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About MSDE > Pride MD Public Schools > Applause




Thomas Acampora

Baltimore Talent Development High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Marcie Thoma, MSDE

- First year teacher, Thomas Acampora, applied for and received a Save Our History grant to restore 80 orchards of Carroll’s Hundred, a national historic landmark in Carroll Park. Thomas and his students completed the first phase of the project in the spring of 2006, and consequently received an additional grant and award from the History Channel. The objective of The Black Damask Project is to save significant African American history at the historical site by restoring and interpreting the 18th century landscape. Mr. Acampora and several students were invited to Washington, D.C. to accept the award.

Hortense Adams

Deerfield Run Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- A sixth-grade teacher of 26 years, Hortense Adams, recently received the Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher Award for her service to Prince George’s County Public School students.  Her nomination letter for the award included Ms. Adams mantra: “Being a teacher is probably one of the most honorable and noble professions.  We are training young people and training them to be what they want to be.  I guess that’s why I’ve been teaching for so long.  There is nothing like being a teacher.”


Derek Anderson

Huntingtown High School

Calvert County Public Schools


Linda Beck

Clarksville Middle School

Howard County Public Schools


Kenneth Bernstein

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Prince George’s County Public Schools


Cheryl Ann Cox

Marley Elementary School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools


Margarita Doughty

Linganore High School

Frederick County Public Schools


Allison Finn

James Hubert Blake High School

Montgomery County Public Schools


Katherine Frederick

Leonardtown Middle School

St. Mary’s County Public Schools


Jill Morrow

Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School

Charles County Public Schools


 - Derek Anderson, Linda Beck, Kenneth Bernstein, Cheryl Cox, Margarita Doughty, Allison Finn, Katherine Frederick, and Jill Morrow, are recipients of the Washington Post’s 2010 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. This award honors exceptional men and women in the teaching profession who strive to ensure that students received the highest quality instruction, which is vital to the global approach to student achievement and academic excellence. They join other education across the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. region, who have demonstrated their undeniable commitment to the students of Maryland’s public schools.


Joyce Erb-Appleman


Berwyn Heights Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Members of the Community


- Joyce Erb-Appleman, a third-grade teacher at Berwyn Heights Elementary School, has been selected to receive the 2007 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award for Prince George’s County. The Agnes Meyer Award is presented annually to one teacher from each Washington metropolitan area school district.


Charlie Benjamin


Occupational Skills Training Center (OSTC)

Nominated by MSDE


- Charlie Benjamin, an instructor at The Occupational Skills Training Center in Baltimore City and the only school in the Correctional Education Program dedicated solely to occupational preparation, received an Innovation in Continuing Education Award from The Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) - an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the document management and communications marketplace. The school’s Printing/Graphic Arts program was the first in Maryland to receive the prestigious industry accreditation in PrintEd. Students in Mr. Benjamin’s program receive entry-level training in all aspects of graphic communications. The 2007 Excellence in Education and Education of the Year Awards honor worldwide academic institutions and professional organizations for their educational and innovative efforts relating to the document management and communications industry. Recipients address industry issues, reflect state-of-the-art technology and benefit the industry through their programs.


James Hubert Blake High School Teachers

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Two James Hubert Blake High School teachers received Leadership Awards from the Congressional Black Caucus Education Braintrust in partnership with the Education Technology Think Tank. Barbara Jeweler received an award for pioneering technology literacy through media production, and Raquel Marshall received an award for expanding minority participation in engineering and technology careers.  Each award recipient has embraced pioneering paradigms that create opportunity for students to receive the rich teaching and learning environments needed in the 21st century, and network with leaders in the African American community. Both teachers were honored in Washington, D.C.


Maureen Brittingham

Stephen Decatur High School

Worcester County Public Schools

Nominated by Cindy Walter, WCPS


- Maureen Brittingham has taken over the Communication Arts Program at Stephen Decatur High School and has made it a source of pride for the school. The daily announcements are professionally created and include student made videos to promote clubs, organizations, and special events. She willingly takes on projects that go far beyond the classroom. This year, her students created videos for our incoming freshmen that highlight the qualities of the Decatur Way Spirit in the school. Stephen Decatur High School is extremely proud to have Mrs. Brittingham on their staff!


Dale K. Brown, I

Principal, Lockerman Middle School

Caroline County Public Schools

Nominated by David Stevens


- Mr. Dale Brown, I, principal of Lockerman Middle School, is being honored for his tireless advocacy to students, community and families of Lockerman, and his hands-on, overnight, week-long participation at the NorthBay Environmental Learning Center in January 2007.


Sharon Brown

Special Education Teacher

Oliver Beach Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Jean E. Satterfield, MSDE


- Sharon Brown, a special education teacher, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science (PAEMST) – an honor bestowed on the nation’s top K-12 educators in those fields. Ms. Brown is recognized for the roles she takes on beyond her classroom that include, teaching in an after-school math program; supervising student teachers; and helping to write county curriculum. Ms. Brown has taught in Baltimore County for nearly 15 years. As part of the award, she will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at her discretion, several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with member of Congress, and attend a White House Awards Ceremony.


