Celebrating Teachers of Excellence

Celebrating Teachers of Excellence
Posted on 01/28/2016

By Carrie Sterrs, Coordinator of Public Relations and the Teacher of the Year Program for Worcester County Public Schools

The 2016 Teacher of the Year Program in Worcester County Public Schools is well underway. Affiliated with state and national programs, our countywide program is designed to recognize and celebrate innovative educators who are helping to successfully connect students to their higher education and career goals.

As I think of how the 2016 Teachers of the Year have adapted and excelled during this period of educational change and invention, I am reminded of a quote from one of my heroes in the field of journalism: an originator of the “muckraker” moniker, Lincoln Steffens.

“Nothing is done. Everything in the world remains to be done or done over. The greatest picture is not yet painted, the greatest play isn’t written, the greatest poem is unsung. There isn’t in all the world a perfect railroad, nor a good government, nor a sound law,” he said. “Physics, mathematics, and especially the most advanced and exact of the sciences are being fundamentally revised… Psychology, economics, and sociology are awaiting a Darwin, whose work in turn is awaiting an Einstein.”

The field of education is ever-changing, and as technology advances, teachers across the nation are raising the bar for students to become the innovators of tomorrow. Locally, the fourteen educators who have been named as school-level teachers of the year have all successfully demonstrated how they are preparing the students of Worcester County for their futures, not our past. Highlighting initiatives like personalized learning and by infusing technology into daily lessons, these rising stars in education are shining examples of how their willingness to grow professionally and experiment in the classroom is providing students with enriching, satisfying learning experiences.

I am proud to introduce the 2016 candidates for Worcester County Teacher of the Year (TOY): Kristina Belcher, Stephen Decatur High School; Aimee Bergonia, Pocomoke High School; Donna Black, Snow Hill High School; (Undrea) Nikki Blake, Pocomoke Middle School; Kristy Clark, Berlin Intermediate School; Robyn Diesel, Ocean City Elementary School; Erin Gibson, Showell Elementary School; Brittany Hulme-Tignor, Snow Hill Middle School; Melissa Huntsberry, Cedar Chapel Special School; Kate Lutz, Stephen Decatur Middle School; Anne Mears, Buckingham Elementary School; Jennifer Spivey, Snow Hill Elementary School; Staci Stonnell, Pocomoke Elementary School; and Valerie Zienty, Worcester Technical High School.

As we move through the 2016 County Teacher of the Year program, these candidates will all be introduced more thoroughly in later columns. To give you a glimpse into the TOY selection process over the next weeks, each candidate has created a portfolio and will participate in an interview as part of the Worcester County TOY program. Each component will be judged by an independent panel. The candidate with the highest cumulative points will be revealed as the county’s Teacher of the Year at a banquet on April 1. Each candidate will serve as an ambassador for their school and the winner will participate in the Maryland TOY Program.

If you have additional questions about the Worcester County Teacher of the Year Program, please contact me at 410-632-5092.