Three Staff Members Win Counselor of the Year Honors
Three staff members have been honored with 2014–2015 Counselor of the Year Awards. The trio—one each at the elementary, middle and high school levels—were recognized at the May 26 Board of Education business meeting.
The winners are:
Daniela Helton, Little Bennett Elementary School
Helton assists children and families through individual, small group, classroom and family counseling. She has been instrumental in building the school’s Peace Program, which incorporates five rules for being good citizens and aligns with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). She has helped other schools who have implemented PBIS and worked with several families to create an at-home system of PBIS, which creates consistency for students and builds strong relationships between home and school. She earned National Board Certification in school counseling, and serves on Little Bennett’s school improvement team, taking a leadership role in assessing the strengths of its programs and identifying areas for improvement.
Mary Clayton Ver Planck, Thomas W. Pyle Middle School
Ver Planck has been able to help some of the school’s most challenging students be successful. She has an impressive, intuitive sense on how to reach so many students and where they will be most receptive to help. She is an advocate for helping children succeed academically and socially. A thorough and motivated leader, she presents informative and relevant information to parents and is able to provide valuable insights on students to help teachers support and engage them.
Lisa Sorensen, Walter Johnson High School
Sorensen is a top-notch college and post-graduation planner with broad knowledge of the options for students. She is passionate and offers solid guidance to helps students build their self-awareness and self-esteem. A natural leader, she is an outstanding advocate, mentor and cheerleader for students, many of whom stay in touch long after they graduate. She also serves as the sponsor of the Minority Scholars Program, which has gone beyond its goal of addressing the achievement gap for African American and Hispanic students, and bolstered confidence and self-esteem for hundreds of students.
The School Counselor of the Year Awards focus attention on the contributions of professional school counselors within MCPS and the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students in the county achieve school success, plan for a career, and be college ready.
MCPS Supervisor Honored for Leadership, Service
Genevieve Floyd, supervisor of Career and Postsecondary Partnerships, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Award of Excellence and Service from the Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators (MCABSE).
Floyd has served in a variety of leadership roles within the county and as a part of the MCABSE executive board for the last six years. About four years ago, she had the creative vision that led to the MCPS Employee Talent Showcase. Through this event, MCABSE has been able to award more than $50,000 in scholarships and technology to deserving MCPS students and nearly $10,000 in grants to school-based staff.
The award honors her work ethic, leadership ability and commitment to eliminating the achievement gap and ensuring that all students are college- and career-ready.
Head Start Veteran Wins Award from State Association
Beverly Brown, parent involvement specialist with the Pre-K/Head Start Unit, was awarded the Head Start Star Award from the Maryland Head Start Association on May 5. The award is given for exemplary service to Head Start for more than 20 years. Brown has been with the MCPS Head Start program for 25 years and has provided outstanding service to children and families.
People on the Move
The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments at its May 26 business meeting:
- Denise M. DeFiore, director, Teacher Leadership Unit, Department of Instructional Leadership Support
- Courtney D. Temple, supervisor, Human Capital Strategy, Office of Human Resources and Development
- Latrice D. Rogers, assistant to the associate superintendent, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs
- Carol L. Goddard, principal, Watkins Mill High School
- James K. Allrich, principal, Argyle Middle School
- Karen Y. Bryant, principal, Silver Spring International Middle School
- Otis L. Lee, III, principal, Benjamin Banneker Middle School
- Jeffrey L. Cline, principal, Oak View Elementary School
- Robert S. Geiger, principal, New Hampshire Estates Elementary School
- Bernard X. James, Sr., principal, Kemp Mill Elementary School
- James J. Virga, Jr., principal, Seven Locks Elementary School
- Erica W. Williams, principal, Fields Road Elementary School
A retirement celebration will be held for Laurie Billingsley, 8th grade team leader and English teacher, and Ginny Singhaus, arts/P.E. content specialist, both at Shady Grove Middle School, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4 at Stonehouse Grille, 18701 N. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. Billingsley has 34 years of service with MCPS; Singhaus has 21 years. The cost is $42, which includes dinner and gift. Checks should be made payable to the attention of Christine Oxenford at Shady Grove Middle School, 8100 Midcounty Highway, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. RSVP to Oxenford at 301-548-7540.
Thanks to Elizabeth Cooper Martin and others in the OSA Research/Evaluation Units. Their integral, behind-the-scenes work for the MCPS Special Education Summit will help us make next year’s summit even better!
—Heather Wilson, instructional specialist, Special Education and Student Services
Thanks to Candlewood for pitching in to help my long-term substitute. I appreciate all that you do and continue to do to make sure our students are getting a “top notch” education. I am indebted to you!
—Anne Strong, fifth grade teacher, Candlewood Elementary
Jennifer Hoppel arrives at 6:30 a.m.—in the middle of the morning madness—and quietly resolves the substitute puzzle with stealth-like efficiency. Thanks Jennifer, you rock!
—Angela Cook, administrative secretary, Walt Whitman High School
Kimberly A. Williams, principal of Stone Mill Elementary, successfully defended her dissertation regarding principals and special education preparedness on April 28! Congratulations, Dr. Williams!
—Diane Wynant, administrative secretary, Stone Mill Elementary School
Carl Dowdie, bus operator with the Department of Transportation Support Services, died on May 21. He had worked for MCPS for more than 14 years.
Milton E. Roth, teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, died on May 8. He had more than 45 years of service with MCPS.