The Board of Education at its Nov. 10 meeting honored four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members for their commitment to the school system and student success. Each month, the Board honors staff members chosen by their school principals who demonstrate their dedication to teaching and learning.

Honored were Melissa Bridegum of Mary B. Neal Elementary School, Holly Dolan of North Point High School, Margaret Grove of Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School, and Amanda Jones of Mattawoman Middle School.

Graphic courtesy of the Charles County Board of Education Credit: Charles County Public Schools / Charles County Public Schools

Bridegum is a second-grade teacher at Neal where she works particularly well with students who have special needs. She is one of the most thorough, caring and tireless teachers that Neal Principal Deborah Brown knows. “She goes to extraordinary measures to meet the needs of her students,” Brown wrote in nomination materials. “Her patience is stellar and she is a master at building relationships with her students. In many cases, she becomes their safe place.”

Bridegum holds a master’s degree and is known to research strategies and ideas to improve instruction. She also faces challenges head on. “Mrs. Bridegum is a communicator,” Brown wrote. “She is not a person who tries to hash out things in the teachers’ lounge. She knows that those kind of conversations are not productive in problem solving. She also strives to bring a solution whenever she sees a problem.”

She served as a team leader for three years and met with her team at least once a week. Bridegum is also a member of Neal’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Dolan, a high school resource teacher, came to North Point in August 2019. Since then, “[She] has infused a renewed commitment to professional development among our entire staff,” North Point Principal Daniel Kaple wrote in a nomination letter. “Mrs. Dolan gets into classrooms daily, observing instruction, modeling instructional strategies and providing instructional support and guidance to staff and students,” he said.

Dolan touts the work of staff members with a weekly Inspiring Instruction newsletter that highlights unique instruction happening in North Point classrooms with descriptions of lessons, photographs and links to resources where others can go to learn more. She meets with several groups of teachers — new teachers to veterans — to build instructional toolkits filled with data analysis, formative assessments and instructional strategies. “Mrs. Dolan is constantly stretching teachers beyond their comfort level and they are responding,” Kaple wrote.

Dolan is equally as respected by students who are supported by her credit and grade recovery plans and tutoring. “Mrs. Dolan is tireless in her endeavor to improve teaching and learning,” Kaple said. “Instruction is her passion and it is infectious at North Point High School.”

“A great leader displays great character and has pride for the people or organization they lead,” wrote Mitchell Principal Nick Adam in Grove’s nomination. “In Mrs. Grove’s classroom, she teaches her students how character counts and the importance of leading by example.”

Grove is trustworthy, honest, kind, generous and fair with both staff and students knowing she’s a reliable resource to find solutions to problems. She went from teaching some of the youngest learners in kindergarten to leading a fifth-grade classroom. “Her skills enabled her to make such a drastic leap up and helping our oldest students,” Adam said.  

Outside of the classroom, Grove stays connected with the school as part of the School Improvement Team, the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, staff and student talent shows and kickball games, reading and math nights, Dr. Seuss nights, and many school fundraisers. She also leads the school’s Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) team. “Mrs. Grove has also been a consistent face at many student events outside of the school day, establishing positive relationships with families within the community,” Adam wrote.

Seventh graders at Mattawoman Middle School look forward to eighth grade for a number of reasons — one is thanks to the care Jones puts into organizing the school’s annual Black History Living Museum. For the past four years, Jones, a language arts teacher, has put together the event that blends history and performance. During the museum, eighth graders highlight achievements of Black Americans using research they gather from varied sources. “The museum has become a highly anticipated event for staff as well as students, especially seventh-grade students who can’t wait to participate,” Sonia Blue, principal of Mattawoman, wrote in a nomination letter.

Jones is a mentor teacher who helps new teachers find their footing. “She works tirelessly with our novice teachers, helping to plan lessons and providing great feedback,” Blue wrote. Jones, who has a master’s degree, brings that support to students, as well. She is the Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) coordinator and teacher, and sponsors the Student Government Association (SGA) and Educators Rising. She keeps her classroom engaging and her work ethic is one that “all principals dream of,” Blue said. “She serves as a great professional example to staff, students and parents.”

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