EHS Students Kick Off Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™ 2017 Programming

Students from Easton High School joined forces to pack 100 meals which were sent to the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore.  This service project was organized as part of the students’ participation in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™, a national high school leadership program that not only teaches students leadership skills, but also empowers students to put their skills into action.

David Salyers, Vice President of Brand Activation at Chick-fil-A Inc., says students have an immediate and direct impact through the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy when they pack meals for those in need.  “We are excited to partner with high schools across the country with the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders to strengthen their communities,” said Salyers.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation offers financial support to the impact projects and local Chick-fil-A Franchisee Operators sponsor the program for the schools in their community and often serve as mentors to the students involved. The Easton High program is being sponsored by Matt Gibson, owner of the Easton Chik-fil-A, in partnership with the Easton High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, which is led by their advisor, Mrs. Jennie Peitz.

Each month, the FBLA club meets and completes the activities planned through the Leader Academy.  “At the October meeting, Matt Gibson was there to introduce himself and give an overview of the program,” said Mrs. Peitz. “As an added bonus, he brought sandwiches for all of the students!”

Students are expected to learn leadership skills and apply them throughout the school year to plan and implement their impact projects. The students don’t just learn about leadership in the classroom, they also get out in the community to put what they learn into action, making an “Impact through Action” in their community.

Learn more about the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy at

Easton High School Students Selected for MD General Assembly Page Program

Kristin Ketterman (left) will serve as Page and Katie Spofford (right) will be the alternate.

Two Easton High students have been chosen to represent Talbot County in the Maryland General Assembly Student Page Program this year.  Kristin Ketterman will serve as Page and Katie Spofford will be the alternate.

Kristin Ketterman has been active in Junior Statesmen of America serving as Easton High Chapter President, is Vice President of the Human Rights Club, and is a member of National Honor Society. She has also been a member of the Easton High Varsity Cross Country Team. This past summer she attended the Gettysburg College Campaign and Elections Academy.  She has held internships in both the Talbot and Caroline County Public Defender’s Offices, and has volunteered as a Lab Assistant and Tour Guide at Horn Point Laboratory.  She has also been a volunteer at The Talbot County Democratic Headquarters as well as the Friends Helping Friends Soup Kitchen. Kristin plans to major in Political Science in college.

Katie Spofford is currently serving as the Easton High School student representative to the Board of Education.  She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society of which she was elected Secretary.  She volunteers as a Juror for Teen Court, and holds the office of Student Government Secretary.  She has been a member of the Varsity Soccer and Indoor Track Teams, the Chesapeake All Star Cheerleading Team, the High Voltage All Star Dance and Cheerleading Team and the Talbot and Bay Country Figure Skating Teams.  She held several offices at the 2017 ALA Maryland Girls’ State, including Governor. She has also volunteered at the Talbot Interfaith Shelter and the YMCA and has been a National Honor Society Tutor, a Bay Bridge Run volunteer, a service dog trainer, and she was an intern for Congressman Andy Harris.  Katie hopes to pursue a career in politics.

Maryland high school seniors have served as student pages for members of the state legislature since 1970. Each year 105 pages and 36 alternates from across Maryland are selected by their local school systems to represent their schools and Counties.  Each selected page serves two nonconsecutive weeks in either the Senate or House of Delegates.  During the thirteen weeks of session, which run from the second week in January to early April, each page serves one week during the first eight weeks and returns for a second week during the last five.  The duties of pages are driven by the schedule of the chamber to which they are assigned.

Requirements include being a high school senior, residing and attending a public or nonpublic high school in Maryland, having an interest in government and history, a record of good conduct, scholastic achievement and being outgoing, courteous, reliable and efficient.  Interested students should apply through their schools in September and selection is completed by October 1st of each year.

Talbot County Public Schools Recognizes Advanced Placement Scholars

The Board of Education recognized students who have achieved the status of Advanced Placement Scholar through their performance on AP exams throughout high school. The list includes members of the classes of 2017 and 2018. AP exams are scored on a 5-point scale, with many colleges and universities granting credits for scores of 3, 4 or 5. A scores of 3 or higher indicate a student is considered “Qualified” for college credit and capable of being successful in a college level introductory course in the particular content area.

