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About MSDE > Pride MD Public Schools > Applause
Businesses / Community Leaders


Jim Arnett

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

Community Partners in Education

Nominated by MSDE


- Northrop Grumman continues to contribute to education in Maryland in innovative ways.  In June 2007, Jim Arnett, an electrical engineer at Northrop Grumman sponsored a school visit to Friendship Valley Elementary School in Baltimore County.  Students were given spaghetti and marshmallows, and then challenged to bridge together a 12-inch span between two desks. Mr. Arnett’s school visit and activity aligns directly with the company’s mission to inspire a new generation of engineers in the state of Maryland.


Rachel Blair, Founder

Kindness in Action

Nominated by MSDE


- The Sandy Spring Bank, as part of its Community Champions Program, honored Rachel Blair, founder of ‘Kindness in Action’ a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the education and health of women and children in developing countries, helped Bodkin Elementary School students raise money, collect donated books and pencils, and create journals for Indian children.


Stanley Brady

Community Activist

Bradbury Heights Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Denise Lynch, Principal, PGCPS


- Stanley Brady has made a commitment to provide his time, resources, and support of academic achievement and parent awareness. For several years, he has coordinated a weekly tutorial program for students that expands beyond improving academic skills. He has engaged students and their families in activities that enhance civic awareness, and a capacity to build community responsibility. Through his organization, “Step-Ahead Program” he has provided workshops for parents using local resources to donate their time and talent to facilitate the sessions. Mr. Brady has been recognized by the Prince George’s County Public Schools System Office of Community Outreach as a dedicated community activist. In addition, he provides incredible support to the administrative leadership at the schoolhouse level. Mr. Brady creates a sense of PRIDE in the combined communities of Southern Prince George’s County. 


Comcast, PRIDE Business Partner

Nominated by MSDE


- PRIDE:Maryland Public Schools would not be possible without the ongoing support of our lead business partner.  Since 2004, Comcast has donated over 5 million dollars worth of production and airtime for public service announcements featuring the accomplishments of Maryland students, teachers, and public schools. Business partner Comcast immediately signed on to help get the word out about what is right in public education today.  Through the pro bono assistance of Comcast, we are able to share the success stories like those featured in the PRIDE brochure and on our website, and to provide students with the important message that they should be proud of the schools they attend and the hard work that they do.


Dr. Charles M. Christian

Professor/Founding Director of Black SAGA

Coppin State University

Nominated by MSDE


- Dr. Christian is a distinguished professor at Coppin State University and founding director of Black SAGA, a program the challenges all students to learn more about the African American experience.  Student self-esteem and academic skills have been strengthened through its creation.  In addition, Black SAGA has proven to build geography, vocabulary, research, and SAT skills.  Dr. Christian is honored for the PRIDE he has created through Black SAGA.


Judge Herman C. Dawson

Central High School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- For struggling students at Central High School in Prince George’s County, Saturdays are now a time when they can catch up on their academics, thanks to the work of Circuit Court Judge Herman C. Dawson. His voluntary program, nicknamed by students “Judge Dawson’s Saturday School,” includes hour-and-a-half sessions of Mathematics and English, as well as an assembly keynoted by Judge Dawson himself on the importance of education. Along with the Rising S.T.A.R.S. Youth Scholarship Foundation that Dawson helped found, students have an outlet to learn the fundamentals they need to advance to the next grade, and then those who complete the program and go to college are also eligible for a foundation scholarship.  


Bob Dembo

BP Gas Station

Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Nominated by MSDE


-  Devin Jackson, former student of Largo High School, is the 2008 recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Kettering Civic Federation’s Scholarship Committee and funded by Mr. Bob Dembo, a managing member of the BP Gas Station in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  Devin Jackson, who now attends Morgan State University, will use his $750 scholarship on books. Mr. Dembo, who has funded four academic scholarships out of his own pocket to Largo High School seniors since 2001, believes giving back to the community is of great importance and wants to give back to the people that give him their business.  Scholarships have been given to four students since the program began eight years ago, when funding has been available. When the program began, the scholarships which are given for tuition and books, ranged from $100 to $150. Mr. Dembo has since increased the scholarships to $750. Students who apply are required to write a one-page essay about their plans after high school – scholarships are awarded in late July.


