The Montgomery County Board of Education honored 15 individuals and organizations during its annual Distinguished Service Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 8. The ceremony took place in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.
The Board established the awards to recognize and show appreciation for exemplary contributions to public education and to Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) by members of the community, business, MCPS staff and school volunteers.
“Educating our children is a collaborative effort that involves all parts of our community,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “The Distinguished Service Awards honor those who have given selflessly of their time, their resources, and their talents to make sure our students receive a high-quality education.”
The Distinguished Service Award winners are:
Richard Edelman has served Montgomery County’s educational community as a PTA leader for more than two decades. He established relationships with key leaders of the governing bodies and the school system in order to create the appropriate forums for discussion and to ensure parents’ messages were heard.
Larry Edmonds has served as PTSA president at Banneker Middle School, Paint Branch cluster coordinator, and is currently vice president of Legislation for MCCPTA. He has also been a member of the Parents Advisory Council and one of the creative forces involved in the 7 Keys to College Readiness initiative.
Antonio Hernandez-Cardoso has helped motivate Latino parents to be more actively engaged in their children’s academic interests. He has parlayed his experiences into helping immigrant parents adjust to living in the U.S. and supporting their children in the classroom. Currently, he is serving as member of the executive Board of the PTA and the Leadership Team at Brookhaven Elementary School.
Katya Partan has volunteered at multiple schools in the Montgomery Blair cluster. She has volunteered weekly in the Piney Branch Elementary School science lab for 10 years. She has dedicated hours to helping students succeed in the Knowledge Masters Open, a worldwide academic competition.
Savers, Inc. distributes gift cards to disadvantaged adults, children and families, which are then redeemed by participants at local Unique Thrift and Value Village stores. Each school and organization identifies families and distributes the gift cards, which can be used to purchase a variety of school supplies, backpacks, clothes and household goods at a discounted price.
Leo Schwartz, a well-respected home builder and community leader who serves on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Students Construction Trades Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit foundation that promotes career education related to the construction industry. He has also been involved with the advisory committee focused on the modernization of Thomas Edison High School of Technology.
Michael Calvert is a science teacher who has taught at Herbert Hoover Middle School for 10 years. He is in charge of the after-school Ecology Club and the Stream Clean Team. He is excellent at explaining the details of science to students and finds fun ways to make instructional lessons exciting.
Dr. James A. Distler, currently a K–12 counselor specialist, was instrumental in developing courses in Engineering, Robotics and Technology Education. He helped develop the Technology Education curriculum and programs of study that provide middle school students with the application of science and mathematics principles in practical problem-solving situations.
Ronald Frezzo has served as a choral music teacher at Richard Montgomery High School for more than 28 years. He implemented a lunch choir for students who desire to sing, but are unable to enroll in a chorus ensemble. He has led 35 workshops in the U.S., Canada and Europe and has provided curriculum training to more than 600 teachers since 1988.
School Service Volunteer
Kevin Ambrose has volunteered for 12 years in first grade classes at Somerset Elementary School. He began in the fall of 2001 as a writer's workshop volunteer. He now comes to the school every day, and his work helping students with writing and reading has been folded into the teaching program.
Victoria Couch served as president of the Wheaton Woods Elementary School PTA. She had a leadership role in three book fairs as well as spring and fall fundraisers. She helped sponsor ice cream socials as a reward for students' positive behavior in the cafeteria, the Linkages to Learning Holiday Bazaar, and Family Dine-out nights at local restaurants.
Kelly and Thomas Giblin have donated thousands of hours to schools in the Einstein cluster. They have led PTAs and been a guiding force in the Einstein Booster Club. They have stocked and worked the concessions at sporting events to raise funds for the teams; organized, cooked and cleaned up at every sports banquet; staffed the spirit wear booth; and participated in the annual fall and spring spruce-up-the-school-grounds events.
Irene Coleman and Siham Eldadah designed and launched an art program for middle school students. My Proud Culture encouraged students to learn about and depict some aspect of their culture of which they were especially proud through art. The program has become a part of the MCPS curriculum, and the school system now offers a program through which middle school students can become published authors.