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Outstanding Employees Recognized - 2024

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SMCPS Press Release
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SMCPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178
Dr. Maureen Montgomery, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32135

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Superintendent of Schools, Dr. J. Scott Smith, would like to announce the outstanding employees who have been recognized for their service and dedication to St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS).

Ms. Carmen Santos, Kindergarten Paraeducator, at Lexington Park Elementary School, and Ms. Jessica Young, Coordinating Administrative Assistant, in the Division of Supporting Services, have been chosen as the Educational Support Professionals of the Year award winners.  The Educational Support Professional of the Year award was established in 2009 to recognize the essential role support staff has in the school system’s success by fostering a positive learning environment for students. Ms. Santos has been employed with SMCPS for eleven years and Ms. Young has been employed with SMCPS for fifteen years.

Ms. Lauren Runkles, ESOL Teacher at Great Mills High School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary’s County Public Schools for the Maryland Teacher of the Year program.  Ms. Runkles has been employed with SMCPS for eleven years.  She will compete against other teachers from across the State of Maryland for the Maryland Teacher of the Year Award.  Ms. Runkles holds a Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, with a Minor in Spanish and Education from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.   

Ms. Kathy Sheehan, an English Language Arts Teacher at Leonardtown Middle School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary’s County Public Schools for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year program.  Ms. Sheehan has been employed with SMCPS for twenty-five years.  She was a finalist for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award, competing against other teachers from public and private schools throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  Ms. Sheehan holds a Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Towson University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Mr. Jeffrey DiRenzo, Principal of Park Hall Elementary School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary's County Public Schools for the Washington Post Principal of the Year program.  Mr. DiRenzo has been employed with SMCPS for eighteen years, the last six in the principal role at Park Hall. He was a finalist for the Washington Post Principal of the Year Award, competing against other principals from public and private schools throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Mr. DiRenzo holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resource Management from Virginia Tech.

Ms. Denise Coyne, Assistant Principal of Chopticon High School, has been selected as the Leader of Excellence award winner.  The Leader of Excellence award was established in 2018 to recognize the essential role administrative or supervisory staff has on the school system’s success by fostering cooperation between the school or school system and the community.  Ms. Coyne has been employed with SMCPS for twenty-one years, the last seven as Assistant Principal.  Ms. Coyne holds a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Loyola University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Goucher College.   

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-10, 2024, we thank our teachers, principals, and administrative and support staff.  Every employee makes an important contribution to the success of our students.  Ms. Santos, Ms. Young, Ms. Runkles, Ms. Sheehan, Mr. DiRenzo, and Ms. Coyne will represent the school system along with all nominees for the Educational Support Professional of the Year and Outstanding Educator and other St. Mary’s County Public Schools staff at our Staff Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.  For a complete list of all school and site nominees, visit https://www.smcps.org/offices/strategic-initiatives/award-nominations

 

 

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