Ashley M. Hanson never planned on becoming a teacher.
Her first love was sports medicine and she only went into education as a back-up
plan in case she got burned out from the long hours and unpredictable schedule of an athletic trainer.
Today, Hanson has the best of both worlds as she teaches science and sports
medicine and is the school athletic trainer at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Essex.
Hanson wouldn’t want it any other way.
Hanson was one of 22 teachers and one student honored recently at the
Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce’s 63rd annual teacher recognition
awards and installation dinner. The event took place at Martin’s East.
“Little did I know that education would become the most enjoyable part of my
career,” Hanson said. “I’ve come to realize that even when my athletic trainer hat is one, I’m still teaching. I might be giving instruction on how to care for an injury or explaining how an injury occurred. We’re all teachers in a sense when we’re knowledgeable in a subject and we share that knowledge with others."
Another honoree, Stemmers Run Middle School special education teacher Kyle
Martin, said when asked to describe what it means to be a teacher, he came up with two words: hope and inspiration.
“Each day as a teacher, I’m afforded the opportunity to work with youth, struggling to learn and struggling to be teenagers,” Martin said. “I like to offer our students hope that everything will actually be alright and all of this will really mean something in the long run and hope that they can actually learn the subjects we’re teaching them. I want to give them hope that they can go where they’re destined to be.”
Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joseph Hairston said awards banquets like this are the perfect way to recognize the treasures that are educators for neighborhood schools.
“Year in and year out we’re able to produce outstanding students and graduate over 7,700 a year,” Hairston said. “It doesn’t happen by accident. It happens with the support of out community, our business community, the support of our parents, along with the dedication of our principals and our teachers.”
Other outstanding award recipients included:
- Christopher A. Wolfe, CCBC Essex – In addition to a distinguished career as a music professor, Wolfe is the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Band, a performing ensemble in residence at CCBC. He also founded the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra and encouraged both groups to share their music at local retirement homes, schools and malls. In addition, he is a clarinetist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
- Jennifer Barrett, Kenwood – The health science teacher is a consistent booster for her students and the school. This past year, she helped Kenwood raise more than $35,000 for charity, through its involvement in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Hoops for Heart and Adopt-a-Family for the holidays.
- Stephen C. Hooper, Calvert Hall – The English, creative writing and journalism teacher has spent 25 years teaching at his alma mater. He is the moderator of the award-winning school newspaper and makes an effort go out of his way for his students.
- Christy Moore, Chesapeake-BC – The U.S. History teacher is known for working tirelessly for her students while teaching them the skills necessary to be successful in college. In coordination with her role as the school’s AVID coordinator, Moore trains teachers to support the program’s goal of helping students find success in college through study and organizational skills.
- Jamie L. Bereska, Eastern Tech – The biology/anatomy and physiology teacher had 100 percent pass rate among her ninth grade students on their HSA exams. She’s also the school’s JV girls soccer coach, which she led to an 8-1 record in 2010.
- Sandra Caslin, Perry Hall High School – The world history teacher is the school’s Teacher’s Association of Baltimore County representative, a member of the Baltimore County Landmarks Commission, a faculty council member and a member of the school’s improvement team. She has also garnered praise for her work as the school’s first AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) coordinator.
- Denise P. Forbes, Golden Ring Middle School – The 6th grade math teacher is praised for finding innovative ways of engaging her students, including color-coding notes for students, providing kinesthetic activities and through the use of manipulatives. She also volunteers to attend professional development workshops to enhance her skills in the classroom.
- Debbie L. Kates, Middle River Middle School – The language arts and reading specialist is praised for her ability to disaggregate reading test data, analyze it for deficit skills and plan the next steps for all of her reading students. She also is constantly assisting her peers in their efforts to improve reading through content areas and has led a number of staff development activities.
- Barbara W. Roemer, Carney Elementary – The special education/inclusion teacher is a member of the professional development steering committee at the school. She is considered a leader among her peers and is actively involved in the school improvement team, chairing the education that is multicultural action team. She is also Carney’s “good news ambassador,” sharing school events and programs with a multitude of media.
