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Press Release: Charles County's Thomas Gordon Named 2016 Winner Of Parent Involvement Matters Award

Ceremony Honors Parent Volunteers For Positive Impact On Maryland Public Schools

For Immediate Release         Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, Cell: 410-241-7108

Baltimore, MD (June 3, 2016)

Thomas Gordon, Sr., of Charles CountyThomas Gordon, Sr., of Charles County on Friday night was named statewide winner of the ninth annual Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Awards (PIMA) program. 

Gordon, a volunteer at Indian Head Elementary School, developed the Keeping Kids in Coats Program, designed to help clothe economically disadvantaged students in the cold weather months.  He also serves as a robotics coach, volunteers in the school’s PBIS program, and is a fixture in the school community.

Timothy J. Rosin, principal at Indian Head, said that Gordon’s involvement is deep, spending year after year on a variety of programs designed to make the school a better place to learn.  “The Maryland Parent Involvement Matters award is the most logical plan of action--to recognize him for the impact he has made in the lives of some many of our students,” he said.

Gordon was selected among the five finalists announced at the gala awards ceremony at Martin’s West.  The finalists were narrowed down from a list of 24 semifinalists announced last month.  The other finalists were: 

  • Chen Chen,  County Schools, Anne Arundel County
  • Cheri Pegues, Towson High School, Baltimore County
  • Earnest Moore, County Schools, Prince George’s County
  • Donna Turnamian, Evening High School, Wicomico County

PIMA Videos: 2016 Finalists and Winner

“Maryland schools are at their best when parents and other volunteers are working to improve each classroom for every child," said Governor Larry Hogan.  "I congratulate Mr. Gordon, along with all of the finalists, for outstanding contributions to our State's students, schools and communities.” 

Acting State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon noted that parent involvement is critical to Maryland’s educational success.  

“Thomas Gordon has been willing to do whatever it takes to improve the entire school community,” Dr. Salmon said.  “Strong parental involvement strengthens our classrooms and schools, and Thomas never stops working to make Indian Head better for all students. His tireless commitment is an inspiration.”

PIMA is the nation’s first and only statewide award program of its kind, honoring parents and guardians for their critical work.  The PIMA Program recognizes parents from local school systems across the State of Maryland, nominated for their contributions in one or more of the five areas of parental involvement:  Communication; Volunteering; Learning; Decision Making; and Community Collaboration.

Many of the honorees from previous years have become parent involvement advocates on the statewide level – serving as members of task forces, presenters at statewide meetings, and participants in education conventions as well as focus groups.

The PIMA Program is supported by: Martin's West, Maryland PTA, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland's 24 School Systems, Rudolph's Office and Computer Supply, and Target.

In addition to Thomas Gordon, the semifinalists for the Parent Involvement Matters Award were:

2016 Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) Local Honorees

Charity Walters and Angela Frost

John Humbird Elementary School
Allegany County
This dynamic duo, Charity Walters and Angela Frost, spearhead John Humbird’s volunteer program by providing helping hands to support students and teachers. Together, they share in decision making roles at the school and district level by serving on school level committees as well as the district’s Parent Advisory Council where they network with other local parent advocates on school initiatives.

Chen Chen
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Anne Arundel
Upon completion of Anne Arundel County Public School’s International Parent and Community Leadership Academy, Chen Chen recognized a need to bring together parents of the Chinese community who are otherwise spread across the County and not connected.  She created an online community for Chinese parents living in the County to network with one another and share educational resources and information.

Aaron I. Simpson
Edmondson-Westside High School
Baltimore City
Aaron Simpson’s involvement in Edmondson-Westside High School’s Life Skills Program has been pivotal in leading parents to support their children who have an intellectual disability.  During parent nights, cultural shows, and other related school-based activities, Mr. Simpson is actively sharing his experiences and expertise on how parents can be responsibly accountable for their children’s learning needs.

