On February 14, the Board of Education of Charles County recognized five staff members from Charles County Public Schools for their dedication to teaching and learning. The honored staff members were chosen by their respective school principals for their commitment to the school system and student success.

From left are Andrea Smoot, Inthanong “Pandy” Watrous, Leigh Esmond, Edward Davis and Ava Morton. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

The first staff member recognized was Edward Davis from General Smallwood Middle School. Davis has been teaching math for 26 years, with the last 17 years at Smallwood. He is known for using technology and cooperative learning strategies in his classroom and for volunteering to tutor students before and after school and during lunch.

“Mr. Davis can always be counted upon as a role model at Smallwood,” Tillotson said. “He is very loyal to the school and supportive of the administration.” Davis volunteers to assist students with tutoring before and after school and during lunch.

Leigh Esmond, a first-grade teacher at William A. Diggs Elementary School, was recognized for her student-centered classroom that serves as a model to colleagues and new teachers. Esmond is a forward thinker who is self-motivated and team-oriented and an integral part of the school’s Professional Learning Team.  “It is incredible to see how Ms. Esmond uses the relationships she builds with staff to help further our profession,” Harrington said. “She goes above and beyond with parents building trust to ensure her students feel welcomed and supported.”

Ava Morton, the college and career advisor at Thomas Stone High School, was recognized for her work with students poised for life after graduation. She plans the school’s College Application Campaign, ensuring every senior has the experience of applying to at least one college before leaving high school. She also plans special events such as Black History Month programs and the awards ceremony for underclassmen.

 “Ms. Morton works to see that every senior has a plan for the next steps for life after high school,” Shanif Pearl, principal of Thomas Stone, said. “She strives to help students see their potential, when sometimes the students do not see the potential in themselves.”

Andrea Smoot, an instructional assistant at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center for the past 17 years, was recognized for her eagerness to learn new instructional programs and interventions to ensure student success. She covers for teachers who must be out of the classroom and plans activities for students. Her artistic ability is used to decorate bulletin boards and hallways, and she implements art lessons for students.

Finally, Inthanong “Pandy” Watrous, an instructional assistant at J.P. Ryon Elementary School, was recognized for her work with students in the Achieve program. Watrous takes the time to understand each student and engages them in inclusive activities where she builds conversations and friendships. She is known for being the first person to step in to help others and is available to students outside of those she works with daily.

“Whether it’s handling the behavioral needs of a student or helping with instruction, Ms. Smoot completes all tasks with precision,” Burns said. “She is a joy to have at the Gwynn Educational Center. She believes every person, whether a child or adult, deserves another chance.”

All of these staff members were recognized for their commitment to teaching and learning, positive attitudes, and willingness to go above and beyond to support their students and colleagues.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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