The Board of Education of Charles County at its Dec. 14 meeting honored five 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 for recognition who demonstrate their dedication to teaching and learning.
Honored by the Board at its November meeting were Mildred Alexander-Moses of Matthew Henson Middle School; Logan Berchtold of Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School; Joseph Evans of Mattawoman Middle School; Beverly Gaskins of Mary B. Neal Elementary School; and Scheherazad “Sherry” Mistry of North Point High School.
Alexander-Moses is a pupil personnel worker (PPW) at Henson where she oversees the school’s proof of domicile campaign, ensures students have their required immunizations and checks off other necessary tasks. However, it is her commitment to students and families that makes Alexander-Moses deserving of recognition, Henson Principal Christina Caballero said. “[She has an] unwavering dedication to the families of Matthew Henson; ensuring they have the resources to feel safe and successful not only at school, but at home and in our community,” Caballero said. Alexander-Moses participates in spirit weeks and builds rapport with students through games and weekly “check ins.” Beyond Henson’s walls, she builds relationships with community members and organizations and “works with them to provide crucial services and resources to our families to include school supplies, food for weekends, holiday meals, clothes, furniture and eyeglasses, just to name a few,” Caballero said. Alexander-Moses was a CCPS school counselor before becoming a PPW. She collaborates with Henson staff — from school counselors and secretaries to the school psychologist, administration and department heads — to make sure they are doing the most to support students and their families. “She brings knowledge, experience, empathy and kindness to our building every day,” Caballero said. “She never appears flustered or frustrated, and is always kind and compassionate when working with students and families.”
Berchtold is the school counselor at Mitchell. “He has a never-ending willingness to help when and wherever he is needed,” Principal Nicholas Adam said. Berchtold takes part in holiday food drives, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) celebrations and infuses joy for school in Mitchell’s students. He continues to lead and attend professional development opportunities to strengthen his skills. He has always displayed leadership qualities. “But this year, more than ever, Mr. Berchtold has been essential in the daily operations of our school,” Adam said. He leads the school’s PBIS and Move This World programs, both which benefit students academically and emotionally. He hosts Lunch Bunches, assists with arrival and dismissal, and can be spotted at school events. “Mr. Berchtold is an asset to our school community,” Adam said. “He is always a main contributor to the operations of the school, significant events and major decisions.”
Evans started his career with CCPS as an instructional assistant before becoming a Maryland certified teacher. He earned his master’s degree and is thinking about studying for a doctorate. At Mattawoman, Evans, a science teacher, is a team player who can be counted on to go above and beyond to ensure students are getting the most out of their education and middle school experience. He helped develop the school’s first all boy cohort. The group was made up of boys who were not reaching their full academic potential. Evans was the science teacher for the cohort. “Under his leadership many of the boys who transitioned to high school were placed in honors classes,” Principal Sonia Blue said. Evans is organized and prepared. He has served as the PBIS chairman for years helping to create a positive environment at Mattawoman. “He builds a strong rapport with both students and parents,” Blue said. “He is quite visible in the community. As a result, he is willing and able to share the school’s vision throughout the community.” In addition to serving as the PBIS coordinator, Evans is the science department chair, the school’s public relations liaison and a mentor. He coaches the boys’ basketball and volleyball teams and is the school’s golf coach. Though a science teacher, Evans has added teaching sixth-grade math to his duties in absence of a permanent teacher.
As a special education instructional assistant at Neal, Gaskins knows the importance of building strong relationships. Neal Principal Deborah Brown told the story of a past fifth grader who was in crisis. The student would leave school and act out in ways that had staff worried he would hurt himself. Gaskins worked tirelessly to build a relationship with the student. “It took some time, but she did not give up,” Brown said. “Eventually, she became his safe harbor.” Gaskins was often the only person who could calm the student’s anxiety and kept him from hurting himself more than once. “Her hard work and passion for children gave this child a safe space to be,” Brown said. For the past six years, Gaskins has supported the work of Neal’s special education department and can work independently. She does not have down time. “If she finds that she does have an extra few minutes she will go check on how a student is doing or to find a teacher who may need an extra pair of hands,” Brown said. Gaskins is trusted by students — so much so that Brown calls her the “kid whisperer.” Due to the substitute shortage, Gaskins is often enlisted to cover classes. Staff knows that the class is in good hands. “I know that if Mrs. Gaskins is covering a classroom that the students will be engaged, on task and learning,” Brown said. “Mrs. Gaskins makes a difference here at Neal because she absolutely cares about all of our students.”
Mistry is an instructional assistant (IA) at North Point, but this year finds her stepping into a new, if temporary role. The school found itself down a geometry and algebra with trigonometry teacher. Mistry filled the role. “She has assumed all responsibilities and has aimed to support students as they make the transition back to in-person learning,” North Point Principal Daniel Kaple said. As an IA, Mistry has a reputation for excellence. Teachers are happy when she’s in their classroom, and students recognize her genuine warmth, care and investment in their success.