Teacher of the Year

Learn About All of Our Exceptional Candidates for 2018 Worcester County Teacher of the Year

Brian Cook
Brian Cook, Pocomoke Middle School
Dr. Brian Cook earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Bethany College and Master and Doctorate Degrees in Educational Leadership from Salisbury University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In his 10th year in the classroom, the Pocomoke Middle School sixth grade English Language Arts teacher believes building positive teacher-student-parent relationships is instrumental for students to be successful. Cook strives to build an innovative environment with authentic learning opportunities. He serves as a Salisbury University adjunct professor, Pocomoke High cross country coach, Young Authors' Contest chairperson, 100-Home Visit advocate, and organizer for the EduDrone afterschool program.
Caitlin Evans
Caitlin Evans, Worcester Technical High School
Caitlin Evans is a graduate of Pocomoke High School. She attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. In her sixth year at Worcester Technical High School, Evans teaches the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program as well as the Baking and Pastry Program. She believes that building personal relationships and fostering a culture of learning is key to student successes. In addition to being a local business owner, Evans serves on multiple boards for local colleges and universities; within her school she spearheads various fundraisers and community outreach initiatives.

Kristie Fogle
Kristie Fogle, Ocean City Elementary School
Kristie Fogle graduated from Stephen Decatur High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University and later earned her Masters in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University. She began teaching in 2009 and is a second grade teacher at Ocean City Elementary. Kristie believes that high expectations, routines, and communication are key to running a successful classroom, however, when love, respect, and trust are added to the mix, students will soar. She is a mentor teacher to new teachers to the county, a member of her School Improvement Team and the Early Literacy Committee.
Karen Holland
Karen Holland, Cedar Chapel Special School
Karen Holland graduated from Stephen Decatur High School, attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Wilmington University, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education and a Masters of Education in Elementary School Counseling. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix. Holland believes that building a positive relationship is key to awakening students' potential. At the core of every instructional experience is her high expectations and never-ending push to move students forward by modeling a positive perspective with the entire learning community. She is a member of the Worcester County Education Foundation.

