at William B. Wade Elementary School.

-- Kim McClarin, vice principal at North Point High School, has been named as principal at Theodore G. Davis Middle School.

-- Susan McCormick, vice principal at Thomas Stone High School, has been named as principal at John Hanson Middle School.

Hill also announced a number of principal and administrative transfers, including:

-- Evelyn Arnold, principal of La Plata High School, transfers to principal at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center.

-- Douglass Dolan, principal of Mattawoman, transfers to principal at La Plata High School.

-- Sonia Jones, principal of Henson, transfers to principal of Mattawoman.

-- Kathy Kiessling, principal of Hanson, transfers to principal of General Smallwood Middle School.

-- Kathy Perriello, principal of Smallwood, transfers to principal at Henry E. Lackey High School.

-- Sabrina Robinson-Taylor, principal of Middleton, transfers to principal at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School.

-- Verniece Rorie, principal of Mitchell, transfers to principal at Gale-Bailey Elementary School.

-- James Short, principal at Lackey, has been named as the Director, Hearing Officer/Court Liaison for the school system.

-- Stephanie Wesolowski, principal at Davis, has been named as Coordinator of Instructional Assessment.

Vice principal appointments include:

-- Paul Alvarez, administrative assistant at Thomas Stone to vice principal at St. Charles High School;

-- Shane Blandford, teacher from William B. Wade Elementary School to vice principal at Mary H. Matula Elementary School;

-- Nichole Bolden, teacher at Mattawoman to vice principal at Milton M. Somers Middle School;

-- Anthony Carroll, instructional resource teacher at Smallwood to vice principal at Henson;

-- Brian King, administrative assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School to vice principal at Davis;

-- Gary Lesko, administrative assistant at St. Charles High School to vice principal at Mattawoman;

-- Jason Mackey, administrative assistant at Smallwood to vice principal at Lackey;

-- Shanif Pearl, administrative assistant at La Plata to vice principal at Thomas Stone;

-- Kevin Reisinger, administrative assistant at North Point to vice principal at Maurice J. McDonough High School; and

-- Todd Wonderling, teacher at Piccowaxen Middle School to vice principal at Mitchell.

Vice principal transfers for the 2015-16 school year include:

-- Nicholas Adam, from Malcolm Elementary School to Diggs;

-- Michelle Beckwith, from Mitchell to Middleton;

-- Patricia Mooring, from Middleton to Malcolm;

-- Tamra Nissen, from Henson to Hanson;

-- Carl Pascarella, from Lackey to McDonough;

-- Jean Ritter, from Matula to Indian Head Elementary School;

-- Steven Roberts, from McDonough to North Point;

-- Belinda Shatley, from Somers to Davis; and

-- Brad Williams, from Davis to Stethem.

Administrative appointments include:

-- Michael Heim, assistant supervisor of transportation as director of transportation.

Hill also announced the retirement of three principals: Penny Nye of Wade, Toni Melton-Trainor of Gale-Bailey and Wayne Freeman of Stethem.

The Board approved the Superintendent’s appointments on June 9. All new assignments take effect July 1.

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