There are 4 levels of AP Scholar, with definitions as follows:

National AP Scholar – Score of 4 or higher on all exams; completed at least 8 exams
AP Scholar with Distinction – Average of 3.5 or higher; 3 or higher on 5 or more exams
AP Scholar with Honor – Average of 3.25 or higher; 3 or higher on 4 or more Exams
AP Scholar – Score of 3 or higher on 3 or more exams

The following students are Talbot County Public Schools’ Advanced Placement Scholars for 2017 by level, graduation year and school:

AP Scholar with Distinction

Easton High Class of 2018
Matthew Langfitt
Alyssa Lucero
Katie Spofford

Easton High Class of 2017
Claire Anovick
Deirdre Gallagher
Ella Joshi
Samuel Newmier
Maleah Nichols
Rachel Quimby
Brendan Wazniak
Samuel Woertz
William Zhao

Saint Michaels High Class of 2017
Will Rieck
Zoe Thomas

AP Scholar with Honor

Easton High Class of 2018
Martin Eutsey
Kristin Ketterman
Joseph Odenwald
Abigail Wittman

Saint Michaels High Class of 2018
Jack Gill

Easton High Class of 2017
Maija Griffioen
Monte James
Cameron Miller
Perrin Poole
Charles Shearman
Luca Tondin

Saint Michaels High Class of 2017
Julianna Burns
Christopher Chansler

AP Scholar

Easton High Class of 2018
Alexander Begley
Arlette Felix-Martinez
Jordan Friedman
Elizabeth Hostetter
Adrienne Hurst
Matthew Keeler
Julia Kuchnio
Hunter Mentges
Suzanne Pineda
Ellie Roser
Richard Teale
Caroline Wood

Saint Michaels High Class of 2018
Taylor Wheatley

Easton High Class of 2017
Katherine Ball
Andrew Daly
Benjamin Gardner
Corey Hall
Christopher Harrison
Cameron Mathis
Molly Oertel
Miranda Otwell
Shiv Patel
Ezekiel Redmond
Leslie Rodriguez Casti
Kendal Scharch
Gwendolyn Stevenson
David Stockman
Joshua Tindale
Martina Towers
Elizabeth Verteramo

Saint Michaels High Class of 2017
Ziola Berry
Cecelia Castleberry
Sheridan Cowell
Drew Trevelyan
Cassandra Wojcik

“Congratulations to all of these outstanding students on their accomplishments,” said Superintendent Kelly Griffith. “Advanced Placement courses offer our students the opportunity to experience college level courses, and in many cases, qualify for college credit based on their scores. We will continue to work to expand our Advanced Placement opportunities and encourage all students to try AP!”

First Grade Pumpkin Decorating Tradition Continues

Ms. Charlene Deshields, first grade teacher at Easton Elementary School – Dobson, held her annual class pumpkin decorating contest! All of the entries were amazingly creative. The following students received awards:

Most Original Pumpkin – Grant Neild
Prettiest Pumpkin – Brooklynn Thomas-Young
Funniest Pumpkin – Delmira Caniza-Galvez
Scariest Pumpkin – Jackson Force

Congratulations to the entire class on a job well done!

Valcik is Named Acting Principal at Eason Middle

Talbot County Public Schools has announced that Mrs. Jaclyn Valcik has been appointed Acting Principal of Easton Middle School. Valcik replaces Dr. Norby Lee, who has served as Principal of EMS since 2010. Dr. Lee has taken a leave of absence due to a family illness which will extend through January 25, 2018, at which time she will retire.

Mrs. Valcik earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision I from Loyola University. She has Maryland Advanced Professional Certification in Elementary Grades 1 – 8 and Administration & Supervision I and II. She has served as Assistant Principal at Easton Middle School since 2014.

“Mrs. Valcik’s professional background, including her educational experience, will enable her to provide a smooth transition and effectively lead through the remainder of the school year,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent.

