Character Counts Partners with Annapolis Police Department

Character Counts Mid Shore’s Winners Walk Tall program headed west across the Chesapeake Bay to partner with the City of Annapolis’ Police Department after receiving a call from Miguel Dennis, APD Director of Professional Standards.  Dennis, a former Character Coach at St. Michaels Elementary School, knew the program would benefit the youth in the Annapolis area.  Georgetown East Elementary School’s grade 4 was targeted.  Members of the Annapolis Police Department were trained as Coaches and matched with classrooms.

The Character Counts program at GEES was a huge success”, Dennis remarked. “The program was enthusiastically embraced by school personnel, students and coaches.  We look forward to the 2017-2018 school year with another opportunity to teach our younger citizens.”

Front row – Officer B. Coppage; Cpl. A. Miguez; Ms. A. Woytko; Ms. M. Ross; Ms. P. Norris and Cpl. K. Freeman. Back row – Sgt. N. Vaden; Mr. J. Hudson; Chief S. Baker; Lt. K. Krauss; Firefighter K. Smith; Mr. M. Dennis.

An awards celebration was held in May and a Character Counts bench was presented to the school by the APD coaches.

Principal of the school, Mr. Andre Dillard stated, “The program was a complete success! The officers and staff of the Annapolis Police Department were extremely professional and friendly. They were able to build a strong rapport with our students and staff. They also implemented the pillars of the program with complete fidelity. We look forward to having the Character Counts program and the Annapolis Police Department with us for the upcoming school year and for years to come.”

CCMS Executive Director, Susan Luby added, “Youth need a solid foundation of values and to build relationships with law enforcement officers.  This is a win-win opportunity for both the students at Georgetown East and APD.  We are thrilled to expand our programs that make a positive difference in the communities.”

No mid shore funding was used to support the program in Annapolis.  For more information about Character Counts Mid Shore, visit or call 410-819-0386.

Psychologist Dr. Lauren Littlefield to Speak at Wye River Upper School

Wye River Upper School is pleased to announce that Dr. Lauren Littlefield, psychologist and associate professor, will be presenting on – Building Better Habits: Organization, Planning and Goal Setting Strategies for Adolescents with Executive Dysfunction.

Dr. Littlefield will support parents and other guests in their understanding of executive functioning and methods for breaking old habits and forming new, more effective ones. The audience will be guided in an activity to help them conceptualize executive functions in everyday terms, which will ultimately help them to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. Participants will build an awareness for what individuals with executive skills challenges experience on a daily basis. These individuals include children and adolescents, individuals who have suffered a concussion, and those diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Strategies geared toward supporting the different executive functioning challenges will be offered; for instance, learning is supported by planning ahead, managing time, organizing space, and forming routines. Goal setting and its various barriers will also be discussed.
Dr. Littlefield is a psychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She teaches Neuropsychology, Psychological Assessment, and Diagnosis and Group Therapy to undergraduate students.

The event is open to the public and will be held Thursday, July 27 from 7pm – 8:15pm at Wye River Upper School located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617. Register for your free tickets by visiting

For more information, contact Katie Theeke at (410) 758-2922 or Wye River Upper School is an independent, college preparatory school serving bright students with learning differences such as ADD/ADHD and dyslexia. We discover through innovation, develop with rigor and celebrate the strengths of our students, while preparing him or her for success in college, career and life.

Wye River Upper School Welcomes New Board Members

Wye River Upper School (WRUS) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to their Board of Trustees – Dr. Clayton A. Railey, III and Mrs. Darby Hewes. Both members joined the WRUS Board on July 1, 2017. Their diverse experiences in a variety of educational settings brings new knowledge and perspective to the team.  

Railey currently serves as Vice President for Workforce and Academic Programs at the Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. His professional background encompasses many areas including teaching, conflict resolution, museum studies, school administration, theology, and counseling. He has spent years in academia earning several degrees, teaching undergrads, and learning many languages. Most notably he obtained a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.

Hewes brings strengths in graphic and fine arts, business management, and teaching. Over the years, she has studied fine arts, architecture, graphics, and education. She earned a B.A. from University of Florida, and a B.F.A. from Washington College. She has also taught photography at Washington College and currently specializes in developing marketing materials for various non-profits. Hewes serves on several boards throughout Kent County. Her past work experience in construction management and engineering also adds an important skill set as Wye River continues to maintain and care for their newly renovated building in Centreville.