Barbara Gannon


Talbot County Public Schools

Nominated by Sally Berties, Easton Elementary School


- Barbara Gannon volunteers at Easton Elementary School several times per week.  From photocopying and distribution of materials - to actively organizing a landscaping committee, Ms. Gannon will do anything that needs to be done at Easton Elementary. 

Highlandtown Boys & Girls Club

Baltimore, Maryland

Nominated by Angela Young, Parent


- The Highlandtown Boys & Girls Club is an organization that shows PRIDE in our public school children. The Club has an after-school program, a summer camp, as well as an extensive list of other activities that are beneficial to the growth and development of our public school children. The children who attend these various programs exhibit what they learn on a day-to-day basis in school and are given the opportunity to learn new things within the organization. The staff at the Highlandtown Boys & Girls Club teaches children to have PRIDE in themselves, PRIDE in their education, and PRIDE in their school.


Hilton Hotels Corporation

College Scholarship Fund

Baltimore, Maryland

Nominated by MSDE


- To encourage Baltimore high school students to pursue careers in the hospitality and tourism industry, the Hilton Hotels Corporation has created a $3 million college scholarship fund. The scholarship aid has been earmarked for students at the National Academy Foundation – in the Digital Harbor High School complex. The scholarships will be awarded to graduating seniors focusing in hospitality and tourism. The students will be eligible for the scholarships beginning in the 2008-2009 school year.  The 20-story, 756-room Hilton Hotel, to be on Pratt Street and adjacent to the Baltimore Convention Center, is scheduled to open in August 2008.


Robin Kable, Director

Carroll County Public Schools Education Foundation

Nominated by MSDE


- Robin Kable, Director of the Carroll County Public Schools Education Foundation, raises funds for innovative and creative programs that are not covered by the school budget.  Carroll County students will compete in a robotics contest, shoot clay animation movies, and transition more easily from elementary to middle school thanks to Ms. Kable, who helped found the education foundation.  In May 2006, she helped establish a fundraising organization modeled after similar groups that raise money for colleges and hospitals, and successfully raised $40,000 in just six months from donations. Ms. Kable and foundation members boarded a school bus for the first-ever ‘Star Patrol’ to travel throughout the county to distribute $25,000 to 18 teachers, counselors and librarians to help fund learning opportunities that the school board could not fit into its budget.  Ms. Kable is being credited for helping to make teachers’ dreams come true.  Ms. Kable and the foundation’s board have just begun - 2008’s fundraising goal is $250,000.


KaBOOM!, Ravens All Community Team

Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Over 300 volunteers joined together to turn a degraded, grassy, area outside of Collington Square Charter School in East Baltimore into a fully equipped playground. The volunteers were able to create, in one day, a landscaped playground with amenities that include rock-climbing walls, monkey bars, swings, and a slide. In addition to the Collington Square playground, KaBOOM! has built 1,200 playgrounds in low-income communities nationwide.


Zora Lathan

Executive Director, Chesapeake Ecology Center (CEC)

Nominated by Jeffrey L. Tillar, J. Albert Adams Academy


- Ms. Lathan serves as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Ecology Center (CEC) – a non-profit environmental organization. Ms. Lathan has partnered with J. Albert Adams Academy to help serve its at-risk population of middle school students. According to her colleagues, “Zora is tireless in her dedication and work with students and teachers to give them ‘hands-on’ experience learning conservation landscaping concepts and techniques.”


Maryland Mathematics and Science Coalition, Columbia, Maryland

  in partnership with Eastern Middle School, Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- NASA has awarded one of six grants to the Maryland Mathematics and Science Coalition in partnership with Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, “to help inspire the next generation of leaders and explorers.” The grants, awarded in cooperation with the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions (NASSMC) are to support the formation and operation of partnerships committed to strengthening and sustaining NASA Explorer Schools beyond the initial three years of NASA funding. The partnerships are to improve statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.


