Coordinated Student Services Team (CSST) 

Vision: Empower students to foster independent learning strategies and become career and college ready in a non-traditional setting.

Mission: The mission of the Blair G. Ewing Center is to serve students with a variety of learning and social emotional needs in a non-traditional, safe and supportive environment.  The staff of the BGEC is committed to delivering personalized, rigorous and engaging instruction, nurturing positive connections and using flexible teaching methods to promote critical thinking and college and career readiness.


Mental Health Fair ; Mental Health Flyer

CSST Job Description

Staff Biography

Edward Lowther, Pupil Personnel Worker 

Dr. Edward Lowther has worked in education for over 20+ years.  He has served a classroom special education teacher, high school Special Education Administrator, High School Assistant Principal, Central Office Administrator.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of Special Education at George Mason University and Adjunct Professor of Alternative Education at New England College.  Dr. Lowther also services on the Board of Directors for the National Alternative Education Association (NAEA) and a member of the Maryland Association of Pupil Personnel Services.  He has presented workshops, trainings and seminars in the areas of Special Education, Special Education Discipline, Transition Services, and Alternative Education.  He received his education at West Virginia University, George Mason University, The George Washington University and Nova Southeastern University.

Latisha Cotman, High School Counselor

Education: Bachelor of Science, Psychology, Virginia State University.

Master of Education, Guidance and Counseling, Bowie State University

Master of Education, Educational Administration, Grand Canyon University

I grew up in Charles City, Virginia and is the middle child of 3. Shortly after completing my Bachelor degree, I moved to Baltimore, MD.  I worked as Support Counselor for 3 years at Residential Center for girls.  I worked in the field as Alcohol and Drugs Intake Counselor for 2 years while completing my Masters Degree.  After completing my Master’s Degree, I accepted a position as the High School Counselor at Blair G. Ewing Center, formerly Alternative Program which I have been at for the last 10 years because it my passions.

My passions for working with at-risk students started while I was in school because I came to appreciate smaller class sizes from my own school environment.  I also grew a desire to work with at-risk students because my sister was considered at risk when I was growing up. My area of expertise includes drug/alcohol counseling, and working with autistic students and families for the last 7 years.

Rachel Povell, School Psychologist

As a School Psychologist for the Blair G Ewing Center and Model Learning Center at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, I am passionate about the opportunity to work with a diverse population of students, families, and staff. It is my belief that in order for students to succeed academically they must feel supported socially and emotionally both at school and at home.  Through collaboration with school professionals, families, and students to address environmental stressors, learning problems and behavioral issues, I’ll help create a safe and supportive learning environment.  I will also be managing our Coordinated Student Services Team, ensuring that all students’ social/emotional needs are addressed.  I have practiced as a School Psychologist for twelve years.  I am extremely passionate about education and am dedicated to working with students and families to help kids reach their greatest potential.  My degree is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I am a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.

Treasure Mathis, School Counselor

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from University of Central Florida, Masters of Science degree in School Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.

Married, with 3 kids

My focus is to guide and support students as they embrace the important stage of their life, it's so important to have someone in your corner. I strive to empower students with the confidence to know themselves and to understand the kind of people they are becoming. I believe that the counseling process begins and ends with the student and that my goal is to help students find learning strategies that best fit their unique talents.

Quote by Malcolm X that guides my daily interactions:
Education is the passport to our future for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Karenina van Lennep, Social Worker

Ms. van Lennep has worked with children and families throughout her career. She was an art teacher for four years, and later pursued her Master’s in Art Therapy. She started out as an art therapist and - after her second Master’s in Social Work - as a social worker in an outpatient mental health clinic in Silver Spring, Maryland. In that work she saw the value of strengthening families, and the importance of community supports that became the focus of her subsequent work as case manager in MCPS Prekindergarten/Head Start. She came to the Blair G Ewing Center in 2009, and has felt honored to work with students and families in accessing supports they have needed to reach their goals, and to develop improved resilience. In her own life, she practices yoga to that end and has done so since she was a teenager.

Larry Hurd, Jr.  – Behavior Support Teacher

My name is Larry Hurd, Jr.  I am a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park with a degree in Elementary Education K-8 and a certification in History 7-12.  I am a veteran of 20 years of teaching in MCPS.  I have been in alternative programs for 14 years.  During my time in MCPS, along with the alternative programs, I have taught US History, NSL Government, Psychology, AP Psychology, Sociology, Matter and Energy, English 9, Fifth Grade, and PE.  I have also served a Head Football Coach, Head Boys and Girls Basketball Coach, Head Baseball Coach, and Head Softball Coach at Clarksburg, Poolesville and Northwest High School's respectively. Currently, I am an assistant coach for football at Blake High School.  I have been fortunate to have garnered great success in my coaching over the years.  I have been named Coach of the Year 8 times total in either football or basketball.  I was named Washington Redskins Coach of the Week during the 2011 season. In 2017, I was selected to be the Head Coach of the Washington DC team in the Maryland Crab Bowl.  I am also a member of the Quince Orchard High School Football Hall of Fame and the Poolesville High School Athletic Hall of Fame. I am looking forward to working with the students and staff of Blair G. Ewing this year.  Let's make it a great one. 

Al Mangiacapra, School Psychologist

I grew up in Long Island, New York and attended Penn State University to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While I was originally attracted to the study of psychopathology in adults, I desired to have a more influential role and immediate impact in the lives of young people. This led me to complete my Master’s degree in school psychology at Touro College. Soon thereafter my wife and I moved to Maryland and I began working for MCPS at the Blair G. Ewing Center. I am determined to help students with their social-emotional needs to better prepare them for a successful future.

Kimberly Emswiler, Behavior Support Teacher

I grew up on a farm in Damascus, Maryland.  I am married and have two children and two grandchildren.  I have an Associate of Applied Science degree in criminal justice from Montgomery college, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Technology from Bowie State University, and a Master in Arts and Teaching from Trinity College in Washington, D. C.   I am in my 21st year with Montgomery County Public Schools.  For the past 4 years I have been a Behavior Support Teacher at the Blair G. Ewing Center.  I am passionate about my work.  I come to work every day with the belief that all students have the capacity to learn and be able to change the world someday.  By helping them understand how their behavior affects their education they are able to remain in class and be successful.  I am truly an advocate for students and I believe our students deserve a second chance.  A proud moment of mine was having a case study that I completed in college added to a book that my professor wrote, Effective Classroom Management:  Six Keys to Success.