Charles County school board honors staff for contributions

The Board of Education at its Nov. 12 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools staff members for their contributions to students and the school system. Honored, from left, were Renard Barnes, an instructional assistant at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center; Bianca Watson, a fifth grade teacher at J.P. Ryon Elementary School; Amanda Nadeau, a second grade teacher at William A. Diggs Elementary School; Christina Trest, a learning resource teacher at General Smallwood Middle School; and Sabryna Valen, a Secondary Academy for International Languages program teacher at Thomas Stone High School.

The Board of Education at its Nov. 12 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools staff members for their contributions to students and the school system. Honored were Renard Barnes, Amanda Nadeau, Christina Trest, Sabryna Valen and Bianca Watson.

Barnes is an instructional assistant in the Emotionally Adjusted program at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center. He works hard to establish and support relationships with both students and staff. No matter the type of accomplishment a student achieves, he celebrates their success with positive encouragement. He seeks ways to celebrate the smallest successes of his students. Barnes has worked at the Gwynn Center since 2012 and is the first staff member to offer assistance to anyone in need.

Prior to joining Charles County Public Schools, Barnes served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a master sergeant. He uses experiences from his military career to support students and staff at the Gwynn Center. Barnes is the bus coordinator and ensures all students safely arrive at and depart from school daily. Gwynn Principal Daphne Burns said Barnes is a great asset to staff and reminds everyone to be happy, even on challenging days.

Nadeau is a second-grade teacher at William A. Diggs Elementary School. She demonstrates passion and dedication to her students and is sought out by colleagues in need of instructional guidance. Nadeau has been teaching at Diggs for 14 years. For the past two school years, she has partnered with a grade level special education teacher to co-teach in support of the needs of students with special needs. Nadeau is the second-grade team leader and chairperson for the Formative Assessment for Maryland Educators committee. She regularly presents at in-service meetings and is a go-to resource for the DreamBox online math program. Nadeau uses different instructional tools and methods in class to engage students and enhance their learning. Diggs Principal Debbie Calvert refers to Nadeau as a veteran teacher who shares her expertise with others.

Trest is the learning resource teacher at General Smallwood Middle School and oversees both the gifted and testing programs. She is known among her colleagues as a valuable asset to Smallwood because she goes out of her way to help someone in need. She assists and advocates for all teachers, helps to mentor new teachers and is a member of the school leadership team. Trest ensures the testing program runs smoothly and meets with gifted language arts, science and social studies staff to help lesson plan. She is pursuing an administration certificate and often presents at both county and state level professional development activities and conferences. Trest is a member of the school leadership team and shares ideas and projects to support student success. Smallwood Principal Brenda Tillotson said Trest is an example of someone who goes above their job duties to serve as an asset to students and teachers.

Valen is a teacher in the Secondary Academy of International Languages program at Thomas Stone High School. She works with students of all abilities to learn English in areas such as reading, writing and speaking.

In the classroom, she exudes enthusiasm and has a good rapport with each of her students. Valen works hard to establish relationships with students, as well as their families, to ensure they are supported both at school and at home. She also ensures all of her students are a part of the school community. Valen demonstrates a genuine care for the well-being of her students, who in turn enjoy challenges in her classroom and strive to meet her expectations. Stone Principal Shanif Pearl said Valen is a skilled educator who is a highly valued member of school staff.

Watson is a fifth-grade teacher at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. Watson has taught fifth grade at Ryon since 2016 and previously served as a substitute at the school. Watson is a Charles County Public Schools graduate and was part of a mentoring program in high school. She had originally planned to study engineering in college but changed her major after developing a love for education as a mentor to children. Watson manages a rigorous learning environment that supports the cognitive, emotional and social development of all students. Her interactions with students are warm, caring and respectful. She also supports several school initiatives such as the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support program, the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement program and the Ryon Runners group. Ryon Principal Melinda Johnson said Watson is always ready and available to support students.

Each month, the board honors students and staff members selected by their principal for recognition.