Board of Education Awards for Distinguished Service

November 4, 2002
The Montgomery County Board of Education will honor 14 individuals and organizations in its sixth annual awards program for distinguished service to public education in Montgomery county. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 7, 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

Fitzgerald Auto Malls, for providing advice and support to the auto trades programs in MCPS and for generous contributions to the MCPS Educational Foundation.

Startec Global Communications, for its outstanding partnership with Carderock Springs Elementary School that has included donations of office furniture and computer accessories and expert advice on the use of technology in the classroom.

Individual Pioneer

Blair G. Ewing, member of the County Council and former Board of Education member for 22 years, for nearly three decades of leadership and dedicated public service on behalf of the education of children in Montgomery County.

Joseph Howard, former elementary school principal and director of Outdoor Education, for his vision in founding the Outdoor Education program and nurturing it for 40 years.

Owen Nichols, former vice president for administration at Howard University, for his extensive work on behalf of students, including as a founder and first director of the African American Festival of Academic Excellence.

Community Individual

Esther P. Gelman, former member of the County Council, for her many years as an advocate for Montgomery County Public Schools, including as a founding member of the MCPS Educational Foundation and current director of the foundation’s Scholarship Committee.

John Lopez, volunteer at Forest Knolls Elementary School and retired U.S.Army lieutenant colonel, for more than twenty years of service to the Forest Knolls school community that have made him a role model for students and adults alike.

Ruby A. Rubens, former MCPS ombudsman, for her many years as an advocate for students and families and her key participation in initiatives to improve the academic achievement of African-American and Hispanic children.

Community Group/Organization

The City of Gaithersburg, for a strong working partnership with MCPS that has expanded and enriched opportunities for students within the Gaithersburg Cluster, including Character Counts!, a Gaithersburg Judy Center, and numerous extracurricular opportunities.

Interages, for a range of programs in schools and senior facilities that have involved more than 25,000 children, youth, and seniors in enriching intergenerational activities since 1986.

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, for service to county students for more than 45 years, exemplified by the exceptional response to mental health needs in schools following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

MCPS Staff

John F. Brooks, Jr., building services manager at Walter Johnson High School, for his important role in ensuring the positive environment of the school during its numerous renovations and his 15 years of careful and caring work at the school.

Carol Burke, staffing specialist in the Department of Human Resources, for her consistent ability to identify quality staff for MCPS and to work closely with school administration to make good matches between schools and teachers.

Richard Sprecher, world studies teacher at E. Brooke Lee Middle School, for his outstanding teaching skills, as well as numerous significant contributions outside the classroom such as tutoring students residing in a homeless shelter.

For more information, contact:

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

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