2020 - 2021 Maryland Teachers of the Year Bios

Stacy Bradley, South Penn Elementary School

Allegany County – Stacy Bradley, South Penn Elementary School, Grades 1–5

Dr. Joseph Thompson is an experienced music educator in Allegany County. He holds Doctorate (2020) and Master of Education (2010) degrees from Frostburg State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree (2001) from Alderson/Broaddus College. An advocate for the arts and student leadership, Dr. Thompson prioritizes facilitating student-led community initiatives. He serves as the Allegany County Education Association school representative, Department Chair, and on several committees. Dr. Thompson’s dissertation examined the effects of a marching band performance illustrating homelessness, “In Plain Sight.” Under Dr. Thompson, the Fort Hill instrumental music programs are consistently recognized for achievements and community support.

Emily Davis, Brooklyn Park Middle School

Anne Arundel County – Emily Davis, Brooklyn Park Middle School, Co-Taught Language Arts, Grades 6-7

Emily Davis is a dedicated educator who earned her Master’s Degree from Towson University and her Bachelor’s Degree from UMBC. She teaches language arts at Brooklyn Park Middle School, where she regularly incorporates guided reading and Arts Integration into her classroom. She has served as a district curriculum writer as well as Arts Integration and Literacy team leader, club sponsor, and committed member of her school’s Equity team. Emily is also an Interdisciplinary Team leader and facilitates professional development focusing on equity and differentiation strategies for reading.

Wyatt Oroke, City Springs Elementary School

Baltimore City – Wyatt Oroke, City Springs Elementary School, English Language Arts, Grades 7-8

Wyatt Oroke has been nationally recognized for his work in social justice and literacy. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (2013) and Johns Hopkins University School of Education (2015) and teaches 7th and 8th grade English at City Springs Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City. Mr. O serves as a team leader, girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball coach, and has many other school, community, and district roles. He received recognition for his teaching including awards from JHU, the Maryland State Senate, the Orioles, and was awarded the “Superhero Award” by Ellen DeGeneres.

Robert Runk, Parkville Middle School

Baltimore County – Robert Runk, Parkville Middle School, Special Education, Grades 6–8

Robert Runk is an educator, mentor, and leader to his students at Parkville Middle School. He teaches history and science for Grades 6-8 in the school’s social-emotional learning program and has led the mentorship program at his school for 17 years. He also initiated, and currently maintains, the food pantry program at Parkville Middle to assist with meeting the needs of economically struggling families in the community. Robert has taught martial arts in the Parkville area for the last 11 years and did the same in the Dundalk area in earlier years. He has a master’s degree in education from the Walden University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix.

Caitlin Fregelette, Calvert High School

Calvert County – Caitlin Fregelette, Calvert High School, Physical Education & Health, Grades 9-12

A strong advocate for student wellbeing, Caitlin is a SUNY Cortland graduate with a BS in Physical Education and MS in Health. She is an executive board member for SHAPE Maryland and works on MSDE committees designing curriculum and professional development opportunities. As a School Health Council member, system wellness coordinator, and Opioid Addiction Prevention Grant coordinator, Caitlin sponsors several Calvert High clubs highlighting mental health, stress, and trauma. She also teaches community fitness classes and has received numerous community agency awards for enhancing community health.

Shaughnessy Harris, Preston Elementary School

Caroline County – Shaughnessy Harris, Preston Elementary School, Pre-Kindergarten, General and Special Education

Shaughnessy Harris is especially skilled in creating and supporting trauma-sensitive learning environments. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2009, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2012, both from Wilmington University. In addition to her classroom students, she is responsible for managing a caseload and providing specialized instruction to other students in the program. She serves on the School Improvement and PBIS Teams. She is also a New Teacher Mentor, responsible for collaboration, modeling, and support of new teachers in the use of data, best practices, and engagement strategies.

Jena Ehmann, Winfield Elementary School

Carroll County – Jena Ehmann, Winfield Elementary School, English Language Arts, Pre K - Grade 5

Jena Ehmann is the Reading Specialist at Winfield Elementary School. She attended McDaniel College and received a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literacy Acquisition and a Master of Science in Literacy Leadership. Jena organizes Winfield Reads, an annual reading initiative supported by community members and attended by hundreds of students and staff. Jena is a team leader and School Improvement Team co-chair. Her professional contributions include work as a county curriculum writer. Jena is Vice President of the Carroll County Literacy Chapter, and is involved in several educational organizations including the State of Maryland Literacy Association.

Chelsea Jones, Elkton Middle School

Cecil County – Chelsea Jones, Elkton Middle School, Science, Grade 7

Chelsea Jones is devoted to educating and empowering students from diverse backgrounds. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from West Chester University (2011) and is pursuing her Master’s Degree through Wilmington University. She teaches life science while inspiring more female students to enter STEM careers by supporting local STEM programs and is a nationally selected Northrop Grumman Teaching Fellow. Chelsea founded a cheerleading program that earned her the “Going the Extra Mile” Award. Chelsea serves as a curriculum writer, lead science teacher, School Improvement Team member, new teacher mentor, and facilitates professional development on NGSS alignment, cultural proficiency, and literacy strategies.

