Annual Teacher Banquet Next Week

NEWARK — Worcester County’s 25th Teacher of the Year Banquet will be held next Friday, March 30 in Ocean City.

“This year’s 25th Teacher of the Year Banquet will be as much about looking back, as it will be about looking forward,” said Barbara Witherow, Coordinator of the Teacher of the Year Program for Worcester County Public Schools. “Where we have been and where we are going define us as a school system, and this year’s silver anniversary promises to celebrate both!”

In 1988, the first Worcester County Teacher of the Year – Cecelia Dennis – earned the coveted title, serving one year as the education ambassador for the school system.

“Once an ambassador, always an ambassador,” said Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes, in reference to the former Worcester County Teachers of the Year. “Our former Teachers of the Year continue to support this program, in addition to serving as advocates for children and high-quality education. Every year, we bring them back together to say thank you.”

In addition to recognizing the former Worcester County Teachers of the Year, the March 30 banquet, held at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, will honor the 14 teachers who hope to earn the top-title for 2012.

“With tough economic times, tightening operating budgets, education reform, and diminishing resources, educators need a positive ambassador more than ever,” said Andes. “We need to celebrate, lift up, and praise teachers and the teaching profession. Their impact is immeasurable. I still attribute much of my success to my third grade teacher.”

Each of the 14 Worcester County Teacher of the Year candidates – one from each school – was judged by a panel of six educators on a comprehensive portfolio and a 20-minute interview. The candidate with the highest composite score will be named as the 2012 Worcester County Teacher of the Year at the banquet.

Last year, over 300 teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, former Teachers of the Year, dignitaries, sponsors, friends, and family members were present to hear the naming of the 2011 Worcester County Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Sills of Snow Hill High School. Sills will be the keynote speaker at the March 30 banquet.

The 2012 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 and the 2012-2013 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be named in October.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.