“Our Board is fortunate to be welcoming these two talented individuals with extensive and relevant backgrounds. Their combined experience encompasses education, the arts, school administration, and marketing – just to name a few. I could not be more delighted to have their help as we continue to enhance and grow the Wye River program,” said Board Chair, Alexa Seip.

Wye River Upper School serves bright high school students with learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia. Darby Hewes has been getting to the school over the past few years and she explains, “WRUS is a unique environment where students with learning challenges find their frustration turn into excitement and motivation. Strength based learning with an emphasis on areas of organization, time management and self-monitoring prepare students to succeed in college and future careers.  WRUS is one of these unique places where teens can explore their passions, create goals and build a solid educational foundation for their future.”

The School is located in Centreville, MD, and WRUS students come from several surrounding counties. Transportation is provided to both Eastern and Western Shores. For more information, call (410) 758-2922 or visit

Gunston Students Earned Medals on the National Spanish Exam

Congratulations to world language students from the Gunston School who recently attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2017 National Spanish Examinations, earning a total of 1 gold, 3 silver, and 6 bronze medals along with 16 honorable mentions.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.”

Front row L-R: Ben Byerly ’17, Isabelle Schmittinger ’19, ​Re​ DeFino ’19, ​Emma​ Johnson ’17, Elyssa Merton ’19, Tyler Judd ’18. Back row L-R: George Bowie ’17, Griffin Hecht ’19, Henry Parkhurst ’18, Davy Song ’19, and Spanish Teacher Ms. Avis Wheatl​e​y.

Gold medalists at level 1: Haorui Song
Silver medalists at level 1: Griffin Hecht, Elyssa Merton
Silver medalists at level 5: George Bowie
Bronze medalists at level 1: Rebecca DeFino, Isabelle Schmittinger
Bronze medalists at level 2: Emma Johnson
Bronze medalists at level 3: Tyler Judd
Bronze medalists at level 4: Ben Byerly, Henry Parkhurst
Students receiving honorable mention at level 1: Rick Archambault, Philip Ashley, Tirza Enriquez, Zack Goss, Brennan Paddy, Garrett Rudolfs; at level 2: Chad Angelini, Simon Cawley, Emma Hottel, Hopewell Murphy, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel; at level 3: Alice Agee, Alex Papadopoulos, Maddy Romberger; at level 5: Abigail Miller.

The students were taught by Spanish teachers, Juan Angarita and Avis Wheatley. This is the fifth year Gunston has participated in the exams.

The National Spanish Examinations are sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Easton High School Navy Junior ROTC Receives “Outstanding Unit” Award

Easton High School’s NJROTC unit recently held their annual end of year awards ceremony/cadet change of command at the EHS cafeteria. Friends, family members and members of community service and patriotic groups looked on as awards and recognition were given to the deserving cadets. Leadership and scholarship awards were given by representatives from the following groups: the American Legion Posts 70 and 77; the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5118, the Navy League of the United States; the Reserve Officer’s Association; the Military Officers Association; the Daughters of the American Revolution; the National Society, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart; the Military Order of World Wars; and the Surface Navy Association. NJROTC specific recognitions were also awarded to cadets in the Distinguished and Honor categories.

The event also celebrated the accomplishments of the outgoing staff which was ably led by Commanding Officer Taylor Bennett and welcomed the incoming staff for school year 2017-2018: Commanding Officer Josh Valdez; Executive Officer Shelby Turner, Operations Officer Meredith Strickland; Administration Officer Sergio Velazquez and Supply Officer Jeremiah Gardner.

The unit celebrated a successful year of accomplishments which included the annual Veterans recognition ceremonies, superb performance in drill and athletic meets, and a 3 day field trip to Yorktown and Norfolk Virginia. The Unit was identified by the NJROTC Area 5 Manager, Captain James Daniels as having risen to the “Outstanding” level for the first time in the 21 years the unit has been in existence. All active cadets were awarded the “Unit Achievement ribbon” and a banner will be displayed on the unit ”Guide-on” to be displayed during drill competitions and parades.