Cheri Pegues
Towson High School
Baltimore County
Recognizing the many needs of Towson High’s diverse community, Cheri initiated Adopt a Family, a community drive to assist several families with various supports from clothing to school supplies. Her organizational skills, attention to detail, and sound decision-making have resulted in numerous donations benefiting students and families at Towson.

Tammy Brunstrom
Huntingtown High School
Calvert County
Tammy is a volunteer extraordinaire. From her current position as PTSA President and officer for the Booster Club, she has organized fundraisers, served on school level decision-making committees, and held many PTA/PTSA board positions, never losing sight of what she does benefits all parents and students.

Kristen Robinson
Greensboro Elementary School
Caroline County
She may be soft-spoken and quiet, but behind the scenes, Kristen provides Greensboro with a great deal of love and support through her tireless efforts of organizing Family Fun Day.  The schools biggest fundraiser, school staff, families, and business and community partners enjoy a day of fun while raising money to support educational programs at Greensboro.  In its third year, a new addition will be Kiss the Pig. It’s sure to have the kids and parents squealing.

Daniel Simon
Eldersburg Elementary School
Carroll County
Daniel Simon is a groovy parent volunteer at Eldersburg Elementary who has made a significant contribution to the school community by organizing and holding an annual event called Groovy Science Night. Through this project, students have the opportunity to experiment with topics such as thermal imaging, environmental science, and chemistry.

Timothy Dominick
Leeds Elementary School
Cecil County
Through his work with Orbital ATK and his support of public education, students in Cecil County benefit from Timothy Dominick’s desire to bring STEM to all children. From having all of the kindergarten classes at Leeds have their names travel to space as virtual crew members to organizing a school-wide assembly for NASA’s Orion EFT-1 Launch to arranging for an astronaut to speak with second grade classes, Mr. Dominick is providing opportunities so students can take-off as our future STEM leaders.

Kimberly Conner
North Dorchester High School
Dorchester County
“Approaching Arts and Athletics” is a project that has developed and evolved over the last six years thanks to Kim Conner.  Her efforts to organize, facilitate and communicate fundraising incentives to students, parents, and the community has afforded students band trips to Florida and transportation to local parades, nursing homes, and community centers, not to mention lending her professional talents as a Nurse Practitioner to assist coaches on the playing field.

Jeff Downing
Wolfsville Elementary School
Frederick County
Wolfsville Elementary, located on top of a mountain in North-West Frederick County, now serves as a hub in the community thanks to Jeff Downing’s efforts. Through his door knocking, leg work, and trips to the market, Jeff created All Pro Families Breakfast which brings together 70-80 family members, staff, and students to enjoy a hot breakfast to discuss interesting topics and current events, with the purpose of uniting the community around children.

Regina Holliday
Grantsville Elementary School
Garrett County
From the brush to the canvas, Regina Holliday brought art to life by organizing the Granstville Art Walk Project to raise awareness for the fine arts in the community. Working with all classes, splashing colors and creativity, student masterpieces along with local artists work were displayed at local businesses and later auctioned. Her efforts raised over $600 to benefit students and the fine arts program at Granstville Elementary.

Sandi Easton
Bakerfield Elementary School
Harford County
Sandi Easton has been instrumental in the transformation of family engagement at Bakerfield Elementary. From serving on the school’s Improvement Team to fundraising for educational resources, to starting a PTA with active staff and parent membership, Sandi is a valued asset and greatly admired by staff and parents alike.

Scott Brown
Swansfield Elementary School
Howard County
Scott Brown is one mighty dad who started Mighty Men.  This program focuses on providing positive male role models for students and providing an extra set of eyes and ears to enhance the school’s safe and nurturing environment while reducing bullying.

Stephanie A-R Edwards
Kent County High School
Kent County
Stephanie Edwards is not one to allow a little hard work to scare her away! She was quick to offer up her expertise and agree to serve as Treasurer for the high school’s newly formed Athletic Boosters where she has been instrumental in taking on tedious tasks like filing paperwork to become a new 501( c)(3) as well as helping to form the new bylaws.