Elvira Brundage

Glenarden Woods Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Cecelia E. Jones-Bowlding


 - Elvira Brundage, a first-grade teacher at Glenarden Woods Elementary School, reaches into the soul of a young reader and opens the world of what it means to read. For the last three years, her first-grade students read, annually, more than 1,000 books every first quarter of the school year. Her classroom is print enriched and every corner offers a learning opportunity for her students. It is filled with activities that help the struggling reader and unlocks a world of adventure for the solid reader. Mrs. Brundage’s enthusiasm about teaching creates the energy that makes her students want to learn more.  In addition, she is a teacher who also supports her students’ families; she tutors before and after school, and provides her parents with “homework workshops.”  Mrs. Brundage is hailed as the “Wizard of Getting Students to Read and Getting Parents Involved in the Education Process.”


Michael Buckingham

Arundel High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- The Sandy Spring Bank, as part of its Community Champions Program, honored Michael Buckingham, a teacher at Arundel High School, for his work as a firefighter after having been nominated by the Anne Arundel Fire Department.  In 2006 alone, Michael ran responses to 293 calls.


Ian Chisholm

Teacher, Chatsworth Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Linda Esterson, Parent


- Ian Chisholm is recognized for his dedication to the success and emotional, social, and cognitive development of each and every student, while holding very high expectations for their academic performance, and garnering respect from every student he comes in contact with. For 10 of his 16 years in the educational field, Mr. Chisholm has been a ‘shining star’ in an outstanding Chatsworth School magnet program. In any of his free periods, he is with students in some capacity. We all look back on our childhood and fondly remember an educator who we will never forget because of their positive influence in our lives – he is that educator.


William H. Clay

School Counselor and ‘Men of Ardmore’ Founder

Ardmore Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- William H. Clay, a counselor at Ardmore Elementary School, founded ‘Men of Ardmore’ in 2005, a school-based organization designed to promote leadership, improve grades and self-discipline among students. Thirty-two young males at Ardmore Elementary School meet three times a month, and learn to develop into strong, disciplined, and educated members of their school and communities. The in-school program teaches young men that they can be leaders and what to do to achieve leadership roles.  “They join with the notion that they have obstacles to overcome, goals to achieve, and expectations to fulfill because in many cases, young black males lack role models and follow what they see on TV and in the media, which is 65 percent negative,” states Mr. Clay. The ‘Men of Ardmore’ program is credited for helping students to improve academically, socially, as well as in overall discipline areas such as anger management. African culture, social skills, role and responsibilities as black men, self-identity, slavery, anti-gang and anti-drug activities, music, and race relations are specific issues visited by the group. Acceptance into the program is based on school attendance, motivation, suspension rate, self-discipline, and the ability to complete homework.


Jennifer Clements

Assistant Principal

Mount Hebron High School

Nominated by MSDE


- Ms. Clements was named the Maryland State Assistant Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.  She was chosen based on her collaborative leadership, curriculum instruction, and assessment and personalization. Ms. Clements is lauded by colleagues for being a personable leader who forges personalized relationships which help her to keep her finger on the pulse of personnel, students, and parents with whom she works.


Mat Clever

Physical Education Teacher,

Howard High School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Jessica Pearsall, Howard County Public Schools

- Mr. Clever has a wonderful way of building a sense of community within the school and keeps the staff informed of the achievements of the students on the team he coaches. He is consistent in his rules and expectations.

Christopher Cobb

Winfield Elementary School

Carroll County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Christopher Cobb, Health Educator at Winfield Elementary School, was recently recognized for his innovative teaching strategies with a nomination for the 2007 National Fire Protection Association Teacher of the Year Award.  Mr. Cobb was awarded for implementing two educational programs at Winfield Elementary School from the National Fire Protection Association.

Marc Cohen


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Marc Cohen, principal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School is the recipient of ASCD’s 2009 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA) in the administrator category. Mr. Cohen has helped to dramatically change the school’s climate and the community’s expectations. Student suspensions have been reduced by 73 percent and the school has now made “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act for all grades and subject areas. In addition, the number of students taking algebra has more than doubled. Mr. Cohen, who came to MLK with the goal of eliminating the racial predictability of student achievement in one year, says he believes every student is capable of achieving at very high levels, if they are provided the necessary tools. He has developed a shared leadership model and school improvement plan to help provide his students with those tools. ASCD, an international education organization, created the OYEA Program in 2002 to recognize creative and committed teachers and administrators under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the lives of children.


Clayton Culp

Broadneck High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Clayton Culp is the 2007-08 recipient of Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County. Mr. Culp teaches AP statistics, geometry, and algebra courses, working tirelessly to reach students of all skill levels and keep class interesting. Outside the classroom, the Severna Park native coaches the baseball team and is assistant coach for the football team. He also enjoys taking groups of student volunteers to New Orleans where, since 2006, he has taken three volunteer groups.

Cheree Davis

Teacher/Club Organizer

The Baltimore Talent Development High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Marcie Taylor-Thoma, MSDE

- Cheree Davis, a history teacher and club organizer at The Baltimore Talent Development High School in Baltimore City, formed the afterschool club – Youth4Change – through an Oprah Winfrey organization called “O” Ambassadors. Under her leadership, three student members in the club took part in a journey to India during the 2008 summer to study international education and participate in global volunteerism. Ms. Davis said she has always believed that students should volunteer their time in some way.

Gerald DeGrange, Principal

Brunswick Elementary School, Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by JoAnne Carter, MSDE

- Mr. Gerald DeGrange is principal at Brunswick Elementary School in Frederick County.  Under his leadership, the U.S. Department of Education recently applauded the school for reducing achievement gaps in both reading and math, as well as developing family-engagement strategies.  Brunswick Elementary outpaced the county in terms of both parent and staff satisfaction with the school’s family and community involvement effort. Brunswick Elementary was the only school in Maryland chosen for this honor.