The Easton High School NJROTC unit is open to all Easton, Saint Michael’s, North Caroline and Colonel Richardson high school students, offering Naval Science 1-4 classes. There is no obligation, commitment or expectation for students to join the Armed Forces.

EHS Navy Junior ROTC Students Visit Coast Guard Training Center

Thirty-four members of the Easton High School’s NJROTC unit recently spent 3 days at the US Coast Guard’s Training Center in Yorktown, NJ.  Students from Easton, Saint Michaels, North Caroline and Colonel Richardson High Schools who are in the NJROTC unit, spent 2 nights onboard the Coast Guard’s advanced Training facility.  Under the supervision of professional Coastguardsmen and women, the cadets experienced real world training in a variety of areas and gained great appreciation for the perseverance and hard work that goes into the training of those who serve in the United States Coast Guard.

The training syllabus included experiencing the damage control or “wet” trainer; shipboard firefighting, dual ship bridge simulators and “marlinspike seamanship” The group, which included both EHS Naval Science Instructors and two parent/chaperones, also toured the USS Bainbridge, an active duty Navy destroyer based at the Norfolk Naval Station and the battleship “USS Wisconsin, a WW II era battleship at the “Nauticus Museum” complex in Norfolk.

Throughout the training, the Coast Guard’s “core values”: Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty, were practiced by the professional Coast Guard staff and cadets alike.  “Many cadets felt that the experience was among the best in their young lives and a weekend very well spent,” said Jon Hammond, LCDR, USCG (Ret.), Senior Naval Science Instructor for Easton High School NJROTC.

TCPS Gifted and Talented Program Holds STEM Olympics

Students in the Talbot County Public Schools Elementary Gifted and Talented Program participated in the 2nd Annual STEM Olympics at Easton Elementary School-Moton Building. Students were also able to showcase their projects from the school year.

Throughout the year these students explored units in Natural Disasters, Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.  During the Stem Olympics, students worked in teams to solve the “Super Typhoon Engineering Challenge” applying engineering design process skills. Each grade was given a different type of problem.  Third grade teams worked on Spatial Reasoning; 4th grade tackled Biomedical Engineering; and the 5th grade challenge involved Oceanography.  Medals were awarded for the teams that created the most effective solutions.

The mission of the TCPS gifted and talented program is to provide accelerated educational opportunities that recognize the unique intellectual, academic, social and emotional needs of gifted students.  Teachers provide differentiated educational experiences to challenge students and accommodate different learning styles.  The program is currently offered in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Foundation of Hope Holds Certificate Ceremony

The Foundation of HOPE, Inc., held a certificate ceremony at the Talbot County Library for girls in sixth grade who completed the Economic Development and Empowerment Program at Easton Middle School.. The Economic Development and Empowerment Program is a 16 week afterschool program that delivers a new topic each week such as: self-esteem, how to deal with bullying, leading a healthy lifestyle, saying no to drugs and alcohol, the importance of community service, workforce development which includes; how to fill out a job application, how to interview, what to wear and the importance of a good personal record; economic and community development, social media, financial literacy, leadership, public speaking and entrepreneurship where they learn the tools to develop a business plan. The program provides for students to meet once a week after school to receive training. They spend the first hour focused on homework assistance and the remaining hour is spent learning the training program topics. Each week the participants are provided a hot meal, this year a local restaurant provided food each week.

The Foundation of H.O.P.E., was founded by Keasha Haythe, CEcD, a 16 year economic development veteran who is a certified economic development professional, Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) Board of Directors Immediate Past President and President of The MEDA Foundation, Inc.. She continues her passion for economic development by serving as President and Founder of the foundation and launching the Economic Development and Empowerment Program. Haythe stated “As an economic development professional the common theme heard from business leaders is that adults are not prepared with the soft skills needed to fill positions. This program focuses on soft skills at an age where the young girls are transitioning and preparing for work in two years.The young ladies completing the program are receiving the necessary skills and tools to be self-sufficient and great leaders in their community,” said Haythe

Girls who received a certificate of completion were: Amorie Blake, Lilyanna Cook, Maya Hawkins-Bailey, Ashley Vargas, Maretta Walker and Ja’Kyra Ware. Without the support of our sponsors and many partners we would not be able to offer this program. We are grateful for the partnership with Talbot County Public Schools. The Foundation of H.O.P.E. Board of Directors is preparing for their Annual Fundraiser to be held at the Milestone in Easton, MD on Wednesday December 6, 2017 from 6pm-8pm.