Rebecca Johnson Rebecca Johnson, Showell Elementary School
Rebecca Johnson earned an Education Certification from Virginia Wesleyan College and her Masters of Reading Literacy from Wilmington University. In her 21st year of teaching and 17th in Worcester County, she has taught 3rd grade for all but three years in her career. It is Johnson's belief that the most important part of teaching is building student and teacher relationships. It is her hope by building strong and positive relationships, her students will be motivated and engaged with their learning each and every day. At Showell Elementary, Mrs. Johnson is a Writer's Workshop lead teacher and teacher mentor.
Michele Kosin Michele Kosin, Snow Hill High School
Michele Kosin earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland, a Master's in Technology Education and a Post-Baccalaureate in STEM Secondary Education from California University. In her eighth year at Snow Hill High School, Kosin teaches Physics and Engineering Technology and facilitates the Engineering Club. She is recognized for creating a stimulating and interactive learning environment. Kosin is the co-author of the Advanced Design Applications & Engineering Design curriculum currently taught in 17 states. As a participant in 29 STEM Community Outreach Programs, she has received 18 STEM grants and won the prestigious Woodie Flowers FIRST Robotics award.
Theresa Olenchick Theresa Olenchick, Pocomoke Elementary School
Theresa Olenchick graduated from Salisbury University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She earned her Masters degree in English Speakers of Other Languages from Concordia University. In her eighth year, Mrs. Olenchick teaches kindergarten at Pocomoke Elementary School. She believes that a child's first school experience is crucial in igniting a life long passion for learning. Mrs. Olenchick's engaging, student-centered lessons help foster a positive classroom community. As team leader, she mentors new teachers, student interns, participates as teacher leader within the School Improvement Team, and facilitates afterschool student academy sessions.
Jaimie Ridgely
Jaimie Ridgely, Stephen Decatur Middle School
National Board Certified Teacher, Jaimie Ridgely, encourages self-efficacy and fosters a love of literacy. In her sixteenth year, she teaches developmental reading and a writing-intensive literacy enrichment course. Humor, community, authenticity, and joy are cornerstones of Jaimie's student-centered classroom. She coaches students through writing and oratorical contests locally, regionally, and nationally. From Salisbury University, Jaimie earned a B.S. in Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and is pursuing her Doctorate in Literacy. She's an Eastern Shore Writing Project Teacher Consultant and Writing-Camp Instructor. Jaimie's mentored preservice and new teachers. This June, she'll present her research on writing in England.
Damien Sanzotti Damien Sanzotti, Berlin Intermediate School
Damien Sanzotti earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education with a minor in Psychology from Bethany College in West Virginia. In his tenth year at Berlin Intermediate School, Sanzotti teaches physical education grades 4-6. He is currently finishing his Masters in School Counseling, and will graduate from Wilmington University in May. Damien is passionate about educating and encouraging his students to live a healthy lifestyle, and promotes lifelong physical activities that interest each student. He is a mentor to university interns, a Health and Wellness Coordinator for BIS, a member of the PE curriculum revision team, a Sergeant with the Ocean City Beach Patrol, and a coach for the Ocean Pines Swim Team.
Beth Shockley-Lynch Beth Shockley-Lynch, Snow Hill Elementary School
Beth Shockley-Lynch is a graduate of Snow Hill High School. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Elon University and Summa Cum Laude with a Masters of Education in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment from Walden University. She has been teaching for 29 years and believes children learn best by doing. When given the opportunity to experience hands on learning students are more likely to make connections to abstract concepts. Beth is a mentor teacher for university interns and the co-site coordinator for Salisbury University. She is the current president of Worcester County Teachers Association.
Donna Socha Donna Socha, Buckingham Elementary School
Donna Socha earned her Bachelor of Arts from Elon College. She attended Longwood College and received a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Master of Science in Reading. Donna has been an educator for thirty years, eighteen in Worcester County. She is a second grade teacher at Buckingham Elementary School. Donna believes if children are actively engaged in a lesson, they will be motivated to learn. Her positive attitude and active learning environment, coupled with high expectations, creates a success-oriented environment. Donna is a member of the Math team, TCI lead teacher, Green School Committee and Faculty Council.
Joseph Stigler
Joseph Stigler, Stephen Decatur High School
Joseph Stigler earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Salisbury University and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Towson University. Stigler has taught mathematics for seven years at Stephen Decatur High School, his alma mater. He is also the varsity cross country and track coach at Stephen Decatur High School. Stigler strives to create a positive learning environment with high expectations and levels of engagement for all students. He is a member of the Worcester County Education Advisory Committee, Worcester County Professional Development Task Force and Maryland State Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Committee.

Emily Taylor
Emily Taylor, Snow Hill Middle School
Emily Taylor earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Towson University and will earn her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Salisbury University in May. She has taught fifth grade at Snow Hill Middle School for the past six years. A Stephen Decatur graduate, she serves on the WCPS ELA committee, a leader for her school improvement team, new teacher mentor, and Salisbury University mentor teacher. She strives to create an environment that fosters learning through collaboration and real-world projects. Ms. Taylor believes that the foundation of a successful classroom relies on positive student relationships.
Alex Tobiassen Alexandra Tobiassen, Pocomoke High School
Alexandra Tobiassen graduated from Pocomoke high School and attended Frostburg State University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts with a Printmaking focus. She holds a Master's Degree in School Leadership from Salisbury University. Tobiassen has taught many levels of Art throughout her nine years in Worcester County and currently teaches at Pocomoke High School. Following her father, William Buchanan, who chaired the Art Department at PHS. Tobiassen embraces creativity, self-expression and personal choice in her classroom. She supports many other aspects of the school community by coaching, leading professional development, teaching after school, organizing wellness initiatives and planning graduation.


Superintendent Louis Taylor, Worcester County Teacher of the Year Julia Hill and Board President Bill Gordy

Congratulations to Julia Hill,
Our 2017 Worcester County Teacher of the Year 

About Our Winner 
Julia Hill graduated from Stephen Decatur High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Carson Newman College and a Master of Science degree in Mathematics Education from Salisbury University. In her thirteenth year, Hill teaches Precalculus and dual enrollment mathematics courses at Worcester Technical High School. She strives to provide a positive learning environment in which students collaborate, think critically, and develop lifelong learning habits. Hill serves as an advisor for SkillsUSA, a member of her School Improvement Team and a developer for the county math curriculum. She is a mentor for teenage mothers in the community. 

Learn More About our 2017  Candidates