Judy Dent

Principal, Patuxent Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Mrs. Dent has succeeded in closing the achievement gap.  She has done this through various programs such as the Rallying the Village Initiative and, to date, this program has led to increased enrollment in the PTA, a parent liaison has been established in each classroom, there are parenting workshops for K-6, and fathers are meeting on a regular basis.  In addition, 21 after-school programs have been established, the school is internationally recognized for environmental studies, and attendance has increased tremendously.

Kathleen Egan

Office of Instructional Technology

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Thea Jones, BCPS                                          

- Kathleen Egan has served as the Grant Manager for the Algebra/Data Analysis Collaborative Grant which was awarded to the Baltimore County Public Schools. The federally funded grant will end in June 2009, and the outstanding success of this grant can be attributed to the vision, management, and organizational skills of Ms. Egan. Among Ms. Egan’s many accomplishments has been the development of the Online HSA Algebra/Data Analysis course for students and the three-CPD credit professional development course titled, “Using the Online Algebra/Data Analysis for Teachers.” All three courses were developed without guidelines, and the book of online course development was written as the process was being developed. Hundreds of Maryland teachers have been trained to use these online resources. In addition, the work of Ms. Egan has made a difference for thousands of mathematic students and she is to be commended for her leadership, her management and organizational skills, and her ability to bring many diverse talents together to create resources to improve the achievement of Maryland students is exemplary.

Ruth Eisenhour, Teacher

Harford Glen Environmental Education Center

Nominated by Dennis Kirkwood, Harford County Public Schools


- After many years of bringing nature to life for students, Ms. Eisenhour, an Environmental Science Teacher, has earned recognition. Ms. Eisenhour recently was named one of three Maryland finalists for an award from the National Science Foundation for science and math teachers. Ms. Eisenhour has been teaching for 19 years.  There is a level of excitement she brings to her teaching every day that is her baseline; she loves life and she loves teaching.


Pam Engel

Glen Burnie High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Pam Engel, chairwoman of the science department at Glen Burnie High School, became one of the first teachers in the nation to successfully complete the Geneticist-Educator Network of Alliances Certification. Ms. Engel studied how students can understand genetics better, and helped design materials to better prepare students to create, analyze, and form conclusions from the topic of family pedigrees with the goal of helping them more easily grasp the complex subject of genetics.


Elizabeth "Pokey" Fair

Sparks Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Rebecca Bell, MSDE

- Ms. Elizabeth Fair, also known as “Sister Earth” and teaches students about the environment, was recognized as one of the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Environmental Education Teachers of the Year. This honor comes with a $2,500 monetary award from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.  This award is special to Ms. Fair because it combines her passion for teaching with her passion for the environment. Eco-Sharks and Outdoor Learning Club programs, which are after-school programs for third through fifth grade students, allows students to take part in four different outdoor projects every spring. The Outdoor Learning Club takes students camping, hiking and participation in other outdoor activities.  Approximately 100 students per year participate in Eco-Sharks with Ms. Fair.

R. Paul Foster

Sollers Point Technical High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Mr. Foster, a graphics arts teacher, is the recipient of the Education Awards of Excellence. The award is presented annually to one academic representative in recognition of outstanding contributions to education and training in the graphic arts. Mr. Foster has been teaching Graphic Communications for 7 years.  Mr. Foster has helped teachers move forward with PrintEd, a national accreditation for graphic communications program. In 2005, Mr. Foster was named the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce High School Teacher of the Year.

Martin Freeman

School Resource Officer and Mentor

Former Professional Baseball Player

Annapolis Middle School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Officer Martin Freeman of the Anne Arundel County Police and School Resource Officer is channeling his love of sports to boys and girls at Annapolis Middle School. Officer Freeman has become a role model and mentor since arriving in the fall of 2007 and starting the after-school fitness program. Officer Freeman’s success in his new role, as much as in his old one, on the baseball diamond for the Detroit Tigers, led to his induction into the Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Arundel High School in Anne Arundel County. He attributes his accomplishments to confidence and athleticism. Officer Freeman, an African American, says he keeps in mind his potential to be a role model to many students, particularly Black males coming from homes without fathers. The after-school fitness class helps students gain confidence that comes through athleticism and develop them into more self-assured adults that make positive decisions.

Danielle Gofstein

Jacobsville Elementary School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- The Sandy Spring Bank, as part of its Community Champions Program, honored Danielle Gofstein, a 4th grade teacher at Jacobsville Elementary School, for her efforts to link American schools with schools in East Africa through the Kenya Connect Project.

Jennifer Goodstein

Thomas S. Pyle Middle School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE

- Jennifer Goodstein, a science teacher at Thomas S. Pyle Middle School, is a recipient of the 2009 Marian Greenblatt Award in Montgomery County each year. In the classroom, Ms. Goodstein tries to balance teaching students about ecology, physics, and the scientific method while instilling the organizational and study skills needed to succeed beyond sixth grade.  Ms. Goodstein has presented at national education conferences and spearheaded a program to make books on tape for the county’s Head Start students. The Greenblatt Awards were first given in 1989. Three veteran teachers are awarded prizes each year, as is one first-year teacher. The award is a $1,000 prize and a chance at winning the county Teacher of the Year Award.