James E. Ball, North Point High School

Charles County – James E. Ball, North Point High School, Art, Grades 9-12

James E. Ball supports students’ health and learning through art exploration, education, and experimentation. He earned both a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from West Virginia Wesleyan College. The cornerstone of Mr. Ball’s art pedagogy is digital journaling which he shares with his students. Mr. Ball also coaches cross-country, basketball, and girls’ lacrosse. Each summer, he runs special-needs basketball clinics and teaches art appreciation through the Charles County Sheriff’s Youth Achievement Camp. James also leads a variety of basketball skill-enhancement sessions.

Cherie Robinson, Dorchester Career and Technology Center

Dorchester – Cherie Robinson, Dorchester Career and Technology Center, Teacher Academy of Maryland. Grades 11-12

Cherie Robinson, a Teacher Academy of Maryland educator, has dedicated the last 30 years doing what she loves. In addition to teaching future educators, she is the National Technical Honor Society and Educators Rising Advisor, as well as the SkillsUSA Assistant Advisor. Cherie is a TAM Advanced Institute member where she provides professional development at Towson University each summer. Cherie is the STEAM Program Administrator for her district’s elementary enrichment program. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Salisbury University and has recently returned to college to obtain a degree in leadership.

Jill McWilliams, Walkersville Elementary School

Frederick County – Jill McWilliams, Walkersville Elementary School, Kindergarten & Grade 1

Jill McWilliams develops caring, curious and critical thinkers through differentiated, child-centered instruction. She earned a Master of Science degree in early childhood literacy from Wilkes University and a Bachelor of Science in applied learning and development from the University of Texas. A multi-grade kindergarten/first grade teacher, she is a mentor to newly-hired and student teachers, and has served on the leadership team and coordinated with area preschools. Previously, she was nominated for Teacher of the Year at Walkersville Elementary (2016) and River Oaks Elementary in Texas (1995).

Kista Powell, Northern Garrett High School

Garrett County – Kista Powell, Northern Garrett High School, PLTW Biomedical Science/Allied Health, Grades 10–12

Following a career as an Emergency Room nurse for 17 years, Kista Powell decided to become a teacher and has been inspiring students for the past 6 years at Northern Garrett High School. Kista has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from American Sentinel University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nursing education. She teaches both Allied Health and Biomedical Science where she spreads her medical knowledge and passion for making a difference in the lives of others. Her goal is to leave a lasting impression on her students, particularly when it comes to them learning the importance of serving others.

Elizabeth White, Harford Technical High School

Harford County – Elizabeth White, Harford Technical High School, History & Social Science, Grades 10–12

Beth White builds relationships as she teaches. She cultivates student engagement, while building connections to contemporary experiences. As a dedicated educator, coach, and mentor, she works with local and state SGAs, collaboratively develops new curricula/assessments for Social Studies/Technology, and served on the Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership, APA/Clark University Workshop for Psychology Teachers, and HCPS Instructional Administrative Leadership Academy. Beth holds a B.A. in History, Secondary Education and a M.A. in Instructional Leadership, both from Towson University. She is currently finalizing her National Board certification.

Jerome Pickens, Bryant Woods Elementary School

Howard County – Jerome Pickens, Bryant Woods Elementary School, Grade 5

Jerome Pickens has a Master’s Degree in Transdisciplinary Literacy from Goucher College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with Mathematics specialization from Frostburg State University and is pursuing Certification in Administration and Supervision. He is a 5th grade teacher and team leader, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and School Improvement Team, he helps coordinate professional development for team leader retreats, workshops, mentoring, and also facilitates challenging conversations centered around racism. He co-founded the Leaders in Training Program, a data driven mentoring program that works with 4th and 5th grade boys.

Angela Lins, Galena Elementary School

Kent County – Angela Lins, Galena Elementary School, Grade 2

Angela Lins profoundly believes in providing all students the joy of reading. She holds a Master’s Degree from Wilmington College (2000) and a bachelor’s degree from McDaniel College (1983). Her repertoire includes 60 hours of reading training. Angel has been a teacher for the last 37 years where she has taught first and second graders in a multi-age classroom, multi-sensory instruction to non-traditional learners, and co-taught elementary special education students. Currently, she is a second-grade teacher. In her school setting, she is a member of the PBIS team working on providing positive behavior support for all students. This teacher volunteers tutoring services to struggling students.

Inge Chichester, Sligo Middle School

Montgomery County – Inge Chichester, Sligo Middle School, Social Science, Grade 7

Inge Chichester, a Marian Greenblatt Master Teacher Award winner, has been described as “contagiously positive” because of the warm, optimistic, and energetic demeanor she brings to the classroom and her school community. Inge volunteers at Shepherd’s Table and the Capital Area Food Bank Where she serves and boxes meals for families in her school’s community. She is a teacher who wants to “give back” to those in need. She earned both a Master’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity University. Inge is the World Studies Content Specialist at Sligo Middle School and serves on the school’s Instructional Leadership Team.

