Talbot County Public Schools is proud to announce the 2016-17 candidates for Teacher of the Year! Candidates were nominated for the award by parents, students, staff and members of the community. The winner will be named at the Annual TCPS Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony on April 14, 2016. The MD State Department of Education recognizes teachers from all 24 local education agencies and then chooses the one person to represent Maryland, as Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. This award is a highly recognized achievement. Maryland’s Teacher of the Year holds a prominent position as a state education spokesperson and is also Maryland’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.
The 2016-17 TCPS candidates are:
Easton Elementary School (Moton) fifth grade teacher, Jeffrey Bell, has had many accomplishments during his twenty-six year tenure at Easton Elementary. He is passionate about the teaching profession and the mastery of his craft. He considers school to be an extension of community in which he plays an active role as a highly involved scout leader. Jeffrey continuously works toward integrating technologies into instruction and provides his learners with “real life” experiences. His hands-on and project-based approach to education engages and unites students to our community and beyond.
Sarah Crebs is a first grade special education teacher at Easton Elementary School (Dobson). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and her Masters of Science in Exceptionalities, both from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Sarah will also finish her Administrator I Certification from Salisbury University in May 2016. She is highly involved in the school community and acts as the Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions Chair, Check In Check Out Chair, School Improvement Team Member as well as Equity and Collaborative Action Research for Equity team member. Sarah is a Faculty Advisory Committee member and has developed an after school reading program for at-risk students.
Jeremy Hillyard is a sixth-year Spanish teacher at Easton High School. In his first year, he was voted Best New Teacher by Easton High students and was selected in 2015 as the Talbot County recipient of the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union (ESFCU) Professional Development Award. Jeremy serves as a school and community mentor for three Latino students and is currently developing a Spanish for Teachers continuing education course to offer to Talbot County employees. He was also selected as one of eight Spanish teachers nationwide to travel to Nicaragua on a global enterprise trip with the Pulsera Project.
Tara Leeson is a K-5 art educator at Chapel District Elementary School. Previously, she taught for seven years at Kent Island Elementary in Queen Anne’s County. Tara received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Washington College, and earned her Resident Teacher Certification in 2006. WINX-FM recently named Tara the Teacher of the Month for October 2016. She is a member of the Equity Team as serves as a TCPS Technology Vanguard Team Leader at Chapel District.
Annie is an English teacher at Easton Middle School. She earned a BS in Business Management from Thomas Edison State University and a M.Ed. in Learning and Technology from Western Governor’s University. A Gulf War veteran, Annie began her teaching career in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At EMS, Annie serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee, Bullying Prevention Committee, English Department Chair, as well as club advisor for afterschool programs. Annie is also a member of the District’s curriculum writing and technology teams respectively. In the community, she is a member of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society and a Stop Bullying Talbot school representative.
Caitlin McKee is a special education teacher at St. Michaels Elementary School in St. Michaels, Maryland. She has served as a presenter at several special education trainings, New Teacher Recruiter, cooperating/mentor teacher and member of the Talbot County Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee. She utilizes differentiated instruction strategies and employs multiple academic interventions to meet the individual needs of her students. Ms. McKee recently graduated with a Master’s in Special Education from Drexel University. Prior to joining Talbot County Public Schools, Ms. McKee attended Juniata College where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Unified Elementary and Special Education.
Lu Ann McKelvey, a prekindergarten and PE teacher at Tilghman Elementary, is a graduate of Salisbury University with a BS in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Early Childhood. She serves on the school’s School Improvement Team, CARE Team, and is the school’s Equity Practitioner. In the community, she is actively involved with St. Michael’s Community Center, Royal Oak Church and the Unity Group. Lu Ann believes that all students need a strong educational foundation that includes rigorous classroom activities, hands on experiences, and use of technology. She incorporates all of these on a daily basis in her instruction.
Jessica Santora is Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Mathematics and Equity Leader at St. Michaels Middle/High School. She consistently creates student-centered activities that engage students on their academic and emotional level. Through her artful coaching, students explore higher-level thinking and challenge themselves to be creative problem solvers. She is a professional leader, opening her classroom to mentor her colleagues in their craft, encouraging them to develop authentic relationships with all students. A graduate of West Chester University with a degree in early childhood and special education and a master’s degree from Salisbury University, her mission is to change the world by making a difference for each student.
Susie Shafer has been teaching with Talbot County Public Schools for fourteen years and has taught Pre-Kindergarten through third grades. Susie is currently a first grade teacher at White Marsh Elementary School, a position that she has held for the past six years. She participated in the Maryland State Department of Education Educator Effectiveness Academy in 2013, and went on to train teachers in Talbot County in the implementation of the English/Language Arts Common Core Standards during the 2013-2014 school year. Susie enjoys incorporating technology into her first grade classroom, and this year, she has been a member of the TCPS Technology Vanguard Team. Susie holds a Bachelors degree from Washington College and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University.