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Staff Focus

Photos of exceptional staff

A world-class educational system fully leverages the talent, energy and creativity of highly engaged staff. Staff engagement is a prerequisite to student engagement so we foster a culture that brings out the best in our employees.

Staff Focus: Suzanne McMurtray, ARL Liaison, Homewood Center

McMurtray began as a computer science teacher and is now busy ensuring Homewood students in ARL and Gateway programs have what they need to succeed, providing students and families with supports and resources, cultivating a positive school environment and uplifting staff.

Staff Focus: Stephanie Discepolo, CTE Resource Teacher

Discepolo—who has dedicated her entire career to HCPSS—has since been working as a CTE resource teacher for 18 years. Generally, she works with local organizations to develop and grow programs for students, mentors new teachers, facilitates professional development for CTE teachers, advises students on post-secondary opportunities, runs the Career Academies Summer Programs, oversees the marketing of CTE programs, organizes special events like the Women in Engineering conference and more.

Staff Focus: Katherine “Kathy” Kirn, Home and Hospital Teacher

For the last 10 years, Kirn has been working one-on-one with Howard County students who can’t go to school because of physical illness or disability, emotional crisis or chronic health impairment.

Staff Focus: Kathleen Wojcik, Agricultural Science Academy Teacher, Applications and Research Laboratory

Kathleen Wojcik exudes strength and competence as the first teacher of the newly re-established Agriculture and Natural Resources Academy (Agricultural Science Academy). All her experiences have equipped her for this role as not only teacher, but advocate for the agriculture industry and students considering an agriculture career path.

Staff Focus: Dr. Cherise Hunter, Policy Manager

Whether it’s ensuring all children receive an equitable education or finding a new slow cooker recipe her children will enjoy, HCPSS Policy Manager Dr. Cherise Hunter is always looking to improve the world around her–at work, in the community and at home.

Staff Focus: Derek Jackson, Second Grade Teacher, Gorman Crossing Elementary School

“It takes a village to raise a child” and “never ever give up, there shall be brighter days” are two mantras that ring true for Gorman Crossing Elementary School second grade teacher Derek Jackson, who found his adoptive family from the foster care system.

Staff Focus: Dawson Robertson, Program Head of Work Study/Transition

Dawson Robertson, HCPSS program head of Work Study/Transition, spent a decade exploring careers and the country before settling down in his home state to pursue his calling to help others.

Staff Focus: Lori Miller, ESOL Support Counselor

Growing up, HCPSS ESOL Support Counselor Lori Miller’s dream job was to be a foreign ambassador. In her current role, Miller supports English learners at Long Reach High School, Oakland Mills High School and the Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL), so as she sees it: “I feel that’s what I do now by working with families and students from all over the world.”

Staff Focus: Diane Caporaletti, Manager, Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School

Diane Caporaletti is the longtime manager of the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, where she combines her facility management experience with her love of education. An alumna of Wilde Lake, Caporaletti excels as a jack of all trades, doing whatever needs to be done to help the shows shine bright.

Staff Focus: Kimberlyn Pratesi, Principal, Hammond Elementary School

Hammond Elementary School Principal Kimberlyn Pratesi’s passion for education has never wavered, from her childhood days playing school in her basement to winning this year’s HCPSS 2018 Principal of the Year award.