Clare Grizzard

Roland Park Elementary/Middle School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Clare Grizzard, Arts Integration Specialist, was recently named a MetLife Foundation Ambassador in Education for her efforts to strengthen the ties that bind between schools and their surrounding communities.  Just as Ms. Grizzard has been committed to instilling art into the school’s curriculum at every level, she has tried to develop strong relationships between the school and the parents, businesses, and organizations nearby. Clare Grizzard’s colleagues credit the warm environment of Roland Park Elementary in large part to her efforts.


Karen Gyolai

Enrichment Teacher, Bakerfield Elementary School

Harford County Public Schools


Simone Moran, Art Teacher, Bakerfield Elementary School

Harford County Public Schools

Nominated by Eric Cromwell, Coordinator of Accelerated Programs

Harford County Public Schools

- Mrs. Gyolai and Mrs. Moran team-taught the enrichment, art, and science activity, Edible Art Palette, to connect an art lesson to a science lesson and then apply it to the student’s real world. The students worked in teams to dye frosting in the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and then created secondary colors (orange, green, purple). Finally, they frosted vanilla wafers, and once they checked for accuracy as related to the color chart, they ate them!

Kiara Delle Hargrove

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Kiara Hargrove, a chemistry teacher at Polytechnic Institute in Baltimore City, is the 2007-2008 Milken Award recipient. Ms. Hargrove attended the Milken National Education Conference in Los Angeles and collected $25K in prize money. She was one of only two Marylanders among the 75 recipients for the 2007—2008 school year.


Jane Hatcher

New Market Middle School

Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by Gwendolyn Dorsey, FCPS


- Jane Hatcher, Special Education teacher, is a true advocate for the special needs students in a variety of settings and situations at New Market Middle School. Ms. Hatcher co-teaches math and language arts, and actively shares the teaching objectives. She works with students in the classroom in a small group setting, pairs, or individually. Ms. Hatcher is excellent at modifying assignments and assessments for students who need that accommodation. In addition, Ms. Hatcher actively participates in the IEP meetings where she provides valuable information and insight about the students in her caseload. Ms. Hatcher is the epitome of the phrase, “teach with your heart and manage with your mind.” Her dedication and determination to help special needs students be successful and understood is a daily goal. She believes in her students and she teaches with her heart every day.


Celeste Hill

Crisis Intervention Teacher

Eisenhower Middle School

Prince George's County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Celeste Hill, a crisis intervention teacher at Eisenhower Middle School, formed Devine Intelligent Vigorous Awesome Students (DIVAS) – a group for eighth grade girls to not only talk about their problems, but to have a space to grow as outspoken leaders and become active in their communities. Ms. Hill says that she is transitioning girls to become young ladies for high school. DIVAS, the group of 30 girls with diverse backgrounds, continue into its second year. In order to become a member, participants must maintain a 3.0 GPA, have no discipline problems, and write an essay on why they want to become a DIVA. Ms. Hill encourages the girls to act like young ladies by dressing and behaving appropriately. All of the girls say that they now think about how they conduct themselves, and how to have respect for themselves, as well as for others.


Chris Horne, Ronnie Voigt, Jim Sniezek, Space Day Team Leaders Teachers,

Walkersville Elementary School

Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Thanks to the leadership of Mr. Horne, Mrs. Voigt, and Mr. Sniezek, two Space Day Teams from Walkersville Elementary School were the only winners in the entire state of Maryland to win at the International Space Day competition. Both teams won for their challenges as the “Best Overall” in a competition that included nearly 300 entries from 23 states and two countries. The Mighty Space Chefs created a menu for a pre-teen astronaut and had to consider the nutrition needed for a pre-teen in space including, calories, vitamins, and taste. The Golden Retrievers created a tool to retrieve things in space by grabbing it at a certain distance and having it retract back to them. The Team Leaders will join their students as they show their designs to NASA officials and receive their award at a ceremony hosted by Senator/Astronaut John Glenn.


Michael J. Iseman

Principal, Colonel Richardson Middle School

Caroline County Public Schools

Nominated by David Stevens


- Mr. Iseman, principal of Colonel Richardson Middle School, is being lauded for his selfless commitment to the students, his devotion to community and family, and his absolute belief that all children are learners and deserve every opportunity to experience learning.  Mr. Iseman single-handedly changed the community’s perception about the week-long overnight stay at NorthBay Environmental Learning Center, by personally partaking in the week-long overnight educational experience along with the students in January 2007.


Ralene Jacobsen

Franklin Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Joyce Albert


- Ralene Jacobsen has been named “Baltimore County’s Teacher of the Year” for the 2010-2011 academic year. Ms. Jacobsen’s passion for the relevance of music, and vision that music must encompass a broader spectrum has proven to be her formula for academic success.


Ana Jakse

School Nurse

George D. Lisby Elementary School

Harford County Public Schools

Nominated by Gail V. Tucker, MSDE


- Ana Jakse started a healthy-eating initiative at G. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale, and applied for and received a grant to implement a healthy snack program in the classrooms and cafeteria. The healthy-eating program began in October 2008 with children being offered healthy foods of a pre-planned color at lunchtime. The pupils are also encouraged to wear clothes in the color of the day. Posters with color-related cartoon characters are hung throughout the school to help entice the kids to participate in the program. Addressing the childhood obesity epidemic, Ms. Jakse hopes to expand the program and implement other initiatives. Through the healthy eating program, children learn about healthy foods.