- Lea D. Dissen, Chase Elementary – The school counselor is in charge of several programs at the school designed to develop positive behavior and improve student attendance. She also teaches engaging guidance lessons that are focused on the students’ needs. In addition, she meets with students individually and in small groups to reinforce what is taught in the classroom. Among her other efforts, Dissen is in charge of the school’s bowl-a-thon and the food drive and spearheaded the “Hearts for Haiti” project last year. Dissen also works with school staff to identify and provide for needy families at Chase at Thanksgiving, Christmas and throughout the year.
- Tracy A. Skeels, Essex Elementary – The art teacher is known for going beyond the curriculum and presents information with a new and fresh approach utilizing technology integration and higher-level critical thinking skills. She also organized a photography club this year and worked to present a photography night with Essex Elementary’s professional development school, Stevenson University, where more than 200 people attended.
- Michael C. Lambert, Fullerton Elementary – The physical education teacher regularly conducts a “Jump Rope for Heart” campaign to raise funds for the American Heart Association. He chairs, plans and coordinates an annual bull roast for the school to raise funds to support technology. This year, he is initiating a “Marathon for Kids” walking program to promote fitness and raise funds for technology support. He also regualry coaches middle school students in basketball, which allows him to keep in touch with former students.
- Jennifer E. Guanti, Glenmar Elementary – The reading specialist is praised for her intervention instruction for students in kindergarten through second grade. She also chairs the reading committee, plans the annual “Reading Family Night,” organizes “Jump Start for Reading” and manages the fall and spring reading incentive programs. As a teacher, she also incorporates incentive programs to motivate students to improve their reading and writing skills and is a model of instructional practice for other teachers.
- Cindy Ellinger, Hawthorne Elementary – The first grade teacher is known for her effective instructional lesson plans and a commitment to school-wide activities. This includes being the chairperson for the school’s St. Jude’s Hospital fundraiser and has assisted with the care of the school’s garden. Ellinger is also a member of the school’s Professional Learning Community which assists staff members with professional growth.
- Maryann Nietubicz, Joppa View Elementary – The third grade teacher is constantly encouraging her students to reach their full potential and is able to structure her lessons based on their needs. Nietubicz is also very active at the school, including participating on the school’s leadership team and the technology committee while also serving as the school liaison for the STEM Fair, Bowl-a-Thon and MSA Coach class.
- Dawn Boulder, McCormick Elementary – The school guidance counselor is acutely aware of her students’ needs and develops strategies to assist them and their families, to guide and to promote social, emotional and academic needs. To this end, Boulder has effectively maintained group practices and school-wide initiatives that focus on character development, conflict resolution and personal reflection and intervention.
- Angela Leitzer, Middleborough Elementary – The art teacher with 38 years of experience not only teaches students the historical perspective of art, but she also incorporates the use of technology in her daily and long-range lessons to enhance her instruction. She consistently listens to and mentors novice teachers on best practices for students.
- Donna O. Krach, Middlesex Elementary – The special education/inclusion teacher creates an environment where students love to learn. She sparks the interest and creativity of her students, and as a result, students work for extended periods of time actively engaged in learning. Also, when another special education teacher went out on maternity leave, Krach volunteered to complete all of the teacher’s paperwork, sat in on all of her team meetings and completed all of her progress reports.
- Sandra Fox Adams, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School & Children’s Center – The first grade teacher with 39 years of experience works to create a structured learning environment for her students and helps them grow as independent learners. She is also eager to learn and incorporate new teaching strategies in the classroom and crafts interactive, creative lessons.
- Kelly A. Baron, Sandalwood Elementary – The fourth grade teacher has been commended for her creation of a classroom that is child-centered and her encouragement of students to become actively engaged in the learning process. She also consistently reaches out to the students most in need and provides the extra care and support necessary to find their way to greater success. In addition, Baron serves as a resource for her teaching peers and freely exchanges strategies and concepts with teachers at all grade levels.
- Jacqueline Goldsmith, Mars Estates Elementary – The new teacher mentor/ special education teacher works with new teachers to provide support, encouragement, and professional development. This ensures that they have the knowledge, resources, and strategies to be successful. Because she takes a hands-on approach to helping her colleagues she both models best practice and goes into classroom to work with teachers to create an environment of best practice throughout the school. Goldsmith is also a special educator, providing interventions and support for students with special needs in third grade.