Montgomery Blair High School principal Renay Johnson and assistant principal Suzanne Harvey have been honored with the Nancy C. Walker Award for Outstanding Support to a Library Media Program for the 2016–2017 school year. The award is given annually by the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association (MCEMSA) to highlight the role by administrative leaders in supporting library media centers.
Johnson and Harvey have contributed tremendously to professional growth opportunities for all members of the media center staff in supporting them as professional colleagues, in providing professional training and in mentoring that has resulted in improved visibility and perception of the media center program.
Andrea Lamphier, the media specialist at Blair who nominated both administrators, inherited a media center serving around 3,000 students and 280 professional staff.
Lamphier has an immense amount of freedom in programming events and activities in the media center. Last year, for instance, Lamphier had the honor of winning a State Department sponsored fully paid trip two years in a row for eight Blair students after running a successful French Youth Ambassadors hosting program for several years. Both Johnson and Harvey were as supportive as possible. They gave Lamphier the freedom to recruit, interview, evaluate and coordinate the entire program along with the responsibilities of doing the same jobs as a host school for the French students who came to Blair. During the second year, unfortunately, the Paris attacks nearly took the program off the rails. Johnson and Harvey completely supported Lamphier, “as my fears for the safety of the students led me to hold off the program organizers until I felt it was safe enough to continue. Needless to say, I could not have run this program and managed all the details of coordinating with MCPS, The State Department, the French government, parents and students if I did not have significant professional discretion in the use of my time.”
At the same time, Lamphier was also the sponsor of the Muslim Students Association. After the Paris attacks, students felt vulnerable. Johnson and the entire administrative team at Blair came to a club meeting of the Muslim students to ask how Blair could support them. The result was a Town Hall against Islamophobia held in the media center. “My students facilitated the meeting with the support of the Anti-Defamation League and affirmed Blair’s welcoming and inclusive community.” Later, Johnson approved professional leave for a two-day club event that took the Muslim Students Association to Congress and the White House in April 2016.
Johnson and Harvey have also enthusiastically encouraged creating a makerspace. Harvey helped re-imagine the media center space; plans have been submitted to remodel the main floor of the media center to create an instructional space. Both administrators have supported the media center in winning five PTSA mini-grants, two of which are related to the space (for a 3D printer and video cameras for editing stations). Harvey also recently helped Lamphier apply for a grant for Digital Harbor’s “Making for Educators.” Johnson was thrilled last week to hear that the application for the Kid Museum Making Spaces Crowdfunding was received and is hoping to help find support from their over-taxed PTSA in order to make it happen.
Harvey always says: “Do what you can do, and know that you are doing your best.” Her steadiness, which is reinforced by Johnson, contributes to making the media center the true “hub of the school.” In addition to supporting at-risk students and keeping the media center open, Johnson and Harvey encourage Blair’s media center as it hosts the monthly student open mic programs, the African American Read-In (last year, more than 860 students attended), poetry readings, guest speakers and in-school field trips.
Eight Food Service Workers Recognized for Dedication and Hard Work
Food service employees, who serve nearly 15 million meals to Montgomery County schoolchildren each year, were honored in conjunction with the annual celebration of School Nutrition Employee Week. Eight employees were selected to be recognized for their dedication and outstanding performance; they were given certificates at a breakfast held on May 5. This year’s honorees are:
- Flor Constanza, food services cafeteria substitute
- Jay McIntyre, warehouse worker and truck driver for Warehousing and Distribution
- Raymonda Ziadi, food service satellite manager III at Gaithersburg Elementary School
- Lisa Wu, cafeteria worker I at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
- Rowaida Tabri, food service satellite manager III at Harmony Hills Elementary School
- Shao Li, cafeteria worker I at the Central Production Facility
- Marlene Coffey, account technician II for the Division of Food and Nutrition Services
- Christina Brunner, cafeteria manager IV at Montgomery Village Middle School
Retirement celebrations are being held for:
Eileen Fazio, instructional specialist for the Department of Special Education Services, after 19 years of service. The celebration will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 30, in Room 223 at 850 Hungerford Dr. in Rockville. The cost is $20 for light refreshments and gift. Send payment to Stacy Robinson in Room 234, 850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. RSVP by June 23 to Robinson.
Lisa Fuller, instructional technology specialist, after 31 years of service. The celebration will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, at Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge, 2 Preserve Parkway in Rockville (pay your own way). If you’d like to contribute towards the gift, send checks to Lori Miller at the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI). Or, use PayPal. (Note: using your credit card will cost an extra fee). For more information, contact Vernell Alston.
W. Luther Jett, itinerant resource teacher with the Department of Special Education Services. The celebration will be held from 6–9 p.m. at the Gaithersburg Marriott Washington Center, 9751 Washingtonian Blvd. in Gaithersburg. The cost to attend is $45, which covers refreshments and gift. RSVP by May 19 to Marilyn Jacobs. Make checks payable to Marilyn Jacobs, Lynnbrook Annex, 7921 Lynnbrook Dr., Bethesda, MD 20814, or use PayPal (email Marilyn Jacobs).
Tim O’Keefe, science resource teacher at Robert Frost Middle School, after 43 years with MCPS. The celebration will be held at noon on Saturday, June 3, at the Elks Lodge, 5 Taft Court in Rockville. The cost is $40 for lunch buffet and gift. Make checks payable to Frost MS or send cash to Katherine Hallas at Frost, 9201 Scott Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. RSVP by May 20 to Hallas.
Bill Kraegel, teacher for Outdoor Education, after 44 years of service to MCPS. The open house will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 9, at the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Center Diamondback Terrapin Pavilion, 5110 Meadowside Lane in Derwood. There is no cost to attend. The group will be sharing stories and cake. For more information, contact Courtney Hebert at 240-740-1404.