Irma E. Johnson, Principal

Dallas F. Nicholas, Sr. Elementary School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Helen B. Shelton, Principal of

North Bend Elementary School


- Principal Johnson has been named Maryland’s Distinguished Principal of the Year, the first time a city principal has won the award.  Ms. Johnson has been principal of Dallas F. Nicholas, Sr. Elementary School, the only elementary school in the city to have its own radio program, for 10 years.  Principal Johnson is credited for her commitment to the academic and social success of her students, as well as a school climate that represents an orderly, respectful, and purposeful learning environment. The effect of her leadership is documented in adequate yearly progress and high levels of student achievement on the Maryland State Assessment. Principal Johnson’s creative leadership has been a blueprint for many in developing strategies for school improvement and she will become the Area Academic Officer responsible for 30 elementary schools in the Baltimore area.


Dr. Adrianne Kaufman

Reservoir High School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Ted Nunn


- Dr. Adrianne Kaufman, an educator at Reservoir High School, is being lauded for her visionary school leadership to bring important messages through an illustration by Dr. Michael Fowlin’s one-man show presentation illustrated through a variety of roles how discrimination, intolerance, and indifference can lead to despair, to students and the community. The moving presentation demonstrates how students and their communities can all have a positive impact on each other.


Sean Kelly

Clarksburg High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Clarksburg High School teacher, Sean Kelly, makes his special education students smile, so they will be ready to learn. His reputation for going out on a limb to make learning easier and fun is part of what earned Mr. Kelly this year’s Marian Greenblatt Award, for his work as a first-year teacher. He said he loves seeing his students mature in the classroom. In addition, Mr. Kelly coaches the girl’s junior varsity lacrosse team and the boy’s soccer team at the school. Mr. Kelly is committed to offering his special needs students a creative learning environment. He is known to bring a guitar and sing songs about historic subjects during class. He is very innovative in terms of the message he uses to convey information. “The fact that he is willing to try things that are different makes the difference in why so many students connect with him as a teacher,” said Clarksburg High School Principal James Koutsos.


Jane King

Somerset Intermediate School

Somerset County Public Schools

Nominated by Andrew and April Todd, Somerset Intermediary School


- Family and Consumer Science Teacher, Jane King, implements real-life learning for her students. Ms. King facilitates the Blue Heron Café, which teaches sixth and seventh graders how to operate a business, from advertising to funding. Her students are exploring careers as chefs, financial advisors, and nutritional experts while gaining perspective on the lives of their working parents. The Blue Heron Café is a real restaurant, serving food to staff at the school and providing valuable learning outcomes about health, nutrition, and business.


Diana Kolego

Hickory Elementary School Harford County Public Schools

Nominated by U.S. Secretary Margaret Spellings

- Ms. Diana Kolego named as Maryland’s 2006 Star of Teaching.  Ms. Kolego is the recipient of the No Child Left Behind 2006 American Star of Teaching Award. The honor is given annually to one teacher in each state by the U.S. Department of Education to recognize teachers who demonstrate effective teaching practices.  More than 4,000 teachers were nominated this year.

Eric LaMaster

Bowie High School

Prince George's County Public


Nominated by MSDE


- Eric LaMaster, an educator at Bowie High School, allowed students to completely shave his head in order to raise money for the annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser.  According to his colleagues, Mr. LaMaster is great with high school students because he has the ability to relate to them.  He is enthusiastic about teaching and brings new ideas and spark to any class that he leads. This year, Bowie High School donated more than $3,000 to the society.


Cain Lee

Quarterfield Elementary School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Cain Lee is not just a janitor at Quarterfield Elementary School – he is a friend and mentor to all students. Mr. Lee has been working as a custodian for Anne Arundel County Public Schools for more than four decades, spending the past 24 years at the 450-student elementary school in Severn. To his surprise and delight the school department named him “Employee of the Month” for December. Besides keeping the school tidy and clean, sharing lunch with students, giving hugs, high-fives, and encouragement to students when necessary, and changing tires and transporting equipment in and out of the building, Mr. Lee stands ready and willing to get the job done – well and expeditiously.


Pamela Leffler

Paint Branch High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics National Capital Section for high schools in Montgomery and Prince George’s County Schools has named Pamela Leffler the 2006-2007 Educator of the Year.  Ms. Leffler has spent the last 18 years at Paint Branch and has succeeded in adding Forensic Science, Biotechnology, and Pharmacy to the school’s curriculum, while helping her Advance Placement Biology students consistently score high on the AP Biology exam.


Cynthia Lloyd

Cedar Lane School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Dr. Lois Pommer, HCPSS


- Ms. Cynthia Lloyd, Para-educator, has worked with students with severe to profound disabilities for more than 12 years. For the past two years Ms. Lloyd has worked in the “Therapy Tank” where she evaluates each student individually and tailors the program to meet their learning style, physical condition, and personality. She is a consummate team player, and leader of professional development for the 45 para-educators at Cedar Lane School. Her strong work ethic, easy likeability, creativity, and strong leadership skills have improved educational services for all students and improved the work climate for staff. Finally, Ms. Lloyd is an exceptional Para-educator who inspires others to excel.


Carolyn Mark

Debbie Smith

Myerville Elementary School

Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Teachers Carolyn Mark and Debbie Smith taught their students how to protect the local habitat by planting a meadow on Myerville Elementary School’s campus.  About 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grades each planted a flower bulb in the 30 foot by 40 foot wildflower meadow.  ‘‘By doing this we will have something that will attract wildlife to this area,” Smith said. ‘‘Through this meadow, we can teach our students that what we do here in Myersville also impacts the [Chesapeake] Bay.”  The school received $2,300 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to complete the project. Local companies donated supplies, while parents pitched in to help students plant and water.


