“This year’s talented finalists demonstrate unwavering dedication to academic achievement of all Maryland’s students. They are masters in their field and an important reason Maryland education has been ranked number one in the nation for the second consecutive year,” said Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. “These educators, unequivocally, deserve our gratitude and acknowledgement, as well as our respect.”
The finalists (in alphabetical order by jurisdiction) include: Doris L. O’Donnell, Calvert County; Mark S. Howell, Charles County; Michelle Shearer, Frederick County; Lisa Mullen, Harford County; Matthew Kinloch, Howard County; James Schafer, Montgomery County; and Tiffany Doster, Prince George’s County.
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. Finalists were measured against a rigorous set of national criteria that include teaching philosophy, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement. Oral interviews with the seven finalists will be conducted on Saturday, September 11th.
The 2010-2011 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West on October 8th. The winner will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at over $25,000, donated by Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.
Presenting sponsors of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program are Comcast, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonald’s Family of Greater Baltimore, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors are Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, Verizon-Maryland, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, announced next April. The winner will also spend the coming year as a speaker and advisor in Maryland. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will be honored by the President at the White House next spring, participate in several national meetings and conferences, as well as in National Space Camp with fellow State Teachers of the Year.
Additional information on the seven finalists follows.
Calvert County – Patuxent Elementary School
Doris L. O’Donnell, Kindergarten
Doris O’Donnell has been a passionate teaching professional for eleven years. Currently at Patuxent Elementary, Doris serves as Kindergarten Team Leader, Team Data Management Coordinator, and Academic Excellence Team member. She also serves at-risk kindergarteners through an afterschool reading program. During Family Nights, she works with parents in areas of math, reading, and technology. Doris has led school and county staff development opportunities for SMARTBoard activities and differentiated listening centers. She also presents at the Southern Maryland School Readiness Conference. Doris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.
Charles County – Westlake High School
Mark S. Howell, Social Studies
Mark S. Howell graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education/History and Music. His teaching career encompasses elementary and middle schools with the last 17 years at Westlake High School, where he currently teaches U.S. History. He has served as Key Club sponsor, History Day Coordinator, and We The People teacher. Mark is active as a Civics Mosaic Fellow (a Russian exchange program). He assisted in creating an online teacher’s guide which generates an International Democracy Memory Bank for Civic Voices. He presented at the International Civic Education Congress in Warsaw, Poland. Mark volunteers as Director of Music at his church.
Frederick County – Urbana High School
Michelle Shearer, Chemistry
Michelle Shearer earned her B.A. in chemistry from Princeton University and her M.S. in Deaf Education from McDaniel College. The 2009 Maryland recipient of the Siemens Award for AP Teaching believes that “chemistry is for everyone.” Fluent in American Sign Language, she taught at the Maryland School for the Deaf, serving as Content Area Leader and coach of the 2005 National Champion Academic team. A dedicated mentor and former coach of varsity swimming and lacrosse at Urbana High School, she received the NJ Commissioner’s Distinguished Teacher Candidate Award and nominations for the Sallie Mae and Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher awards.
Harford County – North Harford Middle School
Lisa Mullen, Language Arts
Lisa Mullen graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and received the Annual Student Leadership Award. She earned her Master’s in Leadership in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame with a 4.0 G.P.A. Her thesis was accepted with honor, and she was awarded the Annual Academic Achievement Award. She has earned 30 credits beyond her Master’s. A 22-year veteran, she has written curriculum, presented in-service programs, and served as a cooperating teacher. She uses data-driven analysis to differentiate instruction for students in her 8th grade Language Arts class.
Howard County – Glenelg High School
Matthew Kinloch, Science
A National Board Certified science teacher and ninth grade team leader, Matthew Kinloch earned a M.S. in geosciences from Mississippi State University, a M.A. in teaching from Bowie State University, and a B.S. in wildlife biology from Clemson University. Active in scientific research both before and since starting his teaching career, he conducted research on endangered whooping cranes at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Later, a National Science Foundation grant led to research results published in Current Biology and other scientific journals. Matthew shares his passion for the wonders of scientific discovery with students at all levels, teaching earth science, environmental science, ecological systems and astronomy.
Montgomery County – Montgomery Blair High School
James Schafer, Physics
James Schafer graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Science degree from the College of William and Mary in Physics and Applied Mathematics in 2002. In 2007 he received National Board Certification for Science. He serves as Physics Team leader and mentor for physics teachers. He sponsors the Physics Club, which has won numerous competitions and this year a member of the club has reached the finals for the United States Physics Team. He coaches the Academic Team, which won the Washington Area It’s Academic Championship in spring 2009, and the national Knowledge Master Open in the fall of 2009. He is the recipient of the 2010 Marian Greenblatt award.
Prince George’s County – Barack Obama Elementary
Tiffany Doster, Grade 5