Distinguished Service Award Winners: 2007
- Community Individual
- Community Group
- Individual Pioneer
- Montgomery County Public Schools Staff
- School Service Volunteer
Watch Award Ceremony
Watch the award ceremony which took place October 18, 2007.
Jon Enten, Enten & Associates
Jon Enten has been an active member of the MCPS community for more than 30 years. Through his work on the board of directors of the MCPS Educational Foundation and as CEO of his own marketing company, Enten and Associates, he has assisted MCPS through his comprehensive marketing and communications programs. They include helping develop a new teacher recruitment tape, raising funds for scholarships, and sponsoring the MCPS retirement dinner.
Riderwood Village Retirement Community
Riderwood Village Retirement Community in Silver Spring created the Riderwood Scholars Fund to support exemplary student staff members at Riderwood as they continue their formal post secondary education. Eligible students are offered up to $4,000 for college, trade, or vocational certificate programs. This year, the Riderwood community honored a record 51 area high school seniors with scholarships to support their pursuit of a college education. The scholarship fund is a visible expression of the close bond that forms between Riderwood’s student employees and the residents they serve.
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Lockheed Martin Corporation has established many school-to-career connections and working relationships with MCPS. For example, executive staff members are active participants in the Career Connections committee of the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education. Lockheed Martin helps the school system in its reform efforts by participating in strategic planning activities on the local National Academy of Information Technology and Engineering Cluster Advisory Boards. In collaboration with MCPS, the corporation provides opportunities for students to engage in high-quality school-to-work experiences.
Joan Donovan, a retired MCPS teacher, took action in October 2006, after learning that the MCPS Retirees Association could not continue to provide toolkits for incoming kindergarten students attending the Extended Learning Opportunities Summer Adventures in Learning program in Title I schools. The toolkits include a range of items to support learning. Donovan’s effort to obtain funding for the toolkits resulted in 295 donations from more than 33 states, for about 95 percent of the $15,000 raised. She also filled book bags with donated books and school supplies for homeless students from non-Title I schools attending the program
Evelyn Liu started out as a parent volunteer at Washington Grove Elementary School about five years ago. Even though her child moved on from elementary school a year later, she has continued to volunteer more than 500 hours a year at the school. Liu helps teachers prepare materials for classroom use, spends hours in the media center organizing, reshelving and checking out books, and spends countless hours working on other school-related projects.
Karen Benn Marshall, Ph.D.
Karen Benn Marshall, Ph.D., has volunteered her time and resources over the past several years on behalf of the MCPS Elementary Science Student Inquiry Conference. Professor and chair of the biology department at Montgomery College’s Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, she secures rooms, technical support and security for the two-day conference each May. The tours of the biology labs she arranges are one of the students’ favorite parts of the program.
Chinese American Parents and Students Association (CAPSA)
The Chinese American Parents and Students Association (CAPSA) was established in 1988 to assist new Chinese immigrants in adjusting to American society and to promote Chinese culture. CAPSA’s program serves more than 350 participants annually and has helped thousands of Montgomery County residents adjust to the community. One of CAPSA’s core programs is a free tutoring service for new immigrants and other students.
IMPACT Silver Spring
IMPACT Silver Spring has established a reputation for supporting and empowering all members of the community to work collaboratively to address community issues. The organization’s work centers around four program areas—the Community Empowerment leadership development training program; Lasting IMPACT support network for personal and community action plans; IMPACT in Schools, which examines the impact of race, class and culture on the achievement gap in schools; and Neighborhood IMPACT, which provides leadership development and diversity training
Project Change, through its signature program, “You Have The Power!” (YHTP!), a bullying prevention peer education program, has met critical needs within MCPS for student-driven learning and mentoring. Sherwood High School students developed YHTP! in 2005. The program has been implemented at four MCPS schools, with teen mentors leading after-school sessions and helping younger students design and implement an anti-bullying event at their school. Project Change teens have been invited to speak at local, state, national and international conferences.
