2018 - 2019 Maryland Teachers of the Year Bios

Tiffany Moran, Westernport Elementary School

Allegany County – Tiffany Moran, Westernport Elementary School, Grade 3

Tiffany Moran is a passionate, student-centered teacher who strives to create successful, productive citizens in the classroom and in life. She is a 2004 graduate of Frostburg State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She has continued her education with Masters level classes at Walden University. Tiffany is a 14-year veteran teacher at Westernport Elementary, where she has taught first and third grades, and reading intervention. She is an active member of the school’s PBIS, MCIE Leadership, and Partnership Action teams. Tiffany also teaches English online, as a second language to children in China.

Heather Carnaghan, Monarch Global Academy

Anne Arundel County – Heather Carnaghan, Monarch Global Academy, Social Studies, Grade 8

Heather Carnaghan is a National Board Certified teacher with thirteen years of experience. She holds a Bachelor’s from West Virginia Wesleyan, a Master’s from Loyola and an Administrator certification from McDaniel. Heather began teaching in a Title I school. She currently teaches and designs curriculum for 8th grade Collaborative Student Inquiry, a project-based learning class that is unique to Monarch Global Academy. Heather coordinates the AVID program, leads the hiring team, and is a member of the Leadership Team. She is committed to building a culture of kindness and growth within her classroom and school community.

LaQuisha Hall, Carver Vocational-Technical High School

Baltimore City – LaQuisha Hall, Carver Vocational-Technical High School, English Language Arts, Grades 9–12

LaQuisha Hall has dedicated 15 years to teaching English in Baltimore City. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Elizabeth City State University and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Morgan State University. LaQuisha mentors, via Queendom T.E.A. (The Etiquette Academy), a program she founded to empower young ladies. An award-winning, best-selling author of multiple books, LaQuisha facilitated publications of over 70 scholars in anthologies, including One Nation, One Heart—winner of the national Indie Authors Legacy Award for Youth Authors of the Year. LaQuisha encourages educators to practice self-care because they cannot pour into students from an empty cup.

Brendan Penn, Lyons Mill Elementary School

Baltimore County – Brendan Penn, Lyons Mill Elementary School, Math and Science, Grade 3

Brendan Penn is a dynamic educator who challenges students to become architects of their learning, as they are building our future. He has a Master’s Degree from Morgan State University (2017) and a Bachelor’s Degree from Long Island University (2012). Currently a 3rd grade Math and Science teacher, he coordinates the Lyons Mill Engineering Squad, a VEX Robotics team that qualified for the 2018 World Championships. Mr. Penn founded the STEM Expo, an official Maryland STEM Festival host event, connecting STEM professionals with students and families in hands-on meaningful learning experiences. He serves as PTA Liaison and webmaster for his school.

Dr. Melaney Sanchez, Mt. Harmony Elementary School

Calvert County – Dr. Melaney Sanchez, Mt. Harmony Elementary School, Media Specialist, Grades K – 5

Dr. Melaney Sanchez, a National Board Certified Teacher, researched minority achievement for her Ph.D. from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Her Master's and Bachelor's degrees were received from McDaniel College and the University of Michigan. Melaney was honored as the SMECO Math Teacher of the Year and the Washington Post Teacher of the Year. She writes district and college-level curriculum and is an associate professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University. Dr. Sanchez strives to foster information literacy and critical thinking skills that will inspire her students to be successful in a global technological society.

Andrea Burns, Preston Elementary School

Caroline County – Andrea Burns, Preston Elementary School, Grade 2

“Work Hard, Dream Big” is the philosophy that Andrea López Burns instills in her students. As a former international ELL student herself, she is committed to improving the multicultural landscape, championing ELL achievement, and celebrating all learners’ backgrounds. Andrea is the founding head of the Multicultural Committee within her school, an initiative that helps increase positive multicultural awareness through building relationships and designing affirmative activities. She has a M.Ed. from La Salle University (2016) and a B.S. from Toccoa Falls College (2001). Andrea is also a published and award-winning portrait photographer.