Mary Piccirilli, Cooper Lane Elementary School

Prince George’s County – Mary Piccirilli, Cooper Lane Elementary School, Grade 3

A third-grade teacher at Cooper Lane Elementary in Hyattsville, Mary Piccirilli believes building strong relationships with students, families and colleagues is vital to effective learning. She serves as Grade Level Chair, Culture Committee Chair and mentor teacher. Certified in Talented and gifted (TAG) instruction, she is a seven-year veteran educator in Prince George’s County Public Schools and has spent the last two years at Cooper Lane Elementary. Piccirilli holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from University of Maryland University College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Towson University.

Amber Wright, Kent Island High School

Queen Anne’s County – Amber Wright, Kent Island High School, Dance, Grades 9–12

An advocate of equity and building strong relationships in the classroom, Amber Wright has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Salisbury State University. Currently a dance teacher at Kent Island High School, she is the advisor for the dance company and choreographs all the musicals. She is a member of her school’s equity, and school improvement teams and department chairperson. With over 20 years of experience in education, Amber consistently makes leadership contributions to her school, county, and state. These are a direct result of her expertise in teaching, and commitment to personal and professional excellence.

Deaneth Brown-Taylor, Spring Ridge Middle School

St. Mary’s County – Deaneth Brown-Taylor, Spring Ridge Middle School, English Language Arts, Grade 8

Deaneth Brown-Taylor is passionate about teaching, mentoring, and empowering students. Through SMCPS’s partnerships with the Rotary Club, NAACP, and local colleges, Deaneth coordinated the Southern Maryland Journeys Program, a first-generation college initiative that engaged students in college-related experiences. She received recognition for her invaluable contributions. Deaneth organizes research-based professional development for new teachers, which promotes and enhances their craft. She has both Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees from Western Carolina University, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate at Walden University.

Lauren Beauchamp, Carter G. Woodson Elementary School

Somerset County – Lauren Beauchamp, Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, Kindergarten

Lauren Beauchamp is a proud graduate of Somerset County Public Schools. She has a Master’s Degree in TESOL and Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Salisbury University. Lauren’s career began 13 years ago as a Kindergarten teacher at Greenwood Elementary School. She has spent eleven summers working for the Somerset County Migrant Education Program. Inspired by her work with migrant students, Lauren became an ESOL teacher helping staff and students at Woodson Elementary School, Somerset Intermediate School, and Crisfield High School and Academy. She currently enjoys teaching Kindergarten at Woodson Elementary School.

David Cherry, Easton High School

Talbot County – David Cherry, Easton High School, Mathematics, Grades 9–12

David Cherry is a dedicated educator with a Master’s Degree from LaSalle University (2017) and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Edinboro University. Currently a mathematics teacher at Easton High School, he works with 9th-12th grade students, focusing on Algebra II and Pre-calculus. David also works after school with Algebra students who need additional services to advance their assessment results. He is a member of the school’s PBIS and Equal Opportunity Schools Committees, both focusing on improvement of the school’s atmosphere and student success for all students.

Christine Hurley, Boonsboro Middle School

Washington County – Christine Hurley, Boonsboro Middle School, Library Media, Grades 6-8

Christine Hurley (she/her) is dedicated to ensuring all students can see themselves in the books they read. She holds School Librarian and Information Technology certification from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (2010) and Master’s (2004) and Bachelor’s (2002) degrees from Frostburg State University. As a middle school media specialist and member of the instructional team, she facilitates Girls Who Code, empowering female future programmers. Christine is the Lead Secondary Librarian for Washington County Public Schools. She has been honored as an MSET Outstanding Educator Using Technology and was nominated for the first-ever Maryland School Librarian of the Year Award.

Hemalatha Bhaskaran, James M. Bennett High School

Wicomico County – Hemalatha Bhaskaran, James M. Bennett High School, Science, Grades 9-12

Hemalatha Bhaskaran has been teaching since 2004. She has master's degrees in Environmental Science and Teaching. Hema promotes diversity and equity both inside and outside the classroom through her leadership of the Solutions for Multicultural Achievement and Recognition Team. She engages in collaborative leadership by serving as co-chair of her school's Instructional Leadership Team, and a member of the Youth Environmental Action Summit's steering committee and the statewide Teacher Environmental Literacy Leadership. Hema was the 2014 Maryland's Environmental Science Educator of the Year and is currently the state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Christina McQuaid, Pocomoke Middle School

Worcester County – Christina McQuaid, Pocomoke Middle School, English Language Arts, Grade 5

A 17-year veteran teacher, Christina McQuaid currently lends her expertise to the fifth grade English-Language Arts program at Pocomoke Middle School. Christina believes in setting high expectations, amplifying student voice in the classroom, and building strong relationships with her students through a culture of celebration. She is a lifelong learner herself, and she strives for her students to follow her example to become lifelong readers, writers, and critical thinkers beyond the classroom to impact their own community. Christina is a mentor teacher, ELA department chairperson, grade level team leader, and an avid volunteer within her local community.