Maryland Teachers of the Year Program Corporate Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors
Maryland Automobile Dealers Association
McDonald’s Family of Greater Baltimore
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

Platinum Sponsors
Bank of America
Lockheed Martin
Peripheral Vision, LLC
Verizon – Maryland
Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Gold Sponsors
The Baltimore Sun
M & T Bank
Maryland Public Television
Maryland State Teachers Association
State Farm Insurance Company

Silver Sponsor
Sun Trust Bank

Michael Miller

Author and Motivational Speaker

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Best selling author, Michael Miller, has pledged to pay for four years of college for five recent graduates of Prince George’s County Schools.  Daryl Freeman and Kevin Smith of Frederick Douglass High School, and Steven Whitehead, Steven Darby and Maurice Robinson of Oxon Hill High School, will benefit from Mr. Miller’s benevolence.  Mr. Miller said he hopes he found students who are at a crossroads in their lives and that his generosity will point them in the right direction.


Preston Monroe


Oxon Hill Middle School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Charlotte Ayers, PGCPS


- Preston Monroe is a paraprofessional for the 8th grade Special Education classes at Oxon Hill Middle School. He has been in Prince George’s County for 11 years, and is considered an invaluable mentor, and even surrogate parent, to many students and teachers. When needed he has bought uniforms, provided lunch money and instruction, and given sound advice. In the community, he is a motivational speaker at neighboring schools, and has served as a substitute teacher. Furthermore, as a professional singer with “Pookie Hudson’s Spaniels” he has raised funds to support Oxon Hill Middle School. Father, grandfather, and “Certified Toast Master,” Mr. Monroe is an asset and beloved by his community.


Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems,

Northrop Grumman Engineering Scholarship Awards & Platinum Sponsor

Maryland Public Schools; Business Partner & Sponsor

Nominated by Dr. Darla Strouse, MSDE


- A scholarship of $10,000 was awarded to a graduating high school senior pursuing an engineering degree in each of the 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. The funds are to be used for tuition, books, lodging, and or meals at the institution of higher learning of the recipient’s choice. In addition to the scholarship awards to Maryland students Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is a Platinum Sponsor of the Maryland Teacher of the Year competition providing a $1000 gift each year to the winner of the Maryland Teacher of the Year competition. The funds are to be used for registration fees for a conference of their choice during the winner’s reigning year.


W. Eugene Pascoe

Soccer Coach

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- W. Eugene Pascoe has contributed to the self-esteem and success of many children in the Prince George’s community. His soccer program includes boy and girls from grades PreK-12. He has allowed many children to actively participate, even if familial finances prevent them from doing so. Many of these children look to Mr. Pascoe as a surrogate father-figure. An advocate for parent involvement, he encourages parents to become coaches, which contributes to the development and communication for the families in the Prince George’s community. Mr. Pascoe’s soccer program helps children interact with male mentors in a positive manner.


Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI), Lanham, Maryland

and Gladys Leonard, Mentor Coordinator at Gaywood Elementary School, Prince Georges County Public Schools

Nominated by Diana Bailey, MSDE


- This demonstrates a very good example of a true school/business partnership. SSAI, which continually supports ongoing programs at Gaywood Elementary School, is an aerospace company with 30 of its more than 500 employees supporting the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Gladys Leonard arranged for a group of Gaywood Elementary School sixth graders to help SSAI employees put together baskets for the families of their colleagues in Mississippi. The baskets contained food, SSAI t-shirts and post cards from Gaywood Elementary offering encouragement to the hurricane victims.


Seymour Sheinkopf


Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


-  Seymour Sheinkopf, a 90-year-old Burtonsville resident, has helped build students’ minds and self-esteem for more than 14 years. The former New England engineer and business owner is a tutor for WINGS, a county-run mentoring program that helps teach self-esteem and academic skills to youngsters connected with MCPS Gifted and Talented programs. At the end of the semester-long program, students begin to learn more about themselves, personally and academically. At the end of the program, they present a project for parents and fellow students to see. In February, Mr. Sheinkopf was honored for his work as part of a WINGS celebration at the school board building in Rockville. Mr. Sheinkopf has worked with students from across the country, logging miles in his RV to tutor students and discuss their desires.