Kurt Marx

Business Teacher

Stephen Decatur High School

Worcester County Public Schools

Nominated by Cindy B. Walter, WCPS


- Kurt Marx founded Stephen Decatur High School’s “Investment Club” in 2004. By teaching students the reasons for investing money, the various types of investments available to Americans, and skills and strategies necessary to win, the students were well-equipped for competition. The school has become the Number 1 Stock Market Game (SMG) competition team on the Eastern Shore for 7 out of the last 8 semesters. In 2004 and 2006, the club finished first in the “Washington Post” competition.


Maryland Gains 161 Nationally Board Certified Teachers

Appointed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

Nominated by MSDE


- The NBPTS has certified 822 Maryland teachers with the profession’s top recognition.  This year’s total was 15th among states, and Maryland’s overall total ranks 15th in the nation.  Maryland had 160 teachers gain national certification during the last cycle. National Board Certification, a voluntary program established by NBPTS, is achieved through a performance-based assessment that typically takes more than a year to complete. It is designed to measure what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.  The process requires teachers to demonstrate how their activities, both inside and outside the classroom, strengthen student performance and contribute to student achievement.


Donald Matthews

Earl Robbins

Educators/Necktie Club Founders

Nominated by MSDE


- Former Assistant Principal at Frederick High Donald Matthews and former president of the Frederick County Board of Education Earl Robbins established the first Necktie Club at Frederick High School in 1995. Necktie Clubs mentor young men of all races at three Frederick-area high schools and provide an avenue to mentoring and fellowship that enhance those qualities for the rest of their lives. By its mere presence, the necktie represents maturity, professionalism, and a sense of respect. Students must be academically eligible - teachers and guidance counselors refer students to the club. Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., a fraternity of professionals that has a long history of mentoring and youth-based programs, as well as community members, serve as guest speakers, sharing real-life experiences with students to inspire and educate. Monthly gatherings take students from the classroom to the boardroom and operate like business meetings - teens learn to dress for success.


Kevin Maxwell


Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Dr. Kevin Maxwell has been named “Outstanding Public School Superintendent of the Year” by a Baltimore-based nonprofit foundation. Dr. Maxwell has been superintendent since 2006. Prior to 2006, he served as community superintendent for the Montgomery County Public Schools. He has also been a teacher, administrator, and chief administrative officer in Prince George’s County. In addition, Dr. Maxwell was named Alumnus of the Year in Humanities at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He received a doctorate in philosophy, language literacy and culture from UMBC in 2002.


Melissa Meringolo

Social Worker, Arrow

Child and Family Ministries

North Dorchester High School

Dorchester County Public Schools

Nominated by Alyssa Nantt, DCPS


- Melissa Meringolo is a hard working social worker who stays very involved with difficult students. She is an excellent liaison with families. Ms. Meringolo helps in crisis situations, in person or by phone, to talk to students.  Her work is very much appreciated.


Peter Mills

Robert Goddard French Immersion School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Peter Mills is the recipient of the “2010 Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher Award.” Mr. Mills’ vision to cultivate various K-8 enrichment programs, and to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education into Maryland classrooms are exemplary.


Preston Monroe

Teacher Aide/Special Education

Oxon Hill Middle School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Janice Gaskins, PGCPS


- Preston Monroe of the Pookie Hudson’s Spaniels, the Doo Wop group he sings with, performed in a musical concert given by the teachers and staff of Oxon Hill Middle School with more than 200 in attendance. Mr. Monroe is a Teachers Aide who greets students each and every morning with a smile, and encourages them to “Have A Great Day.”


Sandra Mosley

Edmondson Westside High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Sandra Mosley, a Baltimore City teacher at Edmondson Westside High School, has won a 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Award for her work in building partnerships between schools and hospitals, clinics, and nursing facilities. Ms. Mosley is the lead teacher for a program that helps students gain practical experience in health care fields. She is one of 25 teachers selected from across the nation for the award which gives a $5,000 grant to her school.


Gerald J. Oehler

Randallstown High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Gerald Oehler, a Social Studies teacher at Randallstown High School, guided a team of twelve students to victory during the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” State competition. The students were recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education and will now advance to The Center for Civic Education National Finals 2009.


Raymond Peloquin

Teacher, Carroll County Public Schools

Nominated by parents of his students

- Mr. Raymond Peloquin received the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award from the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. Mr. Peloquin is a nationally certified teacher of the visually impaired and an orientation and mobility specialist for the Transition to Life program for middle and high school students.  He was selected for his skill in teaching Braille and other related subjects and for his dedication to students.

Donna Paoletti Phillips

Teacher, Robert Frost Middle School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Ms. Phillips, a civic education teacher at Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, Maryland, is the recipient of the inaugural American Civic Education Teacher Award (ACETA).  Ms. Phillips was recognized as ‘the cornerstone of democracy” at the Fourth Annual Congressional Conference on Civic Education, in Washington, D.C., for her exemplary work in bringing the study of the Constitution to students through the Center for Civic Education’s ‘We the People:  The Citizen and the Constitution’ program.  She teaches the program to her four middle school classes, as well as engages all 8th grade teachers in a school-wide simulated congressional hearing.


