Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) bid farewell to more than 95 dedicated staff members during a retirement ceremony held on June 8 at North Point High School. The event was attended by board members, Superintendent Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D., and senior leaders who came together to recognize the retirees’ unwavering commitment to the school system and the students it serves.

The ceremony began with heartfelt remarks from Michael K. Lukas, the Board chairperson, who expressed his familiarity with many of the names listed in the ceremony program. Lukas, who retired from the U.S. Navy two years ago, empathized with those who might feel uncertain about the future. He acknowledged the strong bond that develops between colleagues and the difficulty of parting ways, saying, “You have earned the time to do what you want to do for yourselves. My advice is ‘Don’t look back.'”

Superintendent Navarro took the opportunity to extend her congratulations to the retirees and offer her own perspective. In response to Lukas’s comment about not looking back, she urged them to consider volunteering occasionally, suggesting, “Every once in a while, just look back to volunteer… if a Tuesday works, if once a week will work.” Navarro emphasized that the Charles County Public Schools community would always welcome them and encouraged the retirees to remain engaged in the school system. She acknowledged the diversity of opinions within the room, highlighting the value of learning from one another and recognizing the wisdom contributed by each individual.

The retirement ceremony honored a total of 97 staff members, who collectively dedicated 2,027 years of service to CCPS, according to records provided by the CCPS Office of Human Resources. The event featured a musical performance by Stan Angelo Fernandez, a rising junior at North Point High School, who played the keyboard. The culinary arts students from the school also provided catering services for the occasion.

The retiring staff members represented various roles and positions across the school system. Among those honored were Lisa Alford, a special education instructional assistant at North Point High School; Mary Bailey, a reading recovery teacher at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School; and Debra Barrows, the student records coordinator at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, among many others. The extensive list of retirees reflected the breadth and depth of their contributions to the Charles County Public Schools.

The retirement ceremony served as a testament to the enduring impact of these individuals on the education and well-being of countless students throughout their careers. It was a moment to express gratitude for their dedication and to celebrate the achievements made possible by their unwavering commitment to excellence.

As these retirees transition into the next phase of their lives, Charles County Public Schools will continue to strive for academic excellence and provide a nurturing environment for all students. The legacy left by these dedicated professionals will serve as an inspiration for current and future generations of educators in Charles County.

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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