Congratulations to our STAR Award winners for January!


The STAR Awards program recognizes support employees who go above and beyond the call of duty in performing their job responsibilities.

Nominees are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Made significant contributions improving job efficiency, quality of services, safety or conserving resources
  • Performed a humanitarian or heroic act
  • Responded proactively by anticipating needs and solving problems without specific direction

Jonathan Washington, substitute teacher at Timber Grove Elementary

Mr. Washington has been a substitute teacher at Timber Grove for more than two years. He enjoys getting to know the individual students and their interests, and can often be found diverting from the intended lesson plan in order to personally relate the subject to his students. He volunteered to mentor a group of students by checking in with them before and after school and having lunch with them during his free time. He stays after school on Wednesday afternoons to help with the Quiet Closet program that delivers food to local families. Mr. Washington knows nearly all Timber Grove students by name, and students from all grade levels are known to get excited when they hear he will be their substitute.

Michael J. Salisbury, Sr., BOS at Catonsville Middle School

Mr. Salisbury has been mentoring students since 1986. Even after being named 2014 BOS of the year, he still makes time to mentor students during his lunch break. Mr. Salisbury is a volunteer coach for the Catonsville Middle School boys' basketball team and also assists the girls' team. In 2000, he created a sports night at Johnnycake Elementary, securing numerous prizes for the event to make sure it was a success. The proceeds from the event were donated to the family of Sgt. Bruce Prothero, a slain police officer. He has had numerous accomplishments throughout his career, including the 1999 "Outstanding Chief, Mentor and Friend to All Award" at Johnnycake Elementary and being named the 2015 County Chamber of Commerce Special Areas Educator of the Year.

Shirley Girard, Paraeducator at Dundalk Middle School

Shirley Girard continuously goes above and beyond her duties as a paraeducator, providing support for teachers and students alike. If a teacher has to leave the room for any reason, she is always ready to help the lesson along. She is also willing and able to help out in the front office. Mrs. Girard works with her assigned teachers to make sure all students in the class are thriving. She is respectful to teachers' schedules and informs them in advance if she is unable to make it on time. She has helped with a myriad of tasks from filing for special education to being a testing accommodator. She has even volunteered to accompany injured students so that they may have a familiar and kind face with them in an emergency situation. She consistently gives 100 percent of her energy to helping students from multiple backgrounds and across grade levels. Many former students still stop by after school on a regular basis to talk and reflect with her. Her commitment to the Dundalk Middle community is undeniable.

Deborah Jackson, Guidance Secretary at George Washington Carver Center

Ms. Jackson's work improves efficiency for the entire School Counseling Department. One of her greatest strengths is her ability to anticipate the needs of her teammates and find fast and effective ways to address them. For example, she takes the initiative to organize personalized folders for each college-prospective student every year. Her organization and forethought provides students with the resources that they need to begin the college application process as soon as possible. Ms. Jackson seeks to have a positive relationship with each Carver student. She helps to maintain a safe and friendly environment by greeting each student individually with a smile and pleasant conversation. She especially goes out of her way to connect with students who often feel marginalized in public education.

Christine Buckalew, Administrative Assistant at Sparrows Point Middle School

Christine Buckalew has been described by administration and faculty as “ridiculously efficient,” “extremely technologically savvy,” and “vital to our success.” School leadership members  approach her with all types of challenges, from student schedules to redesigning Back-to-School Night and beyond. She consistently offers intelligent answers with consummate professionalism. Ms. Buckalew provides essential support that allows the school community to flourish. She anticipates issues and acts to address them before problems arise, supplying her team members with elegant, creative solutions. As a parent of a Sparrows Point student as well as an administrator, she understands that summer reading, sixth grade orientation, and magnet school applications aren’t just bureaucratic paperwork; they are events and experiences in the lives of children and their families that have real importance. Thus, she is painstakingly thorough when facilitating and managing the tasks that fill her days.


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