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School system salutes milestone employees

   

Left to right, Karen Burggraf and Michael “Dennis” Mooney

Prince Frederick, MD - The traditional recognition of Calvert County Public Schools’ (CCPS) milestone employees was held Thursday, Feb. 11 at Calvert High School (CHS). Over 150 employees with 20 to 45 years of service in education were honored. Calvert school officials bestow the recognition on the 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45-year employees regardless of what system they previously worked.

This year, one of the 45-year honorees is fairly new to Calvert’s system but no stranger to Southern Maryland. For nearly 30 years Karen Burggraf taught science in the Charles County public school system. A native of Western Pennsylvania and a graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Burggraf told The BayNet how she ended up in Southern Maryland. “There were no jobs for teachers in Western Pennsylvania,” she recalled. “My husband and I were both teachers, and we came here.”

Burggraf followed up tenure as a classroom teacher with a decade of being an inclusion resource instructor in Charles. She came to Calvert in 2009 and became a co-teaching teacher specialist.

“I love teaching,” Burggraf responded when asked why she has worked in education for such a lengthy period. “I’ve been given the opportunity to train teachers.”

Burggraf had to think for a few seconds when asked which she enjoyed more—teaching young students or instructing professional educators. “I have enjoyed both, but I can reach more kids by teaching the teachers,” she stated. Are the newer teachers as good as her colleagues were when she started her career? “These teachers can be as good as they want to be,” she declared.

Burggraf, who holds a master’s of education degree from the University of Maryland, will be officially retiring from education this spring.

Michael “Dennis” Mooney, an electrician teacher at the Career and Technology Academy (CTA), was also saluted for 45 years of educational service. Before that, Mooney was a commercial and industrial electrician and supervised electrical work. “I’ve met a lot of students and have seen a lot of them become excellent electricians,” said Mooney.

Like Burggraf, Mooney is also hoping to guide his teaching colleagues. Last summer he became president of the Calvert Education Association (CEA), the organization that negotiates with CCPS’ administrators on behalf of teachers.
Mooney has no immediate retirement plans. “I’ll do this as long as I can accomplish something for the teachers,” he said.

This year CCPS officials also recognized five 40-year education employees. They are CCPS Central Office Warehouse Foreman James Dent, who was hired by the school system as a carpenter/painter in 1977; Letty McNulty, currently teaching physical education at Windy Hill Elementary School; Michele Nycum, Huntingtown Elementary School (HES) guidance counselor; Kathleen Parker, currently a HES teacher; and Catherine Vogel, who has taught math at Northern High School for 40 years.

“You’ve hung in there,” said CCPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Curry to the milestone employees gathered in the CHS Atrium. Curry quoted a line from Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” in saluting the employees’ longevity. “Twenty years now, Where',' they go? Twenty years, I don't know, I sit and I wonder sometimes, where they've gone.”

While Curry resisted the urge to sing, the members of the CHS Chamber Choir and CHS Musical Theatre Group did perform for the honorees. The chamber choir sang the Star Spangled Banner after the CHS NJROTC Color Guard presented the colors. The musical theatre group performed “Blue Moon”—the Marcels’ doo-wop version; and Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.”

The event, which was catered by Rita B. Catering, was organized and facilitated by CCPS’ Department of Human Resources under the direction of Dr. Victoria D. Karol.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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