Christian V. Siriano


2008 Bravo’s “Project Runway”

Nominated by MSDE


- Christian V. Siriano, 2008 Project Runway winner, was born to design. Raised by a creative family in Annapolis, Maryland, Christian was first introduced to the arts through his sister’s interest in dance. Christian began designing professionally at just 13-years-old while working at a trendy hair salon. Confident, he wanted to pursue a career in fashion, Christian went on to study fashion design at The Baltimore School for the Arts and, upon graduation, at the American Intercontinental University in London. Christian returned to the States and moved to New York City after graduating – his big break came when he earned a spot on season four of Bravo’s hit program Project Runway. Despite fierce competition, Christian earned his spot as the show’s youngest ever winner, fan favorite, and a rising star in the fashion world.


Sunrise Rotary Club of Ellicott City

Nominated by Rolf Grafwallner, MSDE


- In putting its mission into practice, the Sunrise Rotary Club generously invests its time and financial resources to improve the quality of life for the County's low-income and at-risk children.  To make a positive difference for these children and their families, it has established strong partnerships especially with the Community Action Council (CAC) of Howard County – non-profit agency that administers programs for low-income families.  The Sunrise Rotary Club has brought local business organizations, the Howard County Public School System, and The Horizon Foundation, the County’s largest community health foundation, together to assist on projects.


William Trice

Seabrook Elementary

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Marvel L. Smith, Seabrook Elementary School


- William Trice, Volunteer, mentors two young men as part of the Black Male Achievement Seabrook/University of Maryland Partnership. He also works around the school volunteering for such roles as hallway monitor and coordinator of the yearly playground basketball tournament and luncheon. He is an exceptionally caring individual and is an asset to the Seabrook Elementary community.


WBAL Radio, PRIDE Business Partner

Nominated by MSDE


- Through the generosity and support of WBAL Radio, PRIDE: Maryland Public Schools' campaign also features radio public service announcements featuring the accomplishments of Maryland public school students and a teacher told in their own voices. The spots air on WBAL radio at prime airtime--even during a few summer Orioles games.


WHFC-FM  91.1

Gary Helton, General Manager

Harford County Public Schools

Nominated by Don Morrison, Harford County Public Schools


- At Mr. Helton’s invitation a weekly, half-hour radio show, “Our Public Schools” debuted during the 2004-2005 school year. The radio show, hosted by Harford County Public School Information Director Don Morrison, features newsmakers in the area of public education. Every Wednesday the show provides a forum for teachers, board of education members, parents, community members, students, and support service personnel to emphasize the positive side of public education and allows the public to learn more about education topics. Mr. Helton has provided the airtime, the expertise of his staff, and engineering services—all free of charge.


Brian Wessner

E4 Answers Inc. & Tool Factory Inc., Howard County Public Schools; Wilde Lake Middle School Business Partner

Nominated by Bob Keddell


- Brian Wessner helped build a 100 classroom network of refurbished computers for the BRIDGES Over Wilde Lake 21st Century Learning Center after school program. The network of 100 classrooms features individual computer stations for all after school participants. Further, Brian prepares the machines with specific locked down desktops that focuses students on programs that address the specific goals and objectives of BRIDGES Over Wilde Lake.


Western Maryland Building & Construction Trades Council

Partner to Center for Career & Technology Education

Allegany County Public School System

Nominated by Deborah Bittinger, Allegany County Public Schools


- The Western Maryland Building and Construction Trades Council has been involved with Career Center programs in a variety of informal projects since 1990. This partnership benefits the students and the school by providing a nationally recognized standard of a rigorous technical and academic curriculum/program. It further benefits the students by facilitating their successful entry into employment. It raises the bar for student achievement in that a passing grade on the apprenticeship test is 75% rather than the overall county standard of 60%.  Upon graduation from high school students will be able to obtain higher starting pay with benefits, and this promise of successful employment, encourages students to achieve to the best of their ability. The career and technology educational opportunities that have been the outgrowth of the Career Center’s partnership with the Western Maryland Building and Construction Trades Council has strengthened the entire fabric of Western Maryland’s economy and society.




In Focus
PRIDE: Maryland Public Schools Brochure
Take a glimpse into the campaign that celebrates the successes of Maryland Public Schools. Featured sections of the PRIDE brochure include:What is PRIDE? PRIDE Profiles. Ways to Show Your Pride


Contact Information
Gail V. Tucker, PRIDE Liaison
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0482
Fax:  410-333-2275
Email:  gtucker@msde.state.md.us
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