Valcik began her career with Talbot County Public Schools in 2003 as a long-term Substitute at Chapel District Elementary. She then taught third grade at Easton Elementary – Moton from 2003 to 2007, first grade at Easton Elementary – Dobson in 2007-2008, and sixth grade English/Language Arts at Easton Middle School from 2008 – 2010. Mrs. Valcik was Talbot County Teacher of the Year for 2010 – 2011. She was promoted to Assistant Principal at Easton Elementary School in 2010, where she remained until 2014.

“I am honored to lead this group of eager, enthusiastic and talented staff and students,” Valcik said. “Dedicated staff, determined students,and supportive parents and community members ignite the pathway to our unlimited potential at Easton Middle School. We are excited about the many opportunities for our families and community members to become involved at Easton Middle School.”

Saint Michaels Middle/High Announces Fall Productions

St. Michaels Middle High School Drama presents: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) Act I and The Actor’s Nightmare, directed by Carol Reed and Daniel Smith.

Performances will be held on Thursday, November 2nd at 7 pm, Friday, November 3rd at 7 pm, and Saturday, November 4th at 7 pm at the SMMHS Auditorium at 200 Seymour Ave. St. Michaels, MD 21663. Tickets are $5 students and $7 for adults.

About the Plays:

Reduced Shakespeare Abridged: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s classic farce, two of its original writer/performers (Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) have revised the show to bring it up to date for 21st-century audiences, incorporating some of the funniest material from the numerous amateur and professional productions that have been performed around the world. It quickly earned the title of London’s second-longest-running comedy after a decade at the Criterion Theatre. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is one of the world’s most frequently produced plays. Fast paced, witty, and physical, it’s full of laughter for Shakespeare lovers and haters alike.

The Actor’s Nightmare: An accountant named George finds himself inexplicably backstage one day. When he is confronted by the stage manager, it becomes apparent that he is the understudy for an actor who has apparently broken both his legs. The man must perform in his stead, but cannot remember attending any rehearsals or being an actor at all. To make matters worse, he is unable to get a straight answer as to what the play is. He attempts to improvise his lines; however, the play inconsistently shifts between scenes and in the final part of the play, the man is alarmed to learn that he is to play the part of Sir Thomas More – and the execution seems a bit too real for his liking.

Education Foundation Announces Advisory Board

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural Advisory Board. The Foundation was formed in October of 2016 in partnership with the Mid-Shore Community FoundationIts mission is to engage and utilize community resources to provide Talbot County Public Schools students and teachers with otherwise unavailable enrichment opportunities that will enhance the TCPS educational experience and produce exceptional graduates. The Advisory Board includes the following distinguished members of our community, who share a commitment to supporting quality public education in Talbot County.

The TCPS Education Foundation Announces its first Advisory Board. L-R: F. Graham Lee; Rebecca Firth, Ph.D.; JoAnn Asparagus Murray; Juanita Hopkins; Richard Marks; Victoria Gomez Lozano; Patrick Fitzgerald, Chair; David Short; Laura P.Heikes, Vice Chair.

Rebecca Firth, Ph.D.
Former TCPS Parent
Retired Teacher and Learning Specialist

Patrick Fitzgerald, Chair
TCPS Alumnus
Partner, Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kaludis, P.A.

Laura P. Heikes, Vice Chair
Senior Vice President
Government and Community Relations Officer
Shore United Bank

Juanita Hopkins
TCPS alumnus and former parent
Talbot County Board of Education Member

Susan Langfitt
TCPS Parent
Community Volunteer
Non-Profit Development Professional

F. Graham Lee
Former TCPS Parent
Vice President for Philanthropy, Shore Regional Health

Victoria Gomez Lozano
TCPS Parent
Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center

Richard Marks
Chief Executive Officer, Arbre Group Holding Corp.

JoAnn Asparagus Murray
Former TCPS Parent
Former Talbot County Board of Education Member
Magistrate, Caroline County Circuit Court

David Short, CