Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007

Clarksburg Chamber honors Pfeiffer for her efforts

Organization recognizes that her work to get a new middle school in town is good for business

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Donna Pfeiffer won an award from the new Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce for her advocacy to get more schools for the community, but she does not think the fight is over.

Pfeiffer won the club’s first Civic Achievement Award for her efforts in convincing the county school superintendent to build a new middle school in Clarksburg instead of Montgomery Village. She was one of three coordinators for the Clarksburg Cluster that pushed for the change, which was announced in October.

The award was handed out earlier this month.

‘‘We are celebrating and we are relieved,” Pfeiffer said. ‘‘But we have got to stay vigilant and we have got to make sure the [Montgomery County Public Schools] is on top of the numbers. If Park and Planning is going to continue allowing the building, then we have got to get the infrastructure. We have got to get schools for these kids.”

The school system had planned to build the next new middle school on Centerway Park in Montgomery Village for the Watkins Mill Cluster. MCPS officials envisioned the school as a feeder into Watkins Mill High School to complement Montgomery Village Middle School and end the practice of students at Neelsville Middle School going to either Watkins Mill or Clarksburg high schools.

Neelsville and Rocky Hill middle schools would feed into Clarksburg High School only.

Pfeiffer collected data to convince the school system of the need in Clarksburg. She contacted every developer in Clarksburg to determine their construction projections and the number of building permits they had.

Pat Darby, president of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber gave Pfeiffer the award because the relocation of the middle school represented a positive step for Clarksburg after the town had been mired in recent construction problems.

Pfeiffer is organized, dedicated and she cares about the community, he said.

‘‘[Getting the school] was a great thing for Clarksburg,” Darby said. ‘‘Schools bring young families into the community and it makes the community prosper.”

Pfeiffer credited her school cluster colleagues, Sonja Leaman and Jaimie Jacobson of Germantown, for helping to convince the county school system to make the change. She also said the greater Clarksburg community was very supportive of the effort, sending letters to the Board of Education and the County Council and attended community meetings.

Pfeiffer was the Parent-Teacher Association president of Rocky Hill Middle School for two years before this school year started. She is the secretary for the Clarksburg Civic Association and is a member of the Clarksburg Planning Committee. She said her work with those three organizations has helped her to understand the issues association with the town of Clarksburg.

Gordon Taylor, owner of the Upcounty Fine Wine & Beer in the Highlands of Clarksburg shopping center, said Pfeiffer represents the spirit of the community and her accomplishment is invaluable.

‘‘I think that as we see growth and investment, whether it is private investment or public investment, it says a lot to a business owner,” Taylor said. ‘‘It drives you to feel that the money that you have invested and the time you are putting in is being equaled. It is a critical thing. It is what everyone is going to be looking for in the business community.”