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Board of EducationDistinguished Service AwardsWinners → 1998

Distinguished Service Award Winners: 1998


Douglas Schiffman

Has been involved in volunteering with Montgomery County Public Schools for over seven years. During this time, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and cluster schools, the Division of Career and Technology Education, and school system operations have benefitted from his enthusiasm, energy, drive, and persistence in the vision of providing students with a world-class education. Mr. Schiffman, himself an entrepreneur, has been able to contribute divergent suggestions and then work to make things happen with the basic ideas. He is both a visionary and the practitioner. He has been involved in many initiatives, including: The Corporate Partnership for Managerial Excellence; the Global Access Oversight Team; the design, development and implementation of a computer maintenance and networking course; establishment of a technology education scholarship program; and design, development and implementation of the Computer for Classrooms project.

Montgomery County Students Automotive Trades Foundation, Inc.

Is a non-profit organization established cooperatively by the professional business community and Montgomery County Public Schools to promote and advance the interests of vocational education through the establishment of the student-run licensed used car dealership -- the Mini Dealership. The Foundation has been in existence since 1978, and has maintained a high level of excellence in automotive education since that time. Volunteers from the business community unselfishly dedicate their time to students and teachers in automotive programs in MCPS. The Foundation contributes tens of thousands of dollars to the program to purchase tools, equipment, student uniforms, and provide scholarships; purchased a state of the art $70,000 paint booth for the auto body program at the Thomas Edison High School of Technology; integrates entrepreneurial skills along with the hands-on mechanical training; awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships for post secondary education and since 1990, has budgeted between $100,000 and $150,000 to support educational opportunities for students.

Community Group

African American Festival of Academic Excellence

Founded in 1989, it is designed to promote and acknowledge the importance of education and learning in the African American youth community. Since its inception, the organization has honored thousands of African American students in Montgomery County Public Schools in grades 3-12, who have demonstrated academic excellence. The annual festival draws thousands of persons each year to witness students being honored with medals, certificates, and cash awards. The Festival has successfully carried out its objectives by: encouraging and assisting African American students to strive for academic excellence; assisting in the transformation of underachieving students into academic achievers; providing a means through which students can obtain a clear and appreciated understanding of the value and necessity of quality education; promoting family and community interest in the pursuit of academic excellence; and sensitizing parents and the community to their participatory responsibilities.

Sharp Street Hosts an Academic Resource Program (SHARP)

Was developed under the joint sponsorship of Sharp Street United Methodist Church of Sandy Spring and Sherwood High School to provide suspended students with supervised study time to keep up with class work while out on suspension. Its mission is to provide students with the support to enable them to progress academically, socially, and emotionally in an educational environment. While attending a national conference on crime prevention, Rev. George E. Hackey, the church pastor, who is also a Montgomery County police officer, learned of a similar program serving the Newport News/Hampton, Virginia school systems. He learned more about the program and shared information with church members and others in the community, generating considerable interest and enthusiasm. Rev. Hackey along with Dr. Leo McDonald (Assistant Principal at Sherwood High School) provided the initiative and necessary support to start SHARP for Sherwood High School students. After collaboration with community groups, Montgomery College, County Police, Sandy Spring Bank, Sandy Spring Civic Association, principals, and staff the program was launched. SHARP is an all volunteer program staffed principally by members of the church which also donates space, fax and copy machines, telephones and utilities. The community and parents have enthusiastically embraced SHARP as it fulfills a need for working parents and their families. Laudatory praise from parents, teachers, and school officials has resulted in inquiries for participation from the two middle schools in the Sherwood cluster. SHARP now plans to expand its program in order to accommodate middle school needs.

Individual Pioneer

Hanley J. Norment (awarded posthumously)

He devoted much of his life to the pursuit of equal justice, protection of civil rights, and ensuring academic excellence in public education. After having attended the NAACP¡s national convention where he saw some of the brightest and best of America¡s African-American students compete in its national academic program, he wanted to bring the concept to Montgomery County. His decision to introduce ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical, Scientific Olympics) to the local Branch, MCPS students and staff, and the community has met with phenomenal success. Mr. Norment organized mentors from the community and MCPS; recruited expert judges from the metropolitan area and aroused the interest and participation of parents and students alike. As a result, MCPS student participation has increased dramatically and now each year, Montgomery County has national competitors in a number of categories winning gold, silver, or bronze medals. On another front, Mr. Norment¡s prodigious research showed that there had been no official action to drop George Washington Carver from the name of MCPS central office building. His advocacy as a representative of the NAACP was instrumental in the Board action to restore the Carver name to the building. Now, everyone who enters MCPS Headquarters, enters a building which bears the name of an eminent American as a result of the outstanding research of Hanley Norment.

