Kassie Cardona, a pupil personnel worker (PPW) at John F. Kennedy High School, has been named 2022-2023 Maryland State PPW of the Year.
Colleagues say she is a compassionate, dedicated and knowledgeable staff member, which has earned her a reputation as the go-to PPW with the answers. With a background as an ESOL counselor, Cardona is a strong advocate for equality for students and families, and she also works to build strong relationships and partnerships between schools and the community. She has worked with a number of organizations outside the school system, which have provided services to the Hispanic community. She has advocated at the state level for more inpatient resources to help teens with substance abuse issues.
Cardona is a past president of the Montgomery County Pupil Personnel Worker Association. She reorganized the association and began to implement new programs to enhance the position within the school district. The communities and schools supported by her are represented by a large number of immigrant and refugee families. She is driven to creating safe, kind and loving spaces for all children, which allows her to build lifelong bonds. During the COVID-19 shutdown, she co-developed and still maintains a comprehensive county resources guide that is now widely distributed and used among school staff. She has conducted trainings for county leaders and other staff on restorative justice and de-escalation strategies, and has served as a mentor for new PPWs.