NEWARK – Fourteen Worcester County Public School teachers are being honored as their school’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, each hoping to earn the top-title as the 2011 Worcester County Teacher of the Year.
“Teachers should be celebrated every day,” said Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes. “They hold the key to our future because they help unlock the potential in our children, opening the doors of opportunity and choices. The Teacher of the Year program serves as one recognition program that helps celebrate the enormous impact that exceptional teachers have on our children, on our future.”
Each of the 14 Worcester County Teacher of the Year candidates was judged by a panel of six educators on a comprehensive portfolio and a 20-minute interview. The candidate with the highest composite score from both components will be named as the 2011 Worcester County Teacher of the Year at a banquet on April 1, held at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City.
“Our April 1 banquet will be the 24th of its kind,” said Barbara Witherow, coordinator of public relations and the Teacher of the Year Program. “It is such a positive recognition for our teachers that our very first 1988 Worcester County Teacher of the Year, retired teacher Cecelia Dennis, is still very much involved in the program. In fact, our past Teachers of the Year are the hosts and hostesses of each banquet.”
Last year, nearly 350 teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, past Teachers of the Year, dignitaries, sponsors, friends, and family members were present to hear the naming of the 2010 Worcester County Teacher of the Year: Angela Landreth of Snow Hill Middle School. Landreth will be the keynote speaker at the April 1 banquet.
The 2011 Worcester County Teacher of the Year will advance to the state level to compete with 23 other candidates, each representing their Maryland school district. Seven state finalists will be named in August 2011, and the 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be named in October 2011.
“Over the last five years,” said Witherow, “Worcester County Public Schools has had three state finalists and one Maryland Teacher of the Year (2007, Michelle Hammond).”
Below are the 2011 Worcester County Teacher of the Year candidates (in alphabetical order), one from each of the 14 schools in the Worcester County Public School System:
Floyd F. Azbell
Floyd “Butch” Azbell has been teaching heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) for six years at Worcester Technical High School (WTHS). In 2008, Azbell was recognized with two national awards: HVAC/R Teacher of the Year and the American Legion Auxiliary’s “Crystal Apple” for Teaching Excellence.
Azbell infuses humor into instruction to motivate and engage his students. Prior to teaching, he retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after 20 years of service and is a graduate of Saint Leo University and Stephen Decatur High School. He is a Skills USA advisor and an Accreditation For Growth (AFG) academic team member.
Amanda P. Celmer
Amanda Celmer graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) with a bachelor of science in special education. She earned a masters in curriculum and instructional design from the University of Phoenix and has completed 42 credits towards her EdD in teacher leadership.
Celmer is in her seventh year of teaching special education at Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS), where she specializes in working with students who have unique needs as learners. Celmer serves her school and students as the Special Education Department chair, AFG internal coordinator, mentor teacher, softball coach, and a cooperating teacher for interns.
Ashley M. Fardone
Ashley Fardone graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor of science in elementary education, earned a master’s of education in school counseling from Wilmington University, and is certified in special education. Fardone has taught second grade for five years at Showell Elementary School (SES).
She believes that educators must be committed to providing students with a nurturing and positive learning environment. Fardone teaches her students that the act of giving builds the key qualities necessary to become a productive citizen and life-long learner.
She serves as a Professional Development School (PDS) site coordinator for Salisbury University and is a member of the SES planning council committee.
Elizabeth A. Glover
Elizabeth Glover is proud to be born and raised in Worcester County and is in her 11th year of teaching at Ocean City Elementary School (OCES). She graduated from Western Maryland College with a bachelor of arts in psychology and elementary education and earned a master’s in special education from Wilmington University.
Glover strives to show each student how much she cares and believes in differentiating her instruction to ensure that all students succeed. Glover was a countywide presenter for the Reading A to Z program and currently serves as the AFG science team leader, an RLA Committee member, and an OCES AFG Planning Council member.
Michele M. Hundley
Michele Hundley has been teaching in Worcester County for 11 years, three of which have been at Berlin Intermediate School (BIS), where she currently teaches sixth grade Special Education. Hundley earned a bachelor of arts in sociology and bachelor of science in elementary education from Salisbury University, and a masters in special education from Wilmington College.
She works to inspire her students to become responsible learners and to seek continual personal growth. Hundley is a National Board Certified teacher, co-chair of the AFG sub-group achievement action team, a member of the AFG planning council, and previously has served as a cooperating teacher for interns.
Elizabeth I. Jones
Elizabeth Jones graduated with a bachelor of science in education from Indiana University – with a certification in Spanish, and is currently seeking a master’s of education in administration from Grand Canyon University.
