Champions for Children to be Honored April 26

April 25, 2007
Teacher of the Year to be Announced During Celebration

The fifth annual Champions for Children Awards Gala will take place on Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The gala is hosted by the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE).

This year’s theme is “Making a World of Difference in Our Own Backyard.” The highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the Montgomery County Teacher of the Year, chosen from among three Greenblatt Excellence in Teaching Award winners.

Participants in the ceremonies are expected to include MCBRE Chair Jane Rudolph, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, Montgomery County Executive Isiah (Ike) Leggett and other officials. Host of the gala will be Todd McDermott, W*USA TV-9 news anchor.

Outstanding educators, volunteers and community leaders who will be honored at the Champions for Children Gala are:

Greenblatt Veteran Teacher Awards
Philip D’Agnese, Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School

The leadership skills demonstrated by Philip D’Agnese, second grade teacher and team leader at Matsunaga, were honed during a 20-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he was chief of the radio navigation office. At Matsunaga, D’Agnese encourages hands-on learning. He established the school’s weather station through various grants, testified before state government committees to secure funding to restore the King Dairy Barn MOOseum and helped create the school’s butterfly garden. D’Agnese supplies students with information to stimulate discussion with the family and frequently counsels parents.

Noreen Gale, Oakland Terrace Elementary School
Described as a teacher who “instinctively knows how to teach,” Noreen Gale took on the challenge of working with a new third grade class containing a mix of students with emotional issues and learning disabilities, as well as highly able students, at the start of the 2005-2006 school year. Combining remediation, grade-level instruction and acceleration in her classroom, Gale provided a differentiated yet demanding program to make sure everyone was succeeding. Her dedication has resulted in consistent improvement on standardized tests for her students.

Raul Ortiz, Damascus High School
Raul Ortiz spent the first 20 years of his career tuning up car engines. Now he’s shifted gears and heads the Automotive Technology Program at Damascus HS, where he teaches students to be successful after high school. Under his leadership, the school has worked with the area business community to develop partnerships. Ortiz has guided Damascus through several national certification programs, providing the school with the highest credentials for an auto technology program. Writing, reading, verbal communication, information technology and math skills are practiced daily in his shop.

Greenblatt First Year Teacher Award
Olga Shapiro, Rockville High School

Spanish teacher Olga Shapiro has made a big impression on faculty, staff and students at Rockville High School during her first year of teaching. She graduated from Rockville just over five years ago and knows how to punctuate her lessons with activities that engage her students. That may mean using games, song, food, clothing or dance to expand vocabularies and comfort levels of students conversing in Spanish. Students are always found in her class at lunchtime, for extra help, to practice oral presentations, to ask advice or just to hang out.

Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year
Teresa Carbonell Goodman, James Hubert Blake High School

Encouraging students to succeed is what Teresa Carbonell Goodman does best. Whether it’s in her Spanish classes, in the many extracurricular activities she supervises, talking with students in the halls or mentoring them after class, Goodman believes that every student deserves the opportunity to shine. In her classes, she motivates students, balancing rigor and differentiation. She provides tutoring every day during lunch and four days a week after school for students needing help not only in Spanish but also in general organizational skills, math and science.

The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award
Nelson McLeod, Newport Mill Middle School

Despite the challenges of poverty, language barriers, high mobility and a large percentage of special needs learners, Newport Mill Middle School Principal Nelson McLeod has attained impressive improvements at the school. Reading and math scores on the MSAs have improved dramatically, both for students as a whole and for African American and Latino students. McLeod is equally committed to ensuring the growth and success of his instructional team, training and mentoring a steady stream of leaders. He also aggressively pursues parent participation in school activities.

SEIU Local 500 Supporting Services Employee of the Year
Herenia V. Lopez, Eastern Middle School

Herenia Lopez is the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) paraeducator at Eastern Middle School, but she’s also much more to her colleagues, students and community. Visitors to the school may find her working in the classroom, making phone calls to parents, tutoring students or contributing to conferences. She has co-facilitated two programs that help newcomers assimilate to the United States. She actively supports school clubs and activities. Lopez also is actively involved in the broader community and was a key participant in MCPS’ first Spanish Language Study Circle.

Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision
Carole Goodman, James Hubert Blake High School

Respect for the power of teamwork. Belief in the untapped potential of her students. Commitment to a working environment of mutual respect. These are some of the characteristics Carole Goodman brings to her job as principal of James Hubert Blake HS. Goodman has been principal of Blake since it opened in 1997 as the first Montgomery County high school with a whole-school signature program in the arts and humanities. Blake students have won local and national arts and talent competitions, and the number of students enrolled in Honors and Advanced Placement courses continues to grow.

Volunteer Champion for Children
Pyle Middle School PTSA’s After School Activities Program

Pyle Middle School’s PTSA instituted its After School Activities Program four years ago with the goal of engaging and enriching students as they navigate their way through the teenage years. Pyle involves students, parents, teachers and vendors to create Maryland’s largest after-school endeavor, which sponsors more than 55 clubs and classes. During a single month, the school tallied 2,500 participants in the program (with many students participating in more than one club or class during the week). Both the robotics and debate teams have won awards while being led by parents.

Business Champion for Children
Suburban Hospital

For the past 14 years, students at Ashburton Elementary School have benefited from a partnership with Suburban Hospital that includes free health screenings and fairs, mentoring and tutoring, community runs and walks, healthy cooking demonstrations and programs geared to teenagers. Hospital volunteers serve as “big brothers and sisters” to students. Suburban staff members work with the Ashburton community on a number of projects. Ashburton staff and students, in turn, donate books for the pediatric patients and participate in fundraising walks and runs.

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