Board of Education Briefs 12/8

December 09, 1999

Boonsboro Elementary School teachers Sharon Palm and Karen Johnston are Washington County's first nationally certified teachers.

The pair underwent "the most rigorous certification process in the country," according to Supervisor of Human Resources and Personnel Donna Newcomer-Coble.

They are two of only 10 in Maryland to pass the test this year. The state has a total of 24 nationally certified teachers.

To become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Palm and Johnston submitted extensive portfolios and took an eight-hour exam July 6. There is a 40 percent pass rate, Palm said.


"I'm truly in awe of your accomplishment," said School Board member Edwin Hayes. "It's the pinnacle of your profession. Not only do we have blue ribbon schools, but now we have blue ribbon teachers."

Palm said her husband had to pull her off the ceiling when she heard the news.

"We're in a great state to be teaching because our state curriculum is in line with national standards," Johnston said. "Our county and our state are on the right track."

The Washington County Board of Education has a new president: Paul Bailey, who is the former vice president.

Dori Nipps has assumed the role of vice president.

The changes came as the School Board, at its annual reorganization meeting, elected new officers Tuesday.

Former president Edwin Hayes stepped down and the election was unanimous. The terms last a year.

New surveillance cameras and monitors for all county middle and high schools will be used under a policy the Washington County Board of Education approved Tuesday night.

The School Board voted to accept the donated security systems, a gift valued at $19,377. Board policy requires a vote to accept gifts of large monetary value.

The board also awarded a certificate of commendation to Lynn Bibbee, Sam's Club community involvement coordinator, who organized an effort to buy the equipment for schools.

Bibbee's initiative led to several fund-raisers and contributions from various community businesses.

The School Board received the equipment on Nov. 12. Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee said one set of four cameras and a monitor has been installed at Northern Middle School.

Bibbee thanked the board, saying support from the community in the project was overwhelming. "When kids go to school, they shouldn't have to worry about security," she said. "They are there to learn."

- Bruce Hamilton

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