Lakelands Park MS Principal Honored for Support of Library Media Program
Deborah Higdon, principal at Lakelands Park Middle School, has been awarded the Nancy C. Walker Award for Outstanding Support to a Library media program for the 2013–2014 school year. The award is given annually by the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association (MCEMSA) to raise awareness of the key role administrative leaders play in supporting library media centers.
Higdon loves to read and learn, respects the expertise of the library media specialist, and models use of technology.
In nominating Higdon for the honor, Rui Hung-Tsai, the media specialist at Lakelands Park, wrote that she makes information literacy skills a priority. For example, to support the School Improvement Plan, Higdon empowers the media staff to create an action plan, which includes promoting reading and providing supports in differentiating instruction.
Under Higdon’s guidance, the media center has a flexible schedule for lessons, book exchanges, student work time, and provides staff time to collaborate with Professional Learning Communities (PLC) across the curricula and all content areas. Higdon promotes the media center program at staff meetings and during community events. She also encourages the media specialist to participate in professional development and collaborate with educators in other MCPS media centers.
Higdon believes every student can learn and should have frequent access to the media center and its resources. Equity is essential for all students and the media center levels the playing field for them. Students who do not have access to technology at home or transportation to public libraries are encouraged to take full advantage of the resources, technologies, and educator support available to them in the media center. Higdon promotes the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) resources, such as Kindles, Elmos, Alphasmarts, mobile computers, cameras, and Promethean accessories and artwork. This ensures that all students can access the curriculum and show what they know regardless of whether they have special needs, struggle with content, are English Language Learners, or do not have resources at home. This collaboration engages students in learning throughout our school community.
Recognize a Security Staff Member
The Department of School Safety and Security, along with SEIU Local 500 Labor Management Group, has launched an employee recognition program for school security staff. Each semester, the program honors school security staff members who demonstrate leadership by going above and beyond their assigned duties to promote the advancement and well-being of students and staff.
Nominations are due Thursday, June 5. Administrators, staff, students or parents may submit a nomination letter, which should include details on why the security staff member or security team demonstrates leadership.
Send nomination letters to Robert B. Hellmuth, director of the Department of School Safety and Security by email or pony to Carver Educational Services Center, Room 131.
Debra Wotherspoon Wins MSPA Outstanding Practice Award
Debra Wotherspoon, psychologist, has received the Outstanding Practitioner Award by the Maryland School Psychologists’ Association.
This award is given annually to a Maryland school psychologist who demonstrates extraordinary achievements and high level of skill in delivering a full range of psychological services, displays exemplary professional skills, commitment to children and leadership qualities.
Wotherspoon is currently assigned to Goshen and Clopper Mill elementary, and Rocky Hill middle schools, and serves more than 2,000 students. In addition to performing comprehensive school psychological services, she has been a co-chair on Goshen’s behavior committee as they transitions to a model of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). She created a weeklong, free camp for rising 5th grade students who were at-risk due to behavioral challenges. The students helped write and act in a video focusing on student identified behavioral strategies. In March, she was selected as the Montgomery County School Psychologists’ Association (MCSPA) School Psychologist of the Year.
Wotherspoon has served as the president of MCSPA, in many county leadership positions, and as an adjunct professor in the George Mason University school psychology program.
Music Educators Win Teachers of the Year Awards
Michelle Searle (left), music teacher at Seneca Valley High School, and Shoshanah Drake (right), consulting teacher for music, were recipients of the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) Outstanding Music Teacher of the Year awards. Katie Murphy (center), the MCPS fine arts content specialist for music, is the president-elect for MMEA. They were honored at the Awards of Excellence luncheon last month in Ellicott City.
Retirement celebrations are being held for:
Doug Ackler, P.E. teacher at Kingsview Middle School, after 38 years of service to MCPS. His celebration is at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 29 at Smokey Glen Farm, 16407 Riffleford Road in Gaithersburg. The cost is $40 for barbeque buffet dinner and gift. Send payment to Tanya McEvoy at Kingsview, 18909 Kingsview Road, Germantown, MD, 20874. RSVP to McEvoy by May 19 at 301-601-4611.
