HAGERSTOWN, MD (March 28, 2008) – Seven outstanding educators have been selected as finalists by the Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The winner will be announced at the annual Educators of the Year Awards Banquet honoring public and private schools on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, at Fountain Head Country Club. The awards banquet is sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Registration and the opening reception begin at 5:00 p.m. with dinner scheduled for 6:15 p.m. The WCPS Center for Peak Performance and Productivity facilitates the Teacher of the Year program in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce.
This year's Teacher of the Year finalists for WCPS are as follows:
- Shanna Byrd , Grade 2 Magnet Teacher at Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education: Shanna Byrd has been teaching for six years and was named a Mix 95.1 Teacher of the Week in 2006 and 2007. Ms. Byrd believes in “persistently encouraging and motivating more from my students—more support of their thoughts, more creativity, more kindness, and more originality—all the while hoping to empower them with motivation for all the success life has awaiting them.”
- Tameron Marriner, Kindergarten Teacher at Eastern Elementary: Tameron Marriner has 20 years of teaching experience and was the 2002 Sam’s Club Teacher of the Year. Ms. Marriner regards an outstanding teacher as “one who accepts all students for who they are and where they are as learners in order to develop learning activities to meet their unique needs.”
- Theresa Mullican, Kindergarten Teacher at Bester Elementary: A Disney Teacher of the Year nominee, Theresa Mullican has dedicated 20 years of service to teaching. Ms. Mullican affirms, “It is my job to meet students where they are and take them as far as they are able to go academically, socially, and emotionally.”
- Joan Myers, Grade 8 English Language Arts teacher at Clear Spring Middle School: Joan Myers, the 1999 Morgan County West Virginia Teacher of the Year, has 17 years of teaching experience. Ms. Myers asserts, “All students can learn and achieve at high levels. Teachers shape young minds and touch the hearts of young men and women.”
- F. Martin Nikirk, Advanced Computer Applications Teacher at Washington County Technical High School: Martin Nikirk has been teaching for24 years.Mr. Nikirkreceived the 2007 Distinguished Service Teacher Award from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technology Education Consortium and the MSDE Career Technology Education Program Award of Excellence in 2006. A published writer, Mr. Nikirk states, “Technology is a tool for delivering new ideas, presenting curricular challenges, meeting new professionals, and developing individual and team-centered approaches to technical problems.”
- Jacqueline Row, Physical Education Teacher at Williamsport High School: A 2007 recipient of the Simon McNeeley Award, Jacqueline Row has been teaching for nine years. According to Ms. Row, “It is imperative that we emphasize wellness in order for students to attain their potentials—regardless of whether it is in the classroom or in the everyday world.”
- Gretchen Smith, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Social Studies Teacher at North Hagerstown High School : Gretchen Smith has ten years of teaching experience.In 2006, her We the Peopleteam earned second place in the district competition . Ms. Smith says, “Through the relationships teachers have with students, teachers come to understand how best to challenge students with rigor to help them grow.”
The selected teacher will advance to the state level for further recognition and consideration as Maryland's Teacher of the Year.
Smithsburg Elementary School teacher Gwen Pangborn was named WCPS Teacher of the Year in 2007. She says, “Being the WCPS Teacher of the Year has been an exciting experience filled with tremendous professional growth. I am very proud to work in this highly respected county and am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the Washington County Public School System. I will always remember this unique privilege and am very appreciative of the guidance and leadership of the Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce, and Hagerstown Honda for the huge contribution they make to this Teacher of the Year honor.” The selected Teacher of the Year receives the use of a new car from Hagerstown Honda, a technology package from WCPS, along with cash awards.
Center for Peak Performance and Productivity Supervisor Carol Corwell-Martin says the program exemplifies the vision of the Center, “that of peak performance and continuous improvement. The seven teacher finalists are representative of excellence in the field of teaching in the Washington County Public Schools.”
To register for the awards banquet contact Donna Long at the Chamber of Commerce at 301-739-2015.