She has taught for 22 years, joining Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) 11 years ago as a Spanish teacher at Pocomoke High School (PHS). Jones believes that educators have a responsibility to help students develop a vision for their future and to guide them toward fulfilling their goals. Having studied in Spain, Jones is a co-writer of Spanish curriculum and the World Languages chair. She also serves on the AFG planning team and the character action team.
Lisa K. Layton
Lisa Layton graduated cum laude from Greensboro College with a bachelor of arts in birth to kindergarten education. She earned a master’s of education in elementary special education from Wilmington University. Layton has taught for nine years, joining WCPS and Buckingham Elementary School (BES) six years ago. She currently teaches first grade at BES.
Layton believes in teaching her students (not just the subject) and giving them what they need to be successful. She serves as a co-chair of the AFG technology team, BES planning council member, mentor teacher, cooperating teacher for interns, and co-chair of Mentoring 101.
Allison A. Lucas
Allison Lucas is in her seventh year of teaching at Cedar Chapel Special School (CCSS). She graduated summa cum laude from UMES, with a bachelor of science in special education, and earned a masters in educational technology and leadership from Wilmington University.
Lucas holds high expectations for all of her students. She believes that teaching is sparking, inspiring, and igniting the fires of learning and empowering her students to take responsibility for their knowledge.
Lucas serves as an AFG internal coordinator, a PDS site coordinator, a cooperating teacher for interns, co-chair of the AFG technology team, and the CCSS web designer/master.
Kathleen S. McDaniel
Kathleen McDaniel is in her ninth year of teaching at Pocomoke Middle School (PMS), where she teaches seventh grade pre-Algebra. McDaniel graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor of science in elementary education and a masters degree in mathematics education.
She believes that a smile can go a long way when teaching middle school students. McDaniel always tries her best to make her students feel safe and welcome in her classroom and to show them that she truly enjoys teaching. She is the seventh grade team leader, a secretary for her school’s Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) committee, an after-school academy teacher, and a mentor.
Amy J. Nock
Amy Nock graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and is currently enrolled in the masters of leadership program at Wilmington University. Nock is in her twelfth year of teaching, joining WCPS six years ago as a second grade teacher at Snow Hill Elementary School (SHES).
She currently teaches third grade at SHES. Success, Nock believes, requires relationship building with her students and their families. She also feels that positive feedback and encouragement are the foundations for great lessons. Nock is an AFG cross-curricular team member, a cooperating teacher for interns, PBIS grade-level team member, and School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) member.
James J. O’Halloran
James O’Halloran earned a bachelor of science in health and physical education and a master’s of education from Salisbury University. He is in his 25 year of teaching physical education (PE) to seventh and eighth graders at Stephen Decatur Middle School (SDMS).
O’Halloran believes that an effective PE program empowers and influences the mind and body, providing an opportunity for students to build confidence, learn problem-solving strategies, and strengthen their bodies.
He is a Student Government Association (SGA) advisor, WCPS Health Council member, AFG planning committee member, after-school teacher, and a cooperating teacher for interns.
Jennifer L. Sills
Jennifer Sills graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor of science in biology and secondary education. She is currently pursuing a master’s in instructional technology and school library media from Towson University.
In her eighth year at Snow Hill High School (SHHS), Sills currently teaches biology and environmental life science. She wants her students to feel more interested, more excited, and more intrigued about science and the world around them.
She strives to build student connections, creating an encouraging classroom-environment where students are confident and successful. Sills is a PBIS team member, a National Honor Society faculty council member, and a new teacher mentor.
T. Emme Villaume
Emme Villaume graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English education and a masters of education, with an English concentration, from Salisbury University. She has taught for 20 years, and is in her eighth year at Snow Hill Middle School (SHMS), teaching eighth grade integrated language arts.
Villaume believes that instruction should be student-focused in an environment where students feel safe, accepted, and respected, and where students can find their voices. She wants her students to improve every day.
She is an AFG internal coordinator, arts immersion committee member, academic team leader, and a Maryland State Service Learning Fellow.
Beverly S. Watson
Beverly Watson, a 16 special education teacher at Pocomoke Elementary School (PES), earned a bachelor of arts in business administration from William and Mary, a masters in special education from UMES, and Administrator I-II Certifications from South Georgia College and State University.
Watson encourages her students to meet high academic expectations and to assume personal responsibility as independent learners. She authored the application which resulted in PES’s recognition as the first Maryland school to receive the Panasonic National School Change Award. She is a mentor teacher, a K-Kids sponsor, an AFG and academic action team member, and has presented at the National Principals’ Leadership Institute.