Tina Thomen, Manchester Valley High School

Carroll County – Tina Thomen, Manchester Valley High School, English, Grades 9–12

Tina earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from UMBC in 1992. In 2006, she earned a Master of Science in Education and in 2015 a Master of Liberal Arts, both from McDaniel College. Tina, a National Board Certified Teacher, worked in the finance industry before discovering a genuine passion for teaching. She has served as English Department Chair, lead curriculum writer, AP Language and Composition Reader, and advisor for the Newspaper Club and National English Honor Society. She mentors student teachers and is a lead professional developer. Tina has the rare gift of providing support and high expectations for all levels of students.

Staci Lamb, Elkton High School

Cecil County – Staci Lamb, Elkton High School, Language Arts, Grade 9

Staci Lamb is committed to engaging students, sparking creativity, and empowering other educators. She is the Freshman Class Advisor and coordinates the Elkton High House System, an initiative designed to promote student leadership, positive behavior, and school culture. She is a member of the school improvement team, presents school and county professional development on topics such as engagement and classroom management, and shares her innovative strategies on her teacher Instagram. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education from University of Delaware (2013) and is pursuing her master’s degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University (2019).

Lynn Hopkins, Milton M. Somers Middle School

Charles County – Lynn Hopkins, Milton M. Somers Middle School, English Language Arts, Grade 6

Lynn Hopkins is an educator committed to the power of positive relationships. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary/Special Education from Kutztown University (2003), a Master's Degree in Secondary English & Literature from Walden University (2007), and 15 years of experience in the classroom. She is pursuing National Board Certification in Adolescent Literature. Currently a 6th grade Language Arts teacher, she is a student mentor with the Check & Connect program and is involved in the innovation of mindfulness practices within her school. In 2017, she was recognized by the Maryland State Advisory Council as a Leader in Gifted & Talented Education.

Dr. Benedita Gomes, North Dorchester High School

Dorchester – Dr. Benedita Gomes, North Dorchester High School, Spanish, Grades 9–12

Benedita Gomes, Spanish teacher, adjunct-professor, ordained-pastor and multi-language writer, is devoted to multicultural education and equity. Currently, working on her DocMinistries, she earned a M.A. in Biblical Studies from New Life Bible College and Seminary (2018), M.A. in TESOL from Salisbury University (2001), B.A. in Spanish from Delaware State University (1998). Presently, she is the Extended Learning Site Coordinator, Founder of the National Hispanic Honor Society, Sophisticated Ladies Club, Global Education Program, and co-advisor for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and International Club. She has led educational tours to over 20-countries, promoting cultural and global understanding.

Timothy Snyder, Urbana Middle School

Frederick County – Timothy Snyder, Urbana Middle School, Art, Grades 6–8

Timothy Snyder has a passion for teaching, coaching, and mentoring. He earned both a Master’s Degree in Education (2010) and Bachelor’s Degree in Art (2008) from McDaniel College. Currently a Visual Arts teacher at Urbana Middle School, he is the school-based mentor for new teachers and a member of the Continuous School Improvement and Educator of Effectiveness Academy teams. Timothy is the head coach of cross country and track and field at Urbana High School. He received McDaniel College’s Charles Havens Award for the student-athlete with commendable achievement and was a nominee for the FCPS Charles Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award.

Jennifer Virts, Northern Garrett High School

Garrett County – Jennifer Virts, Northern Garrett High School, Theater/English, Grades 9–12

Jennifer Virts has a passion for the arts on the stage and page. She currently teaches Theatre, English, and Creative Writing at Northern Garrett High School, where she is also the drama coach, International Thespian Society troupe leader and co-creator/coordinator of the NHS Maddawg Morning Show. She is a member of her local community theatre, Our Town Theatre, where she acts, directs, and coordinates their summer program. She received her Bachelor’s in Theatre from Frostburg State University (2003), Master’s from Loyola University of Chicago (2007), and is currently working on her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Frostburg State.