Carol M. Hyatt

Has demonstrated a significant commitment to students and teachers in MCPS. She has been a pioneer in the introduction of telecommunications throughout MCPS. Mrs. Hyatt was instrumental in the development of the Computers for Classroom Project and has continued to help in its implementation. Mrs. Hyatt has been a key contributor in the development of the MCPS Global Access Plan; served on the Global Access Oversight Committee and was also appointed to the joint County Council/MCPS committee to oversee the direction and focus of the initiative. As career and technology education has evolved, including enhanced linkages with business, industry, and the community, Mrs. Hyatt has been a champion of the partnership between the High Technology Council of Maryland, MCPS, and Career Connections. She is currently involved with pioneering efforts to infuse career related information into industry presentations to students and teachers. Mrs. Hyatt¡s current leadership positions include: Chair, MCCPTA¡s Technology Committee; Director of K-12 Education Support; Member Board of Directors, the Lazarus Group; and membership on the Montgomery County Technology Education Advisory Council.

Samira Hussein

Has dedicated herself to educating and sensitizing MCPS staff, parents, and students to the Muslim religion and Arab cultures. She has been tireless in advancing a comprehensive view of the cultures, their way of life, and how it needs to be integrated into all aspects of our current educational world, including curriculum development and school calendar to be a more sensitive organization. Mrs. Hussein¡s commitment to developing student and staff understanding of the Arab-American cultures is evident in her efforts which include: providing workshops for students and school staff; collaborating with MCPS staff in the identification and infusion of appropriate content into the MCPS curriculum; developing instructional materials and activities for teachers and students; providing workshops at Mosques during Ramadan to help teachers gain understanding of Muslim and Arab cultures; identifying and helping correct student testing schedules to consider religious holidays; integrating Muslim religion and Arab cultures into the HR-17 course for MCPS staff, and serving as MCCPTA¡s Human Relations Committee chairperson.

MCPS Staff

Phillip F. Gainous

During the last fifteen years as Principal of Montgomery Blair High School, he has demonstrated his excellence as a leader. His accomplishments extend beyond the school level, past the county, on to state and national levels of recognition. Mr. Gainous was appointed by then Governor William Donald Schafer as a member of the prestigious Sondheim Commission. It was this commission¡s 1989 report that laid the foundation for the Maryland School Performance Program (MSPP), the statewide education reform initiative. In April of 1998, Mr. Gainous won the first "Courage in Student Journalism Award," a national award given by the Newseum. Mr. Gainous was a key player in the production of "Safe Schools: A Handbook for Practitioners," released by the National Association of Secondary-School Principals; served on the Bilingual Career Education Program (BiCEP) development committee and a special state committee addressing the issues of accommodations for ESOL students in the Maryland School Performance and Assessment Program. Since 1984, when Blair¡s countywide Computer/Math/ Science Magnet Program was initiated, Blair has been a leader in interdisciplinary instruction. While the Magnet program is respected nationally by college admissions officers, Mr. Gainous works hard to ensure that Magnet students are integrated into the whole of Blair High School. Other programs include the Communication Art Program (CAP), ESOL and SPARC--Special Education, Alternative, and Remedial Class. Mr. Gainous is respected by staff, parents, students, and colleagues for his forthright and candid manner. He is willing to take a stand on issues and is not afraid to stand alone, if need be, for something he believes in.

Dawn F. Thomas

Created the Social Studies Home Page for MCPS which functions as an electronic curriculum for over 4,000 elementary teachers in 124 elementary schools. This home page was featured in the March 1998 issue of Social Education, the national journal for the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS). Dr. Thomas continually shows her professional and innovative skills on numerous projects including: the development of Recycling Units called " Caring for the Earth" for grades K-5, which are performance based lessons and assessments per grade level. This was in conjunction with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to enable teachers to teach students about recycling as the schools entered the county¡s mandatory recycling program; development of the social studies curriculum scope and sequence plan for grades K-5 which provides teachers with an excellent resource for teaching social studies and is a valuable tool for new teachers; leading a Social Studies Advisory Committee through the development of a proposal for a revised K-5 social studies curriculum which will be reviewed during the 1998-99 school year by community and business groups for their input and recommendations for future curriculum use; development of materials for the system¡s Title IX-Gender Equity Initiative at the elementary grades; providing extensive curriculum training to more than 500 teachers on technology, economics, geography, history, and specific teaching strategies; working with teachers to identify and provide current instructional resources, such as textbooks, non-fictional books, maps, and globes that support the curriculum.

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