On May 9, the Board of Education of Charles County met to honor five exceptional staff members from Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) for their unwavering commitment to the school system and the success of their students. These individuals were chosen by their respective school principals for their outstanding dedication to teaching and learning. Glen Ball of Milton M. Somers Middle School, Valerie Benton of Maurice J. McDonough High School, Pamela Brannon of Gale-Bailey Elementary School, Kristi Byers of Arthur Middleton Elementary School, and Jennifer Walsh of Mary H. Matula Elementary School were the deserving honorees.

Board of Education Recognizes Outstanding Staff Members for Dedication to Charles County Public Schools Credit: Charles County Public Schools

Glen Ball’s journey with CCPS began as a long-term substitute teacher, but he soon discovered his true calling in the field of education. Transitioning from an instructional assistant to a math teacher, Ball now teaches math to students in the emotional adjustment (EA) program at Somers. This therapeutic program caters to special education students, providing them with psychological, educational, and behavioral support in a small group setting. Principal Sandra Taylor praised Ball’s dedication, stating, “Mr. Ball has worked with some of the most challenging students being the math teacher in the EA program.” Beyond his classroom responsibilities, Ball assists the school’s bus coordinator with transportation duties and actively participates in afterschool events as a chaperone. He is also involved in his church, where he teaches Confirmation students, serves as a Eucharistic minister, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. In his leisure time, Ball enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and traveling.

Valerie Benton, a school counselor at Maurice J. McDonough High School, demonstrated exceptional dedication by taking over a colleague’s caseload during their extended leave last year. Despite an already full plate, Benton successfully completed all required tasks for students and staff. Principal Darnell Russell commended her selflessness, stating, “Ms. Benton never complained and still got all of the required information completed for students and staff.” As the counseling department chair, Benton ensures that all students have access to school counselors by creating work schedules that accommodate their needs. She serves as a mentor to colleagues and is highly regarded by parents for her trustworthy nature. Russell described her as a role model, highlighting her ability to adapt and work effectively with anyone.

Pamela Brannon, a second-grade teacher at Gale-Bailey Elementary School, is renowned among colleagues and students for her school spirit. Principal Tangie Scales lauded Brannon’s enthusiasm, mentioning her active participation in every Spirit Day, where she goes above and beyond to rally staff and students. Despite retiring at the end of this school year, Brannon remains committed to enhancing her teaching strategies by eagerly adopting new approaches in the classroom. She unofficially mentors new teachers, offering them valuable insights, advice, and helpful tips. Scales described her as a natural leader, respected and admired by the school community.

At Arthur Middleton Elementary School, Kristi Byers excels as a dedicated kindergarten teacher. Byers goes the extra mile by arriving early and staying late to meet with students’ families. She customizes her lessons to suit the needs of each student, actively building bridges between school and home to enhance their academic and social-emotional skills. Byers also facilitates monthly projects that encourage family engagement in a child’s literacy development. Her commitment to continuous learning is evident as she seeks out opportunities for professional growth and shares her newfound knowledge with her colleagues. For the past three years, she has served as a team leader and actively participates in various school committees. Principal Nicole Hawkins expressed admiration for Byers, saying, “Ms. Byers takes on her position full force. The students absolutely love her.”

Jennifer Walsh , a speech pathologist at Mary H. Matula Elementary School, was also recognized for her exceptional contributions to the school community. Matula Principal Carrie Richardson highlighted Walsh’s ability to make learning enjoyable and educational for students across different grade levels. Richardson, who previously worked with Walsh at another school, praised her versatility and innovative teaching methods. Walsh believes that learning can happen anywhere and not just within the confines of a classroom. She actively engages students during lunchtime, recess, and even on field trips, allowing them to apply their knowledge in real-life situations. Walsh also creates materials that students can take home to continue their learning with their parents. Additionally, she goes out of her way to support her fellow educators, earning her the title of a “teacher’s teacher.”

The recognition of these dedicated staff members reflects the commitment of Charles County Public Schools to providing a high-quality education and fostering a supportive learning environment. The Board of Education and school principals recognize the vital role that educators play in shaping the lives of students and are proud to honor these exemplary individuals for their outstanding contributions.

CCPS is dedicated to ensuring that all students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for success in college, careers, and life. The school system strives to create a nurturing and inclusive environment where every student can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. By recognizing and celebrating the exceptional efforts of staff members like Glen Ball, Valerie Benton, Pamela Brannon, Kristi Byers, and Jennifer Walsh, CCPS reinforces its commitment to excellence in education.

As the academic year progresses, the dedication and passion of these honored staff members will continue to positively impact the lives of students in Charles County. Their commitment to teaching and learning serves as an inspiration to their colleagues and the wider community. Through their hard work, creativity, and unwavering support, these individuals are shaping the future of Charles County Public Schools.

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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