The Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Maria Navarro, Ed.D., honored several Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees on March 24 for their years of service to the school system and commitment to education during a ceremony held at North Point High School. Honored were employees with careers that span a period of 45, 40, 35, 30, and 25 years.

Deborah Brown (45 years) Credit: Charles County Public Schools

Deborah Brown was honored for 45 years of service. Now the principal at Mary B. Neal Elementary School, Brown began her career with CCPS as a teacher at Arthur Middleton Elementary School. When she was appointed a vice-principal, she moved to Indian Head Elementary School and held the position of vice-principal at Dr. Gustavus Brown and Eva Turner elementary schools before being named Neal’s principal.

Brown always wanted to be a teacher. “My second-grade teacher was my hero,” Brown said of her teacher, Ruth West. “From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a teacher.”

While a student at the University of Maryland, Brown was introduced to a partnership the college formed with the Education Center of Charles County. Then in its first year, the center would supervise university students while they were student teaching in Charles County schools. Though she lived in Clinton — about a 15-, 20-minute drive from Waldorf — Brown still had a pause. “I remember when I got my assignment thinking ‘Why are they sending me to the country,” she said. “But it was the best thing in the world.”

She began student teaching at Middleton and took college classes through the education center held in the Middleton teacher’s lounge. After graduating, Brown took a position at Middleton as a second-grade teacher. Second-grade students are at a magical age. “I think it’s because they’re little enough to still believe in everything, but they are learning so much,” she said. “It’s so exciting to watch the lightbulb go on at that age.”

Brown continued as a classroom teacher with CCPS for 24 years before being persuaded to go into administration by Amy Hollstein, the former CCPS deputy superintendent. Building relationships with colleagues, students, and their parents continues to rank high with Brown. She still runs into former students and their families while out and about. “It’s nice to be in a place where you know everyone, and everyone knows you,” Brown said. “I can still go out into the community and find my students.”

It’s been a while since Brown wondered how she ended up in Charles County. “I thought they were ruining my life,” she said of taking the assignment through the education center. “But it was the best thing that ever happened.”

Carmencita Bell and John Frederick were each recognized for 40 years of service to the school system. Bell started her career as a special education aide before transitioning to Chapter I assistant at Malcolm and T.C. Martin elementary schools. She was a Maryland’s Tomorrow job placement coordinator at La Plata High School and worked as an elementary teacher at Mary H. Matula Elementary School. From there, Bell moved to Benjamin Stoddert Middle School where she was a mathematics teacher and administrative aide. She is now the administrative assistant at Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Frederick was a special education aide at Milton M. Somers Middle School when he first began working for the school system. He worked as an instructional assistant in the Life Skills program before transitioning to Robert D. Stethem Educational Center as a job coach. Frederick is a job coach at Thomas Stone High School.

In addition to those honored for 45 and 40 years of service, the Board and Navarro honored 34 employees with 35, 30, and 25 years of service.

Employees with 45 years of service

  • Deborah Brown, principal, Neal.

Employees with 40 years of service

  • Carmencita Bell, administrative assistant, McDonough.
  • John Frederick, job coach, Thomas Stone.

Employees with 35 years of service

  • Mary Bailey, reading recovery teacher, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School.
  • Linda Bieber, kindergarten teacher, Malcolm Elementary School.
  • Sandra Fair, art teacher, North Point High School.
  • Ronald Fenwick, building service manager, Matthew Henson Middle School.
  • Helen Garvey, kindergarten teacher, Indian Head Elementary School.
  • Evan Sine, physical education teacher, Mattawoman Middle School.
  • Ronnie Swailes, building service manager, General Smallwood Middle School.
  • Earl Swann, building service manager, La Plata High School.
Earl Swann, left, shakes hands with Ian Herd, Student Member of the Board, at a Years of Service event held recently. Swann has worked for Charles County Public Schools for 35 years. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

Employees with 30 years of service

  • Timothy Bodamer, instructional specialist for fine and performing arts, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building.
  • Thomas Clements, social studies teacher, McDonough.
  • David Craig, physical education teacher, Smallwood.
  • Hattie Cummings, fourth-grade teacher, Indian Head.
  • Anita Grimes, special education instructional assistant, Berry Elementary School.
  • Stephanie Hill, third-grade teacher, J.C. Parks Elementary School.
  • Robert Holtz, building service worker, Westlake High School.
  • Emily Sasscer, science teacher, John Hanson Middle School.

Employees with 25 years of service

  • Margo Barbone, elementary science teacher, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School.
  • Lora Bennett, executive director of instructional technology strategy, Starkey.
  • Michelle Bradshaw, special education teacher, McDonough.
  • Jennifer DeAtley, reading resource teacher, Berry.
  • Katrena Gregory, second-grade teacher, Gale-Bailey Elementary School.
  • Diana Gyuras, physical education teacher, Billingsley Elementary School.
  • Richard Hood, instrumental music teacher, Somers.
  • Judith Hudson, mathematics teacher, North Point.
  • Laura Kelly, art teacher, Higdon.
  • Erik Koch, physical education teacher, Henry E. Lackey High School.
  • Kimberly Miller, fifth-grade teacher, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School.
  • Jessica Mongell, reading recovery teacher, Malcolm
  • Robynn Mudd, vice principal, Indian Head.
  • Ricky Rawls, building service assistant manager, Piccowaxen Middle School.
  • Nancy Seifert, vice principal, J.P. Ryon Elementary School

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