News Release, Charles County Public Schools

La Plata, MD- Nine Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers were recently named 2019 Outstanding Teacher Honorees by Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, known as SMECO. The annual awards program honors teachers for outstanding classroom accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Honored by SMECO as Outstanding Mathematics Teachers of the Year are Nicholas Andrews of La Plata High School, Monica Halloran of Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School and Hannah Matthews of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.

Honored as Outstanding Science Teachers of the Year are Rebecca Gibson of La Plata, Megan McKinney-Dyson of Arthur Middleton Elementary School and Amy Vanden Berg of Milton M. Somers Middle School.

Honored as Outstanding Teachers in the areas of STEM are Thomas Fawcett of Henry E. Lackey High School, Dyanna Finamore of Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and Charles McCoy of Stoddert.

The teachers were nominated for the awards program by staff, students and parents. Each was chosen for demonstrating outstanding performance in the areas of creativity, rapport with students, enthusiasm for teaching, professionalism and use of technology in the classroom. They were recognized by SMECO at an April 25 ceremony.

Andrews has been teaching with CCPS for the past seven years at La Plata. He works with students in Grades 9-12 and teaches classes in foundations of algebra, algebra I, honors geometry and Advanced Placement (AP) computer science. He also serves as a coach at La Plata. Since he began his career with CCPS, Andrews has coached the junior varsity boys’ soccer team, served as the math team sponsor and helps to train staff on the student information system, Synergy. He has also served as a presenter for professional development sessions focused on Microsoft Office 365.

Halloran has been teaching with CCPS for the past 13 years, all of which she has worked with students at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy. She is a fifth-grade classroom teacher and coaches the school’s Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) team. Halloran has also taught third grade and was recognized by the Board of Education in 2017 as a CCPS exemplary employee. Additionally, Halloran signed on to coach Destination Imagination teams this year and sponsors the Girls on the Run team at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy.

Matthews has been teaching with CCPS for the past five years. She teaches grade-level mathematics and accelerated math. Matthews is the sixth-grade team leader and serves as the school’s Synergy coordinator. Additionally, she facilitates the Formative Assessment for Maryland Educators program, known as FAME, at Stoddert. The program is a yearlong job-embedded professional learning process for teachers.

Gibson began teaching with CCPS in 2013. She currently teaches physics at different levels, including two sessions of AP Physics. She has also taught courses in both chemistry, and human growth and development. Gibson sponsors the La Plata Science National Honor Society and is an assistant girls’ basketball coach. She also serves as a mentor teacher, helps to write curriculum and serves as a judge at the Charles County History, Industry, Technology and Science (HITS) Expo. Gibson has also presented at several professional development sessions for CCPS teachers.

McKinney-Dyson has been teaching science at Middleton for the past three years. She works with students in Grades 3-5 and previously taught fifth grade for eight years at Middleton and for one year at Eva Turner Elementary School. McKinney-Dyson is a team leader and helped Middleton qualify as a Maryland Green School. She recently presented at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Convention and collaborated with staff to create fifth-grade literacy curriculum. McKinney-Dyson has also coached both junior varsity and varsity boys’ soccer at Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Vanden Berg started her career with CCPS 11 years ago, and has been teaching at Somers since joining the school system. She works with students in both sixth and seventh grades. Her course load includes sixth-grade integrated science and seventh-grade life science classes. Vanden Berg is a co-leader of the sixth-grade team. She also presented last year at the NSTA Convention and participates in systemwide professional development sessions.

Fawcett started his career with CCPS 14 years ago. He has taught at Lackey for all 14 years and teaches courses in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program. His course load includes Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions and Biomedical Innovations. Fawcett has also taught exploring computer science, biology and chemistry courses. He is the varsity golf coach, and has coached freshman and junior varsity basketball, football, baseball and lacrosse. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles County Youth League.

Finamore has been teaching with CCPS for the past 17 years. She began her career as a teacher at J.C. Parks Elementary School. Finamore taught students in first through third grades for seven years at Parks. She is a first-grade teacher at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy, where she has taught for 10 years. Finamore is the lead launch teacher for the PLTW program and serves as team leader. She is also chair of the Beavers on the Run club.

McCoy joined CCPS at Stoddert in 2006. He is a technology education teacher at Stoddert and oversees the Gateway to Technology (GTT) program. McCoy works with students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades in GTT units of green architecture, science and technology, design and modeling, and automation and robotics. He also spent 10 years as a special education teacher at Stoddert and previously taught language arts. McCoy is the Stoddert Vex Robotics coach and has also coached baseball and basketball.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...