Charles County Public Schools annually honors outstanding support services personnel in the areas of instructional assistant, secretary, information technology, maintenance, food service, central office support staff and building services. The awards program was established to recognize the roles support personnel have in supporting the effective and efficient operations of the school system.
Honorees for 2019 include Marie Woodland, assistant building service manager, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building; Tammy Dudley, instructional assistant, J.C. Parks Elementary School; Ronald Brawner Jr., general maintenance worker, Annex I; and Ronald Cave, computer analyst II, Matthew Henson Middle School, and J.C. Parks and Gale-Bailey elementary schools. A secretary and food service worker were not nominated this year.
Outstanding Building Service Worker
Woodland started with CCPS in 2013 as a building service worker floater. Before that, she spent 27 years with Clarion Inn as an executive housekeeper. By the start of 2014, Woodland was a fulltime building service worker at Starkey and stepped in as acting building service manager from June to September of that year when the assigned manager had to take a temporary leave of absence.
She has been the building service assistant manager at Starkey since July 2014. “Marie consistently demonstrates a ‘team player’ mentality every day here at Starkey. Marie shows a can-do attitude ready to tackle whatever is on the schedule for the week,” wrote Mary Aron, switchboard operator for the Starkey building. Aron and Woodland coordinate daily about upcoming meetings and events. “Marie is organized, professional and genuinely cares about each event, and works with staff members to provide a job well done,” Aron said.
It’s Woodland attention to detail that stands out. “Whenever a meeting is coming up, Ms. Woodland always comes the day before to personally check on the room arrangement, even if it was already submitted,” wrote Meighan Hungerford, director of elementary education. “At times, a meeting will include up to 90 participants, which is very difficult to accommodate in the Starkey Staff Development Room. However, Ms. Woodland finds a way to safely arrange furnishings and provide seating to accommodate any need.”
Woodland seeks new knowledge and skills including completing the GS 42 Certification, a training through the Building Wellness Institute. It is a certification program of Green Seal, a nonprofit organization that develops lifecycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies. She uses technology to submit and track work orders, review calendars and email correspondence to determine what tasks she and her team will need to complete. She has stepped in to help the operations office with data entry on occasion. Fostering relationships with colleagues and the community, Woodland leaves each person feeling like their event is the most important.
“She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to all staff members,” wrote Stephanie Lawson, secretary for the deputy superintendent’s office. “She loves her job, works hard and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her.”
Woodland is known as an outstanding leader who wouldn’t ask someone to do anything that she wouldn’t do herself. And she has high standards that she expects her staff to meet. “She is a leader who works with her staff to see that they are trained properly and that their work product is to her standards,” April Murphy, supervisor of operations, wrote. “Yes, those standards are high. People who work for Ms. Woodland walk away from Starkey better in every aspect of their work than when they started.”
Outstanding Instructional Assistant
Starting as a substitute teacher at Parks in 2009, Dudley made the jump to instructional assistant in August 2010. Now in her ninth year as a kindergarten IA, Dudley still loves coming to work every day, ready to learn new techniques and grow closer to students and the school community. “With every passing year, I learn so much from my professional development, as well as my colleagues and even the students,” Dudley wrote. “I am always excited to try a new way of teaching and seek out ways to improve my techniques in a skillful manner.”
She has taken training on Fundations, DreamBox, SmartBoards, letter tracing and Handwriting Without Tears. She also supplements what she’s learned by following up with YouTube and internet resources suggested at the trainings. “She comes to staff meetings just to learn more even though assistants are not required to attend,” Parks Principal Greg Miller wrote.
Her enthusiasm and work ethic impresses many at Parks. “Our personalities clicked from day one, and I truly believe we share the same brain,” wrote Sunshine Barton, the kindergarten teacher who works daily with Dudley. “I have the utmost trust in Mrs. Dudley’s teaching ability and methods. I give her equal credit for our students’ growth and accomplishments and cannot imagine teaching without her.”
Dudley keeps up-to-date on technology and uses it to enhance the lessons taught in class from guiding students on SmartBoards or while they are using tablets to expand their math and literacy skills. “She is an invaluable asset to our large kindergarten team [of] 10 people, and is the oil that keeps us running smoothly,” wrote kindergarten teacher Kimberly L. Cline.
A member of several committees at the school, Dudley volunteers during the summer to create connections with kindergarten families, she supports and participates in afterschool and evening activities at Parks and works with community organizations to collect donations of school supplies.
She also has an interest in STEM subjects, as evidenced by her enthusiasm for various topics taught by Deanna Wheeler, the science teacher at Parks. Dudley has introduced bird-watching to kindergartners, and leads the students through a four-week unit on worms. “Fish? Madagascar hissing cockroaches? Water testing? These are just some of the science examples that make Ms. Dudley exceptional. She is like this in all subject areas,” Wheeler wrote. Dudley’s excitement translates to her students. “Her students are excited to learn. They achieve at a higher level and they are responsible individuals,” Wheeler said in a nomination letter.