Dr. Gabriel Jacobs
Dr. Gabriel Jacobs taught at Four Corners and William Tyler Page elementary schools and subsequently was principal of both schools. In 1974, while still at Four Corners, he recruited outstanding teachers and set up a multi-aged group of about 30 first, second and third grade students in a French Immersion Program at the school, believed to be the first such program in the country. Jacobs worked closely with parents and staff. He facilitated innovation and held staff meetings where every child’s progress and needs were discussed. He encouraged and trained parent and community volunteers to assist with both the immersion and the regular school program. In 1977, Four Corners Elementary School became a French Immersion Magnet School, drawing students from throughout Montgomery County. In its 33 years in existence, the French Immersion Program has impacted the lives of thousands of students.
Aggie Alvez, director of the Department of Communications, strives to increase meaningful two-way communication between families and MCPS. As the school system has become more diverse, Alvez has developed tools to enable parents and other community members to share information about their children’s needs and cultural values. Her creativity has touched almost every piece of MCPS communication that reaches the public, including many parents for whom English is a second language. Using a multimedia approach, outreach to the African American, Asian American and Latino stakeholders has been a key focus of her communication efforts. Her video productions have won the Aurora, Aegis and Capital Regional Emmy awards.
Dianne Jones, director of the MCPS Division of School Plant Operations, is responsible for the operations and building services staff at 200 facilities. Making it her personal mission to be an environmental steward, in 2003 Jones embraced the idea of greening the school plant operations of MCPS. What began as an initiative is now a systemwide overhaul of how MCPS cleans and maintains schools and what products are used to do so. MCPS is now an established leader in the green cleaning field for schools. Within its first year of piloting, the MCPS Green Cleaning Initiative won a national award. Jones is now answering requests from school districts throughout the metropolitan area.
Elaine Petrulakis, administrative secretary at Shady Grove Middle School, has assisted many school-based and central office administrators in providing programs and services necessary for student success and smooth operations. Throughout the day, Petrulakis works with students who serve as front office aides to ensure they know the importance of their roles and responsibilities. She displays an attitude that fosters student confidence and self-esteem. Numerous staff members refer to her as a “steady rock” whose knowledge, work ethic and expertise serve as a calming force in the often hectic environment of middle school. Petrulakis also goes out of her way to welcome parents, including helping organize a quarterly breakfast for Latino parents and working with a parent to send prerecorded messages to Spanish-speaking parents.
Michael A. Thomas
Michael A. Thomas became executive director of the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. (known as Saturday School) in February 2005. He has successfully managed the growth of the program from eight centers serving approximately 2,400 students in 2005 to 12 centers serving more than 3,500 students in 2007. Because of the success of Saturday School, the County Council selected the academy to pilot two high school after-school programs to help students academically and to provide activities during the critical aft erschool time period. The academy was awarded the 2007 Excellence in Minority Achievement Award by the Maryland State Department of Education.
School Service Volunteer
Aashish Dewan, now a ninth grader in Poolesville High School’s Science, Mathematics, Computer Science Magnet Program, volunteered his time and effort to help Neelsville Middle School when he was a student there—from recycling and helping clean up the environment to doing office work and raising money for the school. Dewan helped check out books, recycled newspapers, arranged books in the media center, and assisted office staff. Dewan also has assisted other MCPS schools, from volunteering at Capt. James Daly Elementary School Spring Fair to working with South Lake Elementary School’s Extended Learning Opportunities program.
Rebecca (Becky) Faherty
Rebecca (Becky) Faherty showed up at Stedwick Elementary School one day more than three years ago and said, “I want to help children with reading.” Her own children were grown, and she had long been a Home and Hospital teacher. A certified teacher, Faherty has been working on reading with a group of second graders for the past three years. Over time, she has recruited additional volunteers to work with her to serve more students. She plans to expand on this success by offering to start programs in other elementary schools.
Paul Rockwell first came to Glen Haven Elementary School through the Ruth Rales Comcast Kids Reading Network in the 2005-2006 school year, volunteering two hours a week to lend support to a second grade student struggling with reading. In the 2006- 2007 school year, he returned to Glen Haven and by October was spending three full days each week at the school, helping second graders in the morning and working with his students from the previous year in the afternoon. Rockwell has worked with students of varying abilities in many different subjects, customizing activities to reach each child.