Educators honored by state for gifted education efforts

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education honored four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers – Christina Caron, Jonica Gaskill, Jessica Meador and Joni Rooney – for their efforts and accomplishments in gifted education.

Each received a 2018 Teacher as Leader in Gifted and Talented Education Award. Nominees were selected by Ann Taylor, CCPS content specialist in gifted education, and Joyce Campbell, gifted education resource teacher for CCPS.

They were honored at a Feb. 21 ceremony held to honor the Governor’s proclamation of February as Gifted and Talented and Education Month. The ceremony was sponsored by MSDE and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education.

Caron has been working with students in gifted education programs for more than nine years and is the learning resource teacher at Mary H. Matula Elementary School. She works with both teachers of advanced students and gifted students at her school. She is often found co-teaching with a gifted cluster teacher or working with small groups of gifted students. She plans regularly with teachers of advanced students to ensure lesson plans are differentiated to meet the needs of all levels of learners. Caron leads professional development sessions, helps to write gifted education curriculum and is a leader among her peers. She also implemented a popular book club at Matula last school year, and serves as the school’s robotics and chess club sponsor.

Gaskill is a language arts teacher at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and has been teaching in the gifted education program for eight years. She consistently challenges her students to do their best and motivates them to apply critical thinking. Gaskill strives to create and maintain positive relationships with students and demonstrates a passion for their successes. She attends state conferences to expand her knowledge and skill set in gifted education, and brings that knowledge back to her peers. She is a vocal advocate for gifted learners and oversees the Destination Imagination (DI) program at Stoddert. Additionally, Gaskill helps to write curriculum, serves as the language arts department chair and mentors new teachers.

Meador is a fourth-grade teacher at Matula. She has taught fourth grade for the past six years and works directly with students identified for gifted services. She teaches both gifted reading and accelerated math, and serves as the fourth-grade math team coach. Meador is in the process of completing a master’s degree in gifted education and attends local and state conferences to expand her knowledge and skill set. At Matula, she plans with her teammates and mentors other teachers who have less experience teaching gifted students. She presents to staff and is a strong supporter of her students. Last year, she helped a Matula student through the grade acceleration process and the student continues to excel in middle school.

Rooney is a fifth-grade teacher at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School and is the grade-level team leader. She has been teaching accelerated math for the past four years and guided reading. Her students excel in class and are eager for lessons she plans in which they are challenged to use critical thinking skills. She constantly attends professional development opportunities to learn new skills and is an expert in incorporating technology into instruction. Rooney has been teaching with CCPS for the past 19 years and has held several additional roles during her career. Rooney has coached Unified basketball, community soccer teams and the fifth-grade math team at Barnhart. She is also a Formative Assessment for Maryland Educators (FAME) cohort in which she works to assist students and teachers is learning how to reflect on their work to improve skills in other areas.

During the ceremony in which the teachers were honored, 13 CCPS students were recognized for their accomplishments in gifted education. Read about the students honored at 

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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