Rhonda Gray Pitts


Bladensburg Elementary School, Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by the school community


- Ms. Pitts is the recipient of The Washing Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.  For the past five years, Ms. Pitts has worked diligently to create a center of academic excellence for the diverse population of students at Bladensburg Elementary School.  For the past 28 years, she has served as a teacher and educational administrator. Ms. Pitts continuously supports the growth of her staff as well as her students.


Radhika Plakkot

Huntingtown High School

Calvert County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Radhika Plakkot, a science teacher at Huntingtown High School is the winner of a 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science teaching. President Obama named Ms. Plakkot among 103 recipients of the national award this year.


Pamela Plantz-Poley

Guidance Counselor

Glenelg High School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Diana Bailey, MSDE


- Pamela Plantz-Poley has just been named the “2010 High School Guidance Counselor of the Year.” Having been an educator in Howard County for over 41 years, she was an instructor, VICA (now SkillsUSA student organizations) coordinator, and work release coordinator at what was then the Howard Vo-Tech Center (now the Applied Research Lab). She has been a guidance counselor and Instructional Team Leader at Glenelg High School for the past 18 years. Her distinguished career has supported thousands of Howard County students in their preparation for careers and higher education.


Teresa Price

North Salisbury Elementary School

Wicomico County Board of Education

Nominated by Teresa Anne Parrott, North Salisbury Elementary School


- Teresa Price goes above and beyond her call of duty as a Media Assistant on a daily basis.  Teresa does an outstanding job incorporating technology into the students’ world of books and takes the time to find out the personal interest of students to help them find that ‘love for reading’. Teresa also serves in the STARS after-school program working with economically disadvantaged students helping them with homework, as well polishing Reading and Math skills so they will be better prepared for MSA.


Sarah Prymas

Teacher, Westowne Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by Dr. Dana Silver, Greenspring Pediatrics Association


- Sarah Prymas is a Special Education teacher for a student/patient with a special form of autism, as well as multiple medical problems at the Greenspring Pediatric Center.  Ms. Prymas is being lauded not only for developing this particular student’s communication and behavioral skills, but for preparing appropriate meals, as the student is on a special diet. Most importantly, Ms. Prymas is commended for providing the stability and love this student requires.  Everyday she goes out of her way to help the student achieve; Sarah Prymas truly is an exemplary teacher.


Kimberly Burton-Regulski

Eastern Technical High School

Baltimore County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Kimberly Burton-Regulski, mathematics department chair at Eastern Technical High School in Essex is the winner of a 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics teaching. President Obama named Ms. Burton-Regulski among 103 recipients of the national award this year.


Becky Sanders

5th Grade Teacher

Crellin Elementary School

Garrett County Public Schools

Nominated by Rebecca Bell, MSDE


-Becky Sanders was recognized, by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, as the “2010 Chesapeake Bay Trust Educator of the Year” for her commitment to the Bay and Environmental Education. Ms. Sanders teaches about the Bay and the larger watershed through the curriculum, using school grounds and local natural areas to enrich classroom experiences, and motivating and inspiring students by promoting environmental awareness in partnership with staff, parents, and community.


Thomas M. Saunders, Principal

Elkridge Landing Middle School, Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Mr. Saunders was honored with a Distinguished Educational Leadership Award from The Washington Post. Mr. Saunders believes that middle school children need structured, yet nurturing environment, even as they grow more independent. He instituted a school-wide program to improve student behavior and reduce suspensions and disciplinary referrals.  Principal Saunders’ devotion for teaching middle school children began during his student-teaching experience at Elkridge Landing Middle School, and he never left. Mr. Saunders has been at the school for five years.


Wendy Scheleur

Science Teacher, Piney Orchard Elementary School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Wendy Scheleur, a fifth-grade science teacher at Piney Orchard Elementary School, received the 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching, the nation’s highest honor for teaching in these fields.  Ms. Scheleur was honored with more than 90 teachers from around the nation during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., which included an invitation to meet President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House, and a monetary award from the National Science Foundation.  Teachers are nominated by their schools and school systems for their contributions in the classroom that demonstrate a higher standard for teaching science and math.


Michelle Shearer

Urbana High School

Frederick County Public Schools

Nominated by Kathy Campagnoli


- Michelle Shearer has been named “Frederick County’s Teacher of the Year” for the 2010-2011 academic year. Ms. Shearer’s visible passion for teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry, making learning enjoyable, as well as her belief that teaching is a responsibility shared by all members of the community, has proven to be her formula for academic excellence.


Melissa Shindel

Assistant Principal

Patuxent Valley Middle School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Melissa Shindel, an administrator at Patuxent Valley Middle School in Jessup, is the recipient of a national award honoring top assistant principals. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recognized her for her efforts in planning learning fairs and instructional workshops, reviving the student government association, and launching peer tutoring programs and mentoring workshops. Ms. Schindel received $5,000, which can be used in her school, or for personal professional development.


Natalie Stephenson

Kenmoor Middle School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Natalie Stephenson is the 2008 co-recipient of this year’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award given by The Washington Post. Teaching English, advising the National Junior Honor Society, and simultaneously pursuing a master’s in education administration, Ms. Stephenson excels in inspiring students and earning the respect of her colleagues through her hard work and dedication.


Martin Tierney

Carrolltowne Elementary School

Carroll County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Martin Tierney, principal at Carrolltowne Elementary School, was honored with the 2007 Maryland School Psychologists’ Association Outstanding Educator Award. This award recognizes educators who support and facilitate quality school-based mental health services and the integration of school psychology. Additionally, Carrolltowne Elementary School has been nominated as a Maryland School of Character for its outstanding inclusion of the Positive Behavior and Intervention Support program.  Martin Tierney ensures that the needs of each individual are met by ensuring that that all teachers learn about student needs and specific learning styles.


