Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) annually honors outstanding support services personnel in the areas of information technology, central office support, instructional assistant, food service, maintenance, secretary, and building services. The awards program was established to recognize the roles support personnel has in maintaining the effective and efficient operations of the school system.
Honorees for 2022 include Nghia Dang, computer analyst II at Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building and F.B. Gwynn Educational Center; Tricia Mehall, technology facilitator at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School; Sarah Martin, food service manager at John Hanson Middle School; Derikia Gray, stockkeeper at CCPS Maintenance Shop; Deepa Patel, secretary to the principal at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School; Raymond Lancaster, building service manager at Thomas Stone High School; and Joey Mattera, field service foreman at CCPS Annex I.
Dang has been in technology with CCPS for nearly 13 years. He first began in 2009 as a computer intern at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building before his role as computer analyst I in 2010 at Starkey and Gwynn. After five years as the point-of-contact for Gwynn and in his secondary role at Starkey, he is, now in his primary role at Starkey as computer analyst II, “handling the majority of the technical issues that arise,” said Jill Warring, systems analyst II at the central office. “He works diligently to find a solution to every problem, no matter how big or small. He provides excellent customer service to anyone who comes to him with a problem and follows up to ensure everything is working as expected. Nghia is always willing to help wherever he is needed,” Warring said.
Mehall, technology facilitator at Higdon, has been involved with CCPS for over 10 years starting as a parent volunteer in robotics, K-kids, Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA), and yearbook. She then began working with CCPS as a substitute teacher in 2013, moved to be a special education instructional assistant, and eventually ended up in her current role as technology facilitator at Higdon where she runs the school’s computer lab.
During the pandemic, Mehall played an integral part in the transition to online learning including providing technology support to staff, students and parents. “Whether it was providing support for Zoom meetings or access, assisting with device distribution or collection, she worked tirelessly to provide the best experience for not only her students but for the staff in my absence,” James Harris, former computer analyst II at Higdon and Piccowaxen Middle School, said.
Martin, food service manager at Hanson, has been with CCPS for nearly 24 years. She started with CCPS as a food service worker at Dr. James Craik Elementary School in 1998 she moved to Hanson in 2004 and later transitioned into her current role as the food service manager at the school in 2007. Being a manager means being a problem solver in Martin’s role. “When challenges arise, she is very quick to find reasonable solutions that allow her team to serve breakfast and lunch each day to our students at John Hanson Middle School,” said Ben Kohlhorst, principal at Hanson, said of Martin. Martin leads her team at Hanson effectively in that she makes sure that “her entire team understands their job duties and responsibilities on any given day,” Kohlhorst said. “They have a team mindset and are open to covering one another when staff shortages exist.”
Gray, a stockkeeper in the CCPS maintenance department, does more than just keep track of inventory. She is personable, resourceful, and a hard worker. Steve Vance, the supervisor of maintenance, said, “Ms. Gray is always willing to take time to assist staff in locating items needed to complete a work order. No matter the age of the item, she is always resourceful in finding the answer to the problem.” She has been with CCPS for nearly 12 years, first starting as a temporary building service worker at Starkey in 2010. Gray was a building service worker in 2011 at Annex 1, acting building service manager at Indian Head Elementary School in 2012, and then moved to her current role as stockkeeper in 2013.
Patel has been a key asset to the Mudd community for over 13 years first beginning in 2009 as an instructional assistant at the school. It was a position that she held before moving into her current role as financial secretary to the principal in 2016. According to Orlena Whatley, principal at Mudd, Patel is highly respected by the staff and families of the Mudd community. “Her goal is to remove barriers so that everyone can do their work to the best of their ability.
This means if students need supplies, she ensures they have them. If staff need resources, she can be seen delivering those resources to their rooms,” Whatley said, “Her dedication to the students of Mudd goes unmatched.”
Lancaster is the building service manager at Stone serving the CCPS community for over 23 years. He first began his work as a building service worker floater in March 1999 and became a building service manager in 2006 at Piccowaxen Middle School. Lancaster is a man of integrity taking initiative in managing his building with very little oversight or direction. Amanda Kline, an executive assistant to assistant superintendent supporting services, said, “His attention to detail and quality of work is evidence that he takes pride in completing his job duties. He consistently displays his resourcefulness and commitment to maintaining his building to the highest standard.”
Mattera is the field service foreman at CCPS Annex 1 and has been with CCPS for over 11 years. He started as a substitute teacher at the start of 2011 before transitioning to a building service temporary position later that year at Starkey. He has been the field service foreman in operations for CCPS for nearly three years. Mattera goes above his normal job duties and excels to be of best assistance to the CCPS community. Carrie Richardson, principal at Mary H. Matula Elementary School, said that Mattera fixed an issue at the school that was a safety concern. “Joey’s initiative and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ resulted in our issue being resolved,” Richardson said.
All 2022 support staff award recipients were recognized by the Board of Education at its June 14 meeting.