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For the last decade and a half Trish Post has spent many of her waking hours volunteering at her children’s schools and helping organize parent involvement at other schools as part of the leadership on the St. Mary’s County Council of PTAs.

“If you want to know something about an organization, you have to get involved,” Post said.

She praised Great Mills High School’s teachers and staff, where her three children currently attend school.

“It’s a caring group of people with a lot of common sense,” she said.

Peter Franchot, comptroller of Maryland, traveled Monday to Great Mills High School to present his office’s Golden Apple Award to Post, where he praised her efforts and spoke to a group of students about the importance of perseverance and creativity.

The Golden Apple award recognizes the volunteers who work in the Maryland public schools who have demonstrated superior work and have ultimately impacted the future success of students, the comptroller said.

Post, who lives in Lexington Park with her husband and three children, works as a self-employed government contractor as a security clearance investigator at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. In addition to her work with PTAs, she also was instrumental in establishing a recreation volleyball league in St. Mary’s.

“We just make it work,” her husband Tom Post said of how the family finds time for its many ventures.

The two switch off parenting duties whenever there are evening meetings, something that has gotten easier as their children got older, he said.

The couple’s three children Brad, 16, Doug, 15 and Corinne, 14 were all in attendance to help honor their mother Monday morning.

Franchot (D) said volunteers are unsung heroes in schools and are especially needed now as tough economic times continue. He said that volunteers like Post help “unlock the entrepreneur genius in schools.”

He told a group of Great Mills students who attended the event that they should think outside of the box and strive to create.

Franchot told them about a student from another Maryland high school who recently won the Intel international science fair after coming up with an idea on how to better test for pancreatic cancer. Jack Andraka of Crownsville, won a $75,000 scholarship as well as award money and could change the way pancreatic and other cancers are detected, Franchot said.

Franchot announced Tuesday, the day after presenting Post with the award, that he would not be running for governor in 2014, but would instead run for re-election as Maryland’s comptroller.

Post ran for the at-large school board seat earlier this year but ran third in the primary behind Marilyn Crosby and James Tomasic; Crosby won re-election in November.

Post has served as president of the St. Mary’s County Council of PTAs for three years and also served as a council representative to the Maryland PTA.

In St. Mary’s, she has co-chaired two St. Mary’s redistricting committees and served on a host of other committees including school calendar committee, school policy and regulation committee, safety and security advisory committee. She also chaired the PTA’s Reflections Art Gala.

Superintendent Michael Martirano said Post “represents the quintessential parent in terms of involvement.”

He said she has dedicated much of her time over the last decade to helping both the schools where her children attend as well as the county school system as a whole.

“If all parents were like you, our jobs would be easier every day,” Martirano said.

jyeatman@somdnews.com