Fifth Annual Board of Education Awards for Service to Education

October 31, 2001
The Montgomery County Board of Education will honor 10 individuals and organizations in its fifth annual awards program for distinguished service to public education in Montgomery County. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, November 5, at 6:00 p.m. in the Carver Educational Services Center auditorium, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

The awards were established by the Board of Education to recognize and show appreciation for exemplary contributions to public education and to the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

“Pioneer Award” winners are individuals who, although they may not be active currently, have made extraordinary contributions in the past that have had a profound effect on the school system over the years. Winners in other categories are individuals, groups, or organizations that have, within the past three years, provided service, support, and commitment to public education as demonstrated by:

-An outstanding contribution of time and expertise to school system programs
-Development and/or implementation of an exemplary program or project
-A contribution that results in systemwide benefit.

Nominations for the awards were sought from the general community as well as community organizations, businesses, the superintendent of schools, and members of the Montgomery County Board of Education.

The categories of the awards and the individuals and groups who will receive them are:

Business Individual/Organization

The Nellis Corporation is a long-time supporter of Montgomery County Public Schools. Mr. Rick Toran, President of the Nellis Corporation, is a founding member of the MCPS Educational Foundation. For the past seven years, Nellis Corporation has provided several thousand square feet of building space to MCPS that now serves as the office location for the Department of Transportation. In addition, when MCPS leased space for offices from Nellis Corporation, the rent for the first month was waived so that the money could go to the Educational Foundation for scholarships.

Nextel Communications has been a partner and corporate friend of MCPS for more than three years. Nextel Communications has developed a unique partnership by providing wireless phones and service to enhance communications among faculty and staff at Walter Johnson High School. In addition, Nextel provided wireless phones free of charge to MCPS for Y2K issues and has loaned phones for other projects. Nextel also is a corporate sponsor of the Executive Ball for the Arts and provides assistance to shelters in Montgomery County.

Individual Pioneer

Lillian B. Brown is a retired Montgomery County teacher. As a student in Montgomery County's black public schools in the early 1900s, she was inspired by her teachers to become a teacher. She spent more than a decade as the principal and only teacher at Germantown Colored Elementary School, a one-room school with 63 students in grades one through seven. Ms. Brown also is the co-author of a book entitled, “History of the Black Public School of Montgomery County, Maryland, 1872-1961.” She visits schools to talk about the history of MCPS, and to share her life experiences. In addition, at age 90, she continues to be tremendously active in civic, educational and social organizations. Ms. Brown has been a witness to this school system’s history, and she is committed to keeping this history alive by sharing it with each new generation.

Community Individual

Dr. Alan Cheung was the first Asian American elected to the Board of Education in Montgomery County and the first member from an ethnic minority to serve as the President of the Board. In his eight years as a Board member, he was a strong advocate for all students, and emphasized individualized learning, additional science and technology in schools, and smaller class size. Dr. Cheung made significant contributions to education in Montgomery County and has been instrumental in bringing the Asian American community into the county’s political and civic mainstream. He serves as a worthy role model to Asian American students, parents, and the larger community in Montgomery County.

Diane Cockrell has served in many volunteer capacities as MCCPTA delegate and as a member of several advisory boards. She has worked as a volunteer in the school system since her son began school in 1990. At Cedar Grove and Rockwell elementary schools, she used her fundraising and organizational skills to raise significant sums of money used to purchase equipment and instructional materials. Her work as cluster coordinator for the Damascus cluster allowed parents to learn more about their children’s middle school curriculum and safety and security measures used by the system. Currently, she works on high school curriculum issues, specifically increasing Advanced Placement offerings in the high schools to benefit more students.

Marina McKee has been an active contributor to the school system for several years. At Richard Montgomery and Quince Orchard high schools, she has helped to teach adult immigrants how to read and was a tutor to people from many countries. She assisted students and parents in filling out forms, such as job applications and immigration papers. Countywide, Ms. McKee chaired the ESOL committee for Montgomery County and co-chaired the Advisory Committee for ESOL. For several years, she has participated in the selection of the annual ESOL Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards. She has helped in various disaster relief efforts, most recently helping flood victims from El Salvador.

Community Group/Organization

Career Transition Program (CTP) of St. Luke’s House has done outstanding work with students with severe emotional disabilities. CTP was selected in 2000 as one of the best vocational programs in the nation for people with psychiatric disabilities by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. CTP has helped 18-21 year old students with emotional disabilities who need individualized, specialized and intensive transition services as they graduate from high school at a rate of 94 percent, and find placement in postsecondary education at a rate of 47 percent. The Mental Hygiene Administration Core Services Agencies has selected CTP as the transition model for the state of Maryland.

The Washington Opera’s unique partnership with MCPS started with mentoring and support for Farmland Elementary School’s La Clevique Kids Opera Company. In May 2001, their work together was honored by an EMA Foundation School/Business Partnership Award from the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Opera has expanded similar partnerships to three other schools in MCPS: Beverly Farms Elementary School, Richard Montgomery High School, and Thomas S. Wootton High School. In addition, the Opera and its education director Debra Evans have promoted professional partnerships with local schools in Music, Words, Opera Programs in Montgomery County, and sustained Opera Look-In programs in over 25 MCPS schools.

Montgomery County Public Schools Staff

Robert Hines has taught in Montgomery County for more than 30 years. He is one of the original “core” teachers in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Richard Montgomery High School and has led students to great success in the IB exams. Bob is a trainer at IB conferences around the U.S. and an international grader of IB exams. He is the principal instructor in summer workshops for teachers on “Teaching the Holocaust,” sponsored by the College of Jewish Studies and has taught adult education courses on the Holocaust for area synagogues.

Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer, knows the MCPS billion-dollar budget almost by heart and employs a “can-do” attitude to every challenge that confronts MCPS. Working collaboratively with other MCPS leaders, he has helped guide and implement key initiatives such as the strategic plan for Global Access Technology and the development of the MCPS shared accountability model. More importantly, he has helped keep the vision of Success for Every Student alive by being a critical part of MCPS’ leadership team for more than a decade.

For more information, contact:

Mr. Roland Ikheloa, staff assistant
Montgomery County Board of Education
Tel.: 301-279-3301

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