Hue Tran

Takoma Park Middle School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by Karen Shilling, ESOL Teacher


- Hue Tran, an ESOL teacher at Takoma Park Middle School for the past five years, was presented with the 2006-2007 Outstanding English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teacher Award, a title given each year by the county’s division of ESOL bilingual programs. “Ms. Tran is an advocate for her kids; they really believe they can accomplish anything with her help, and they rise to the occasion because of her,” stated Karen Shilling.  Ms. Tran is now the director of the Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support (METS) reading program.  Many of her students come from rural backgrounds, started schooling later in life than most at the school, or have been separated from their parents.  Most come from Asian or Latin American countries.


Genee Varlack, Principal

Kris Woodson, Parent

Guilford Elementary School

Howard County Public Schools

Nominated by Colleen Morris, HCPS


- Genee Varlack, Principal and Kris Woodson, Parent/Bridges Site Coordinator, have created a before and after school program “Bridges” that accelerates and enhances students’ learning. More than 85 students in grades 1 through 5, participate in tutoring, homework, and enrichment sessions four days a week. The students are divided into small groups to ensure differentiated instruction driven by local and state assessments. The groups are taught by highly qualified educators and para-educators and include support from community volunteers. Ms. Woodson acts as the parent liaison as well as the site coordinator. She communicates school-based activities to parents and organizes both incentives from local business and educational opportunities. Mrs. Varlack and Ms. Woodson have worked together to provide staffing, transportation, and funding for this program. By extending the relationships between students, staff, parents, and the community, they have built a true community-learning center that will continue to enrich the lives of the students.


Wendy R. Waller

Parkside High School

Wicomico County Public Schools

Nominated by Grace Foxwell Murdock, Parkside High School


- Ms. Waller is being commended for her vision and success of the bi-weekly Thursday column, “When I Was in School”, that appears in The Daily Times. Ms. Waller identified a need for easily accessible education issues for the general public.  Nine local educators shared her vision and they embarked on their mission to support community understanding of current topics in education via the newspaper; collectively they publish time articles.  Ms. Waller’s leadership has produced a new voice and a grateful audience.  PRIDE: Maryland Public Schools is alive and well with professional educators like her.


Rachel Watson

Worcester Career and Technology Center

Worcester County Public Schools

Nominated by Dr. Jane W. Pruitt, Principal


- Rachel Watson is the 2007 Worcester Career and Technology Center Teacher of the Year.  Nominated by her students and fellow teachers, Watson has taught at the center for the last eight years and has been an active member of every community she touches.  From being a chairperson at the Friendship United Methodist Church where she belongs - to helping with community service projects that aid the nursing home residents in Berlin and breast cancer survivors in Worcester County - Rachel Watson is well deserving of the recognition.


Mary Beth Welcos

Roland Park Elementary/Middle School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Heather Bradbury, MSDE


- Mary Beth Welcos, School Psychologist, constantly proves herself as a dedicated educator. Committing herself to bettering the educational experiences of all the students of Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, Mary Beth has been an integral part of the creation of Individual Education Plans for special needs students and is deserving of recognition for her tireless hard work. “Mary Beth is my personal hero! From the day we met her to set up my 5-year old daughter’s IEP, she has been our advocate, our sounding board, our guide, and our friend. She delights in my daughter’s uniqueness without overlooking her issues and has earned the trust and confidence of my family that my daughter is getting what she needs to reach her fullest potential.  We feel incredibly fortunate to have Mary Beth as our school psychologist this year.”


Alma Wiggins

Quince Orchard High School

Montgomery County Public Schools

Nominated by MSDE


- Alma Wiggins, a Culinary Arts teacher at Quince Orchard High School, was named Maryland ProStart Teacher of the Year during the ProStart student competition in February 2007.  Ms. Wiggins was recognized for her instrumental role in introducing and promoting the ProStart Pilot Program in 2005.  ProStart is a career-training program created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The award presentation was hosted during the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s annual gala in April 2007.  Ms. Wiggins is also credited for helping lead Quince Orchard’s students culinary team to glory for two consecutive years.  The four-member team placed second in the Maryland ProStart Student Invitational and nabbed fourth place last year.  Through the award, Ms. Wiggins will attend the National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago, and be award her state recognition on a national level, along with 35 other recipients across the nation, and share best instructional and culinary practices.


Fredrika Williams


Samuel P. Massie Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Nominated by Leslie Rankins, PGCPS


- Fredrika Williams is a valued asset to the instructional program at Samuel P. Massie Elementary School. Ms. Williams aides in instruction of Social Studies lessons by providing students with hands-on activities, visual aids, and experiences from her rich Cherokee Indian heritage. Ms. Williams takes her own time to tutor struggling students. Ms. Williams makes sure to support the curriculum framework ideals in all that she does in teaching and aiding the future leaders at Samuel P. Massie Elementary School.



In Focus
PRIDE: Maryland Public Schools Brochure
Take a glimpse into the campaign that celebrates the successes of Maryland Public Schools. Featured sections of the PRIDE brochure include:What is PRIDE? PRIDE Profiles. Ways to Show Your Pride


Contact Information
Gail V. Tucker, PRIDE Liaison
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0482
Fax:  410-333-2275
Email:  gtucker@msde.state.md.us
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