Dr. Paula Stanton, Bel Air High School

Harford County – Dr. Paula Stanton, Bel Air High School, English, Grades 9–11

Dr. Paula Stanton, a national board certified, 24-year veteran English teacher, earned a B.A. in English at Howard University in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Education at Walden University in 2017. After a full day as English teacher and department chairperson at Bel Air High School, she travels to the alternative education program to teach 9th grade. A founding member of the Unity Committee, co-founder of the Perspectives club, founder of the National English Honor Society, and Master Teacher on betterlesson.com, she also teaches Education that is Multicultural to new teachers and English online at University of Maryland University College.

Elizabeth Waltman, Lime Kiln Middle School

Howard County – Elizabeth Waltman, Lime Kiln Middle School, Mathematics, Grade 7

Elizabeth Waltman’s classroom is a dynamic learning environment where students are consistently challenged and engaged. She holds an M.S. in Mathematics Education (2015) and a B.S. in Elementary Education (2009) from Towson University. Currently she is a 7th grade mathematics teacher, Instructional Team Leader, Student Service Learning Coordinator, Co-chair of the Staff Engagement Committee, Annual Talent Show Director, and a School Improvement Team member. Elizabeth has presented at countywide Professional Learning gatherings, participates in School-Based Leadership and Cultural Proficiency cohorts, and teaches as an Adjunct Professor at her alma mater.

Amelia Markosian, Kent County Middle School

Kent County – Amelia Markosian, Kent County Middle School, Science, Grade 6

Amelia Markosian is an innovative science teacher who inspires students by engaging them in real-world inquiry. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from McDaniel College and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in school leadership from Wilmington University. Recently, Amelia has worked as the PBIS coordinator earning her school a gold award by planning and implementing school-wide events that reward positive behaviors. She is an active member of her science and 6th grade team who encourages hands on learning experiences through school events and trips. Amelia also works beyond the bell as the middle school cheerleading coach.

Kristen Kane, Forest Knolls Elementary School

Montgomery County – Kristen Kane, Forest Knolls Elementary School, Kindergarten

Kristen Kane builds enduring relationships with her students, parents, colleagues, and community. She holds a Master’s Degree in Reading and Literacy from Walden University (2008) and two Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Maryland (Early Childhood Education, 1999 and Public Relations—Journalism, 1996). Kristen serves as a kindergarten teacher, team leader, instructional leadership team member, and PTA liaison. She regularly collaborates with colleagues to plan and deliver diverse, engaging, and relevant student instruction. Kristen was named as both Montgomery County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year and Marian Greenblatt Master Teacher in 2018.

Daleisha Myers, Tulip Grove Elementary School

Prince George’s County – Daleisha Myers, Tulip Grove Elementary School, RELA/Math, Grade 5

Daleisha’s leadership roles include Professional Development Lead Teacher, member of the School Management Team, and Mentor Teacher. She is an adjunct professor at Bowie State University, where she received the Bowie State University Teacher Leader Award and was recognized for her work as a Professional Development School Coordinator. She also received the City of Bowie Excellence in Education Award. Myers holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She has a Bachelor’s of Elementary Education from University of MD (2005) and a Master’s from University of Phoenix.

Rhonda Moore, Matapeake Elementary School

Queen Anne’s County – Rhonda Moore, Matapeake Elementary School, Grade 1

Rhonda Moore is committed to providing each of her students the strong foundation they need to be caring and contributing citizens, and enthusiastic lifelong learners. She holds a Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College (2007) and earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania (1995). Rhonda is a first grade teacher at Matapeake Elementary School and currently serves as the First Grade Team Leader, a member of the School Improvement Team, and is on the Queen Anne’s County Math Curriculum Team.