Lori A. Green
Northwest High School
Montgomery County
There was no way parents of the African American Parent Council were going to move forward in planning a summit without Lori Green.  As the heart and soul of this Council, Lori spent countless hours at Northwest organizing the Council’s Summit to begin a dialogue among parents, students, and teachers to discuss the issues related to achievement gaps of many African American students.

Earnest Moore
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Prince George’s County
Earnest Moore, also known as Mr. PTA, is a staunch advocate and unstoppable volunteer making a positive impact on public education.  Having served as the district’s PTA President, Mr. Moore has not slowed down in his involvement.  From serving on the district’s Parent and Community Advisory Council to a newly formed Student Safety Task Force to connecting with parents representing diverse cultures and languages, Mr. Moore has been an integral partner in education representing the voices of parents.

Cinda Anthony
Sudlersville Middle School
Queen Anne’s County
Spring arrived at Sudlersville Middle School’s spring concert when Cinda Anthony brought the stage to life with a flower garden complete with a picket fence and giant sunflowers.  Not to mention, when the choir gowns needed some alterations, there she was to lend a helping hand.  Whether it’s sewing a gown for a student or making sure the trees on the stage have lights, Cinda is tireless and works until the job is done!

Jason Mandeville
Mechanicsville Elementary School
St. Mary’s County
What gets kids talking at Mechanicsville Elementary is how Mr. Mandeville exploded a pumpkin and a jack-o-lantern face appeared! Sharing his passion for learning about scientists and how they have impacted our lives has enlightened second through fifth grade students in the school’s Science Club.  It’s no wonder students at Mechanicsville can’t wait to get their Science Club reminder of what the next Tuesday Science Club will bring!

Timothy Bozman
Princess Anne Elementary School
Somerset County
There’s nothing like having the Chief of Police as an involved parent at school!  Tim Bozman blends his professional networks to support outreach and awareness programs to benefit students and parents at Princess Anne Elementary. He can also be found on the field coaching extracurricular sports for kids all the while he has been working on and just graduated with his Bachelors in Science Degree. Congratulations Tim!

Suzanne Wieland
Chapel District Elementary School
Talbot County
No better person to take on fundraising for an improved playground at Chapel District other than Suzanne Wieland. Thinking “outside of the sandbox”, Suzanne coordinated Pennies for Playgrounds raising over $45,000 from spare change brought in by students to donations from businesses. As this project is now underway, you can find Suzanne at Chapel District helping where needed.

Jennifer Poffenberger
Boonsboro High School
Washington County
Boonsboro High has all-star player Jennifer Poffenberger on their team.   Jennifer serves on the school’s Improvement Team, assists as a parent advisor for the school’s Student Government Association, and most recently, scored big with raising money to install a new state of the art scoreboard and sound system in the athletic stadium. Way to go Jennifer!

Donna Turnamian
Evening High School
Wicomico County Public Schools
We know that “It takes a village to raise a child”, and as a part of that village, Donna Turnamian didn’t need to be asked twice by her church to lend a hand for the County’s Evening High School. As a school that does not have a traditional PTA, where parents may work multiple jobs, and some students’ parents are not in the picture. Donna has helped bring together caring adults who serve as “surrogate” parents, secured personal items for students, and provided support to students so they graduate and receive their diploma.

Janice Clark
Stephen Decatur High School
Worcester County
Stephen Decatur High is lucky to have Janice Clark who is their “Janice of all trades.”  Her positive spirit brings crowds of students and adults to the school store to purchase school merchandise, and if not at the school store, she can be found in the drama department where she spends much of her time helping with productions from carpentry to photographer to seamstress.  She is available all hours of the day and late night too, but only for her Stephen Decatur family.

Thomas Gordon, Sr., Charles County hi-res photo.