Accokeek Mom Stephanie Pressley is a single parent with a full-time job as program coordinator for internal medicine at Prince George’s Hospital Center.
Despite balancing a full workload with the responsibility of raising a child on her own, she still manages to have time for other children, too.
Pressley’s daughter, Jennifer, now a sophomore at Penn State University, says she can’t remember a time when her mother wasn’t around, ready to help out.
“Since I can remember, she’s been there,” Jennifer said. “It makes a big difference in my life that she helps out in many other students’ lives.”
Even though she's at school, Jennifer says that hasn’t stopped her mother from being involved.
Pressley applied to be part of the parent council at the university, which Jennifer says required her to go through several interviews before being selected. She was one of 20 parents selected.
Last year, Pressley was awarded the Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for Prince George's County.
PIMA is a statewide program that recognizes parents for support of public education in areas of parent involvement, according to Young-chan Han, a family involvement specialist with MSDE.
“She’s such a positive person who gets everyone involved,” Han said.
Pressley was nominated by the staff at her daughter’s former high school, Gwynn Park in Brandywine, where Jennifer says she is well known among the students and staff – even to the point of being mistaken for an employee.
“Over the years at Gwynn Park High School, I have been privileged to watch her and her daughter, time and again, successfully rally others around them to support a wide variety of events, causes and organizations,” George Thayer, assistant principal at Gwynn Park, wrote of Pressley in her PIMA nomination.
According to Donna Hathaway Beck, the Prince George’s County Public Schools board member for District 9, Pressley worked as a committed “band mom” at the high school, in addition to spearheading several other initiatives.
Beck, who is a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says she and Pressley worked together to deliver a program at the school about how parents can speak to their teens about drunk driving and alcohol.
“She’s very committed, very positive, very understanding,” Beck said of Pressley. “Stephanie is the type of parent the kids were proud to know.”
Jennifer says her mother has relationships with students she didn’t even know, many of whom still keep in contact with Pressley even after leaving for college.
“She puts me first, but she also puts other kids first,” Jennifer said. “I’m proud of her to do all that and be a single mom.”
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