Sarah Lorek, Chopticon High School

St. Mary’s County – Sarah Lorek, Chopticon High School, Music, Grades 9-12

Sarah Lorek’s educational mission is to cultivate students filled with integrity, initiative and independence through song. She has a Master’s Degree from Florida State University (2006), and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Delaware (2003). Currently, Sarah is Director of Choirs and Lead Teacher for the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) at Chopticon High School. AVPA strives to prepare students for future study by providing intense rigor, advanced instruction, connectivity, and professional artistic experiences. Ms. Lorek is a frequent clinician, member of the SMCPS Arts Leadership Team, school PLC Leader and is completing her Admin 1 Certificate.

Dr. Richard Warren, Jr., Crisfield High School and Academy

Somerset County – Dr. Richard Warren, Jr., Crisfield High School and Academy, Science and S.T.E.M., Grade 8

Dr. Richard Warren is passionate about inspiring, connecting, and helping students stretch their potential in unimaginable ways! By applying technology and real-world learning experiences his students are engaged in amazing learning environments. He has yielded record breaking gains on state assessments and was a state finalist in the Samsung S.T.E.M contest. He is a member of the P.B.I.S committee and the Academy for Leadership in Education. Dr. Warren is an expert in teacher retention, working closely with his district’s teacher mentoring program. He holds a B.S in science (2011), M.A in teaching (2014) and Ed.D in educational leadership (2018) from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Reneé Warfield, Easton High School

Talbot County – Reneé Warfield, Easton High School, ESOL/Spanish, Grades 9–12

Renee Warfield is a relentless student advocate, who launched the sheltered and dual language curricula at Easton High School. She was a Fulbright-Hays recipient, MSET presenter and is currently a Discovery Education Leader and Dorchester Library Board Trustee. Her mission is to promote community collaboration and mutual advocacy among language students, to incite their continual inquiry and civic engagement. Renee founded a student language service club and facilitated a bilingual graduation preparation program. She has a B.A. in Spanish, M.A. in TESOL, and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Salisbury University. She leads county-wide PD for ESOL and writes bilingual curricula for Algebra, Spanish, Biology, Government and English.

Jeanine Horst, Cascade Elementary School

Washington County – Jeanine Horst, Cascade Elementary School, Grade 5

After three decades in a family business, Jeanine Horst embarked on a new career in teaching. She earned an Associate’s degree from Hagerstown Community College, Bachelor’s degree in Education, Master’s degree in Education, and Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Frostburg State University. Currently a 5th grade teacher at Cascade Elementary School, she coordinates STEM education to advance the next generation of innovators. She coaches Battle of the Books and Math 24 clubs to heighten student’s knowledge. Jeanie is a member of the School Improvement Team, Health and Wellness Committee, a National Honor Scholar and Teacher of Promise awardee.

Lisa McKinnon, Parkside High School

Wicomico County – Lisa McKinnon, Parkside High School, Mathematics/TAM, Grades 9–12

Lisa McKinnon, a graduate of Salisbury University, has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and one in Mathematics, and a Master’s in Mathematics Secondary Education. Mrs. McKinnon excels as a leader and is department chair, instructional leadership chair, class advisor and new teacher mentor. She reaches out to students beyond the classroom through credit recovery, tutoring, and coaching tennis, unified tennis through Special Olympics, and track. She advocated against bullying by promoting a kindness campaign at her school. She has been teaching high school mathematics for the past twelve years and recently became an instructor for the Teacher Academy of Maryland.

Karen Holland, Cedar Chapel Special School

Worcester Co. – Karen Holland, Cedar Chapel Special School, Special Education, Grades 4–6

Karen Holland Graduated from Stephen Decatur High School and attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Wilmington University, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Special Education and a Masters of Education in Elementary School Counseling. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Education Leadership from University of Phoenix. She believes that building positive relationships is key to awakening students’ potential. At the core of every instructional experience is her 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.