Distinguished Service Award Winners: 2004
- Community Individual
- Community Group
- Individual Pioneer
- Montgomery County Public Schools Staff
For his contributions to the youth of Montgomery County. The CEO of Century Pool Management, Kijowski was instrumental in creating the nonprofit Montgomery Youth Works in the mid-1990s and in helping establish the first local Business Roundtable for Education in January 2001. He is a founding member of the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education Board of Directors and co-chair of the MCPS task force on high school reform.
For his work as a founding member of the MCPS Educational Foundation, Inc. An officer in Aronson & Company's private business group, with more than 38 years in public accounting, Leshinsky has served as treasurer of the foundation since 1994 and has been chairman of its Finance Committee since 1998. Under his leadership, the MCPS financial policy was developed.
For her participation in Interages for more than a decade. Lavine has given countless volunteer hours to promote child literacy in the Interages Grandreaders program. She also has worked with Interages' Dialogues Across the Ages, which brings seniors together with high school students to discuss ideas, lifestyles, and newsworthy events.
For its support to MCPS Latino students and families through its participation in the Gang Prevention Task Force, after school programs, and other initiatives. In 2001, Identity conducted the first countywide needs assessment of risk in the lives of Latino youth, followed by a 2003 needs assessment of middle school Latino Youth. The group's after school program is implemented in Gaithersburg and Montgomery Blair high schools and will begin at Seneca Valley High School in 2005.
Progress Club of Rockville
For its support of MCPS students through scholarships and other areas. The club, started as a social club 80 years ago by five individuals, formed a foundation 30 years ago to support local charities. In September 2002, the Progress Club donated $25,000 to the MCPS Educational Foundation, Inc., to establish the Progress Club Scholars, which enables 11 MCPS students each year to attend Montgomery College and provides additional scholarships. To date, the club has donated $75,000 for the scholarship program. The group also has supported Mark Twain School for the past 10 years with funds for items not covered by the regular budget.
Rotary Club of North Bethesda
For its advocacy for MCPS students at Thomas Edison High School of Technology and in other schools. The club has sponsored Outstanding Student Awards at Edison since 1993 and in 1984 initiated a needs-based scholarship program that so far has funded a year at Montgomery College for 47 MCPS students. The Rotary Club was an integral part of establishing the Construction and Automotive Trades Foundation. In 2000, the club started the Teacher of the Year program for Rockville High School and will offer the award at Edison during 2004-05.
Ana Sol Gutierrez
For her work as an educational activist and role model for the Hispanic community. As the first elected Hispanic member of the Board of Education, serving from 1990-1998, she made numerous contributions to MCPS. Currently, she is the first Latina state legislator in the Maryland House of Delegates. At the national level, she contributed to preparation and dissemination of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators national education policy agenda. She has worked closely with national and state Black Caucus members to introduce state legislation that builds upon a common agenda to close educational achievement gaps and has been active in many parent groups and nonprofits, such as CASA de Maryland.
For her work in helping immigrant families achieve success in their children's education. Since 1995, Wright has been a parent resource teacher in the Division of ESOL and Bilingual Programs, serving Gaithersburg, Magruder and Watkins Mill clusters. She and other up county team members partnered with community organizations and educational institutions to organize continuing education programs for immigrant parents, establish a Teen Moms Program, encourage ESOL students to complete high school and attend college, and help Latino students avoid high risk behaviors. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Excellence for Minority Achievement in 2001 from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Outstanding Leader Award from Leadership Montgomery in 2002.
Joseph J. Lavorgna
For his work as director of the Department of Planning and Capital Programming for the past nine years. Lavorgna has provided leadership in development of the six-year Capital Improvements Program and in communicating the plan to elected officials and the public. This year, he and his staff led development of a plan for the four-year expansion of full-day kindergarten. He also has developed a plan to complete the elementary school gym project within the next six years. Playing a critical role in the continuous improvement initiatives of the Office of the Chief Operating Officer and MCPS, he was an important reason the office won the bronze medal in the Maryland State Quality and Productivity Awards.
Jerry M. Marco
For his 40 years as an educational leader with MCPS. The principal of Walt Whitman High School for 29 years, Marco focused on creating an environment that set high expectations and provided direct support for students, teachers, and parents. In the early 1990s, he worked with other principals to design and implement a cluster wide Pillars of Ethics Program, which continues to be used at schools in the area.
For her work as an instrumental music teacher and athletic coach at Albert Einstein High School for 29 years. Under her guidance, Einstein created a scholarship program to allow students in need to take private music lessons, and the Einstein Jazz Ensemble won national recognition. She is instrumental in Einstein's new Visual and Performing Arts Signature Program, which began this fall.