Board honors 73 school system employees at retirement ceremony

News Release, Charles County Public Schools

The first day on the job for Conchita Walls was Sept. 5, 1969, and she was 18. William Diggs — the namesake of a Waldorf elementary school — stopped by her house over the summer. He knew her mother had health concerns and Walls, who had just graduated high school, would be looking for a job. She started at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center and stayed there until 1986.

From there she moved to the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building to work for the Training for Effective Transition, a program that helped support special education students, teaching them job coaching and other skills they could use after they left school.

She remembers when a change was made to mainstream special education students into traditional schools and how she and her peers thought it was a terrible idea. The special needs kids would get bullied, they would get left behind. But the opposite happened. “They were embraced,” Walls said. “It worked out for the better. It’s a wonderful thing.”

Walls spent the past 26 years as a college and career advisor at Henry E. Lackey High School where she worked from 1992 to 2019, when she retired. 

She’s helped students apply for college, enlist in the military, get apprenticeships and enter the workforce. Other times, she lends an ear. “Students, teachers … All they want you to do is just listen,” she said.

Walls has spent her entire life in Charles County. When she was in high school, military recruiters only talked to the boys. If she had the opportunity, maybe she would take it, go off to other places. Now, she tells students and others that if they have an opportunity to travel, take it. “You can go anywhere,” she said. “As long as you have that education, no one can ever take that from you.”

That said, there is no place like home. Walls enjoys seeing former students become successful in careers with many staying or returning to Charles County. “I’ve enjoyed being in the county, and it’s been good to me.”

Walls was among the 73 CCPS employees recently honored by the Board of Education who have retired during the past school year or who had notified Superintendent Kimberly Hill before June 6 that they plan to retire at the end of this school year.

Retirees are listed by their name, last position and last location where they served.

  • Anthony Adams, building service worker, Maurice J. McDonough High School;
  • Joseph Adams, building service manager, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School;
  • Hassan Adeeb, social studies teacher, Westlake High School;
  • Jamie Anderson, job coach — AIP program, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center;
  • Hannah Barnes, building service worker, Arthur Middleton Elementary School;
  • Kimberly Bean, first-grade teacher, William A. Diggs Elementary School;
  • Jennie Berry, full day kindergarten instructional assistant, Middleton;
  • William Bingham, science teacher, Stethem;
  • Brenda Bivins, preschool instructional assistant, William B. Wade Elementary School;
  • Gail Bussell, social studies teacher, Westlake;
  • James Campbell, social studies teacher, North Point High School;
  • Joyce Campbell, gifted education resource teacher, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building;
  • Ellen Carlsen, special education teacher, Indian Head Elementary School;
  • Sandra Carr, print shop technician, North Point;
  • Cellinna Childers, kindergarten teacher, Diggs;
  • Anthony Clemons, social studies teacher, Matthew Henson Middle School;
  • Joeann Cooper, building service assistant manager, Mattawoman Middle School;
  • Kathleen Davis, high school resource teacher, Maurice J. McDonough High School;
  • Karen Dempsey, learning resource teacher, Malcolm Elementary School;
  • Brenda Diggs, kindergarten instructional assistant, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School;
  • Donald Elliott, food service manager, Westlake;
  • Colleen Erickson, home economics — family and consumer science teacher; Thomas Stone High School;
  • Frederick Farley, special education instructional assistant, Henry E. Lackey High School;
  • Linda Foshee, food service manager, Arthur Middleton Elementary School;
  • Karen Fowler, pupil personnel worker, Starkey;
  • Patricia Gajda, business education teacher, North Point;
  • Kelly Gammon, accounting assistant in food service, Starkey;
  • Kathie Gerrity, vocal music teacher, J.P. Ryon Elementary School;
  • Lori Gibson, pupil personnel worker, Starkey;
  • Pamella Gingerich, reading recovery teacher, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School;
  • Willia Golston, special education teacher — IEP facilitator, Starkey;
  • Dorothy Grimes, secretary to the principal, Dr. James Craik Elementary School;
  • Melissa Gross, secretary to the principal, Ryon;
  • Steven Hawkins, building service worker, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School;
  • Sheila Hillman, second-grade teacher, T.C. Martin Elementary School;
  • Eileen Holden, third-grade teacher, Berry Elementary School;
  • John Holmes, high school test coordinator, La Plata High School;
  • Elizabeth Jameson, second-grade teacher, Martin;
  • Diane Jenkins, instructional specialist for English, Starkey;
  • Vicki Jenkins, literacy instructional assistant, Milton M. Somers Middle School;
  • Linda Keyton, third-grade teacher, William B. Wade Elementary School;
  • Barbara Kilpatrick, administrative instructional assistant, Jenifer;
  • Michelle Lee, three-year-old Even Start teacher, Barnhart;
  • Elizabeth Loeper, Title I learning interventionist, Indian Head;
  • Linda Lund, prekindergarten teacher, Wade;
  • Susan McDermott, secretary — 12 months, North Point;
  • Amy Miller, reading interventionalist, Mattawoman;
  • Janis Milman, science teacher, Stone;
  • Margaret Monroe, full day kindergarten instructional assistant, Eva Turner Elementary School;
  • Mary Montgomery, fifth-grade teacher, Mitchell;
  • Steven Moyer, instrumental music teacher, Diggs;
  • Jane Murphy, food service manager, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School;
  • Joseph Perriello, learning resource teacher, Wade;
  • Patricia Pitonyak, special education teacher, Henson;
  • Mandell Proctor Sr., building service worker, North Point;
  • Miriam Ratcliffe, special education teacher, F.B. Gwynn Educational Center;
  • Carolyn Sienkiewicz, ESOL teacher, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School;
  • Sheila Smith, building service worker, La Plata;
  • Jane Spearbeck, kindergarten teacher, Parks;
  • Erica Strass, elementary science teacher, Berry;
  • Earl Taylor, building service worker, Westlake;
  • Joseph Thomas, language arts teacher, Henson;
  • Joy Thompson, language arts teacher, Somers;
  • Paula Trinch, speech language pathologist, Martin;
  • Debra Van Roon, language arts teacher, Mattawoman;
  • April Walker, special education preschool instructional assistant, Mary H. Matula Elementary School;
  • Veronica Walls, college and career advisor, Lackey;
  • Anne Ward, English teacher, Stone;
  • Brenda Warren, library media specialist, Gale-Bailey Elementary School;
  • Blanche Washington, special education instructional assistant, Mattawoman;
  • Wanda Welch, college and career advisor, McDonough;
  • Ann Wilhelm, SAT coordinator, Westlake; and
  • Thadine Wright, principal, Ryon.

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