About the Foundation of HOPE

Our mission is to help young girls lead productive lives in their communities by providing cultural, social and educational development. For more information like us on Facebook and visit our website at

Will Rieck Receives Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship

Will Rieck (center) with Lin Clineburg (left), Scholarship Committee member, and Dr. Virginia Blatchley (right), Scholarship Committee co-chair.

Will Rieck, a 2017 St. Michaels High School graduate, is the recipient of the 17th Annual Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES) Scholarship. The $4,500.00 merit scholarship was awarded to Rieck in recognition of his outstanding academic record, strong work ethic, and commitment to environmental science and sustainable agriculture.

Rieck will enroll in the Honors College at the University of Michigan this fall. He has also been accepted into the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy where he intends to focus his efforts on environmental policy.

“In a field of outstanding candidates, Will stood out because of his commitment to working in the field of public policy to forward effective state and federal policies for environmental sustainability and conservation,” Dr. Virginia Blatchley, scholarship committee co-chair says. “We were particularly impressed with Will’s seriousness of purpose, inquisitive intellect, and willingness to challenge himself academically.”

The GCES offers a scholarship annually to graduating seniors from Talbot County public and independent high schools. Students being home schooled are also eligible. The scholarship is available to students with outstanding academic records, who are also considering careers in botany, horticulture, agriculture, landscape architecture or design, environmental science, or related fields.

Dr. Blatchley adds: “We have always had strong candidates for the GCES scholarship, but this year’s field was extraordinary. All nine candidates had distinguished themselves both academically and through their service to the community while in high school and we are certain that they will not only succeed in college, but excel.”

The GCES is committed to promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and to providing programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. It spearheaded the extensive restoration of Easton’s Thompson Park. It also maintains several gardens in the community including those at Thompson Park and the Academy Art Museum in Easton.

“In addition to our other community involvement, our annual scholarship has the full support of every member of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, “ Samantha McCall, GCES President says. “I personally believe that this investment in the future of the talented,hardworking young people in our county is the most important thing that we do as a group.”

For additional information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-770-9035. -30

TCPS Announces Administrative Appointments

Talbot County Public Schools has announced two additional administrative changes.  Mrs. Alison Strickland has been appointed to Assistant Principal at Easton Middle School, and Mrs. Christine Davis will become Curriculum Supervisor for Secondary English & Social Studies, ESOL, World Language and Library Media.

Mrs. Strickland is a graduate of Easton High School. She attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Strickland taught kindergarten at White Marsh Elementary School for four years before moving to Easton Middle School as a sixth grade language arts teacher. During her time at Easton Middle School, she obtained her school administration certification from Towson University. In 2016, she was appointed to the administrative intern position at Easton Elementary School-Moton.

Mrs. Alison Strickland and Mrs. Christine Davis.

Ali and her husband, John, are proud mentors through Talbot Mentors. They reside in Easton with their daughter, Bradley.

Mrs. Davis graduated from Saint Michaels Middle High School.  She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. from Salisbury University, where she also became certified as a Reading Specialist.  She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Contemporary Curriculum & Instruction:  Literacy at Salisbury.

Christine has 20 years of experience teaching in public schools, with the last 15 years being with TCPS as classroom teacher at Easton Elementary, Saint Michaels Elementary and Saint Michaels Middle High School.  She has also worked as a Reading Specialist/Intervention and Enrichment teacher at Easton Elementary and Saint Michaels Elementary, and she held the position of Administrative Intern at Easton Middle School.In addition, she has worked as a Salisbury University, Eastern Shore Writing Project Summer Institute Instructor.

Mrs. Davis volunteered as a St. Michaels Middle High School Character Counts Coach from 2014-2015, has been a member of the St. Michaels Elementary School PTA since 2010, and served as Site Parent Advisory Committee Chairperson for the Critchlow Adkins Children’s Center-St. Michaels from 2010-2013.  She and her husband Andre are both Eastern Shore natives and reside locally with their sons Andre and Chris, who both attend Talbot County Public Schools.