Parents appreciate Dudley’s nurturing spirit. The Davis family moved to Maryland in 2011. As a military family that moves frequently, Naomi Davis said she has seen many types of teachers. Dudley was welcoming and kind, and treated Davis’ sons, Amadeus and Christian, with love and respect. The boys are now 12 and 9; and living in Japan with their parents. Both children are doing expectational in school. “I’m thankful for the strong foundation Ms. Dudley helped provide for both my boys,” Davis wrote. “I’m equally thankful that she’s still shaping young, brilliant minds.”
Outstanding Maintenance Employee
Brawner’s official job title is general maintenance worker with a primary focus on preventative maintenance with the heating and cooling systems in CCPS buildings. He has also been involved in many mechanical upgrades this year. He helped replace the domestic water booster pump system at Maurice J. McDonough High School and the well controller at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School. He worked on the sewer lift station overhaul at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, the tempering valve replacement at Matthew Henson Middle School and the pressure reducing station replacement at T.C. Martin Elementary School. These were just a sampling of the projects Brawner has worked on this year.
“Mr. Brawner has, over the past year, been willing to not only perform his job duties at a constant high level but also has been willing to take on extra projects,” Alan Shirley, supervisor of PM maintenance, wrote.
Brawner is quick to take on any role or task, and work with other trades and departments to make sure a job is completed efficiently and effectively. His work ethic and attention to detail impressed April Murphy, supervisor of operations, when they worked on the renovation of Arthur Middleton Elementary School. “We had an extremely tight deadline and I know that I could count on him to see that the job was done on time and done right,” Murphy wrote in a nomination letter. “Mr. Brawner has a remarkable ability to assess a project, evaluate alternatives and make sound recommendations to resolve issues.”
It’s not out of the ordinary for Brawner to complete his work only to turn around and pitch in to help others. “Mr. Brawner always leads by example,” wrote Wesley Guntow, a CCPS project manager. “[By] getting work done on time, working safe and has outstanding attendance as well.”
Brawner is quick to learn and do whatever it takes to get a job done, wrote Brian Ball, energy manager for CCPS. “Mr. Brawner is always willing to take on extra projects,” Ball said. “He has gone for training to receive several licenses and certifications to make himself a more valuable employee.”
A self-motivated worker, Brawner can be counted on to show up, go above and beyond and show initiative. “Ron is always ready to respond to all assigned tasks, but also to take on emergencies that come up unexpectedly,” wrote Ernest Downs, the electrical and mechanical foreman for CCPS.
Much of the work Brawner does is behind-the-scenes, but no less essential to the operation of the school system.
“Ron’s hard work is not easily seen because he performs so many tasks in uncommon areas such as mechanical rooms, penthouses and in the ceilings of schools,” wrote Henry Lancaster, Brawner’s co-worker. “The work Ron performs is vital to Charles County Public Schools, ensuring that the school’s environment is suitable for teaching and learning.”
Outstanding Information Technology Employee
Starting out as a computer intern in 2013, Cave is now a computer analyst II, working at Matthew Henson, J.C. Parks and Gale-Bailey. Striving to learn skills and technologies, Cave was able to come up with a way for Gale-Bailey to broadcast live broadcasts. “He was integral in both helping pick out broadcasting hardware as well as training the school staff to allow the school to broadcast morning announcements over video when the aging existing systems were failing,” wrote Justin Maus, CCPS lead network engineer. “Ronnie plays a crucial role in supporting CCPS staff and CCPS engineers with day-to-day technology needs and issues.”
His skills repairing hardware are excellent and he often can fix equipment that others have deemed irreparable. Cave researches and troubleshoots technology issues and staff knows he will resolve any technology issue that arises. “He helps ensure that the technology of the building is up, running and available to both staff and students,” Christina Caballero, Henson’s principal, wrote in a nomination letter. “Ronnie is quick in communications with the staff, whether it be through the Help Desk or a phone call, in a time of need.”
Cave brings this level of attention to all the schools he serves. “One of the first things that I noticed about Mr. Cave was his strong service commitment to all the staff at Gale-Bailey to make sure they have everything they need related to technology within their classrooms and work areas,” wrote Timothy Rosin, the vice principal of Gale-Bailey.
“Whenever there is an issue, he is not just willing to execute the solution, but offers solutions that would improve it,” Verniece Rorie, Gale-Bailey principal, wrote. “Dependable and accountable are words that come to mind when describing Mr. Cave’s work ethic.”
While he is familiar with trends in his field, he strives to learn about new technologies and how to best serve staff and students.
“Ronnie provides an example for many of the technicians in our department with his open, thoughtful, kind methods of supporting technology in the school system as well as his ingenuity at work,” wrote Lora Bennett, executive director of IT strategy for CCPS.
“Ronnie is an excellent employee who has an outstanding work ethic, a pleasant demeanor and has earned the respect of everyone in both the technology department, and at the schools he has been placed at,” wrote Tak Cheng, lead network engineer. “He is a great asset to the technology department, as well as to Charles County Public Schools as a whole.”