Margie Cernitz, instructional specialist in the Vision Program, after 39 years with MCPS. Her celebration will be at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 2, at the Winery of Olney, 18127 Town Center Dr. in Olney. The cost is $20, which includes wines and hors d’ouevres. Pay at the door. No gifts, please. RSVP by May 28 to Gina Schmid at 301-613-7378.
Diane Creel, media specialist at Flower Hill Elementary School, after 28 years of service to MCPS. Her celebration will be at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 6, at the club room at the Meridian at Grosvenor Station, 5230 Tuckerman Lane in Rockville. The cost is $20 for light evening fare and beverages. Send payment to Sandi Mercer, 5230 Tuckerman Lane, #606, Rockville, MD, 20852. RSVP to Mercer at 301-897-7392 by June 3.
Linda Elbaz, teacher of the visually impaired based at Walt Whitman High School, after more than 39 years at MCPS. Her celebration is at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11, at Chef Geoff’s, 12256 Rockville Pike in Rockville. The cost is $20 for appetizers and salads. Send payment to Mary Bonanno, Gaithersburg Middle School, 2 Teachers’ Way, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877. RSVP by June 4 to Bonanno at 301-670-2250.
Jan Leighty, reading specialist at Washington Grove Elementary School, after 33 years. Her celebration will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at Normandie Farm, 10710 Falls Road in Potomac. The cost is $45 for dinner and gift. Send payment to Natalie Reineke at Washington Grove, 8712 Oakmont St., Gaithersburg, MD, 20877. RSVP by May 27 to Dawn Little at 301-840-7120.
Susan Knutson, art teacher, and Jean Nethery, instructional data analyst, both at Gaithersburg Elementary School, after 22 and 20 years with MCPS, respectively. Their celebration will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant, 122 Kentlands Blvd. in Gaithersburg. The cost to attend is $23 for dinner and non-alcoholic drinks. Additional money will be accepted for a gift, if desired. Send payment to Megan Moore, Gaithersburg Elementary School, 35 North Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877. RSVP by May 30 to Moore at 301-840-7136.
Judy Reiff, Academy of Hospitality and Tourism teacher and intern coordinator, and Debbie Reier, English teacher, both at Sherwood High School, after 36 and 37 years of service, respectively. Their celebration is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, at the Inn at Brookeville Farms, 19501 Georgia Avenue in Brookeville. The cost is $50 for hors d’ouevres, dinner buffet and gift, or $10 for gift only. Cash bar. Send payment to Sherwood High School–June Celebration, 300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Sandy Spring, MD, 20833. RSVP by May 30 to Catina Wist at 301-924-3200.
Ann Roldan (resource teacher, special education), Jerry Seidman (P.E. teacher) and Stacey Vactor (magnet secretary), all at Eastern Middle School, after 30, 39 and 25 years of service to MCPS, respectively. Their celebration will be at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4 at Alfio’s, 4515 Willard Avenue in Bethesda. The cost is $40 for dinner and gift. Send payment to Yoly Bonnet at Eastern, 300 University Blvd. East, Silver Spring, MD, 20901. RSVP to Yoly Bonnet by May 23 at 301-650-6650.
Lisa Rudacil, speech language pathologist, after 30 years of service with MCPS. The celebration is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at Mamma Lucia Restaurant, 18224 Village Center Dr. in Olney. The cost is $40 for dinner and gift. Send payment to Melody Brooks, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, 11800 Monticello Avenue, Silver Spring, MD, 20902. RSVP by May 30 to Brooks at 301-649-8100.
Jerry Seidman, a teacher at Eastern Middle School, after 39 years of service with MCPS. His celebration will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 12 at Looney’s Pub South, 8180 Maple Lawn Blvd. in Fulton, MD. The cost is $25, which includes appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks and gift. Send payment to Adam Seidman at Silver Spring International Middle School, 313 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or to 6471 Tydings Road, Eldersburg, MD, 21784. RSVP by May 23 to Adam Seidman.
Peggy Walker, ESOL teacher at Cloverly Elementary School, after 19 years with MCPS. Her celebration is at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 29, in the courtyard at the school, 800 Briggs Chaney Road in Silver Spring. For more information, contact Kristy Delikat at 301-989-5770.