April 4, 2017
Cristina Carbonell, paraeducator at Ronald McNair Elementary School in Germantown, has been named the 2017 Supporting Services Employee of the Year.
A paraeducator at McNair for 16 years, Carbonell’s colleagues say one of her strengths is the ability to build a personal relationship with every student. She holds them to high expectations and challenges them to learn and grow. Students trust her and they know she believes in them.
Coworkers say she is an invaluable team player and someone you can always count on.
She is assigned to the morning’s car rider drop off area because of her warm and welcoming personality. As a native Spanish speaker, many of the school’s Hispanic parents are comfortable asking her for help in communicating with the school and classroom teachers. During the summer, she supports incoming kindergartners in the JumpStart program. She coordinates the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Gold Medal Lunch reward system, which recognizes students for good behavior.
She is very active in the school community, attends many extracurricular activities to support students, and volunteers for many jobs, large and small. She can often be found in the front office, answering phones and greeting families, and helps out in the cafeteria and on the playground. She served as the sponsor for the school’s Student Government Association; coordinated food and clothing drives; hosted a before-school “ABC Club” for struggling kindergarten students; and created “recess bags” for indoor recess activities, including making sure the items were restocked when needed. She is a regular in the school’s dunk tank to raise money for the PTA.
She “embodies the motto of ‘education works because we do,’” McNair principal Sherry Moses wrote in her nomination letter. “She takes the initiative to complete tasks she feels would benefit students. … Her ability to take a leading role is a natural ability.”
Carbonell will be among the honorees at the Champions for Children celebration on Wednesday, April 26 at BlackRock Center for the Arts. The award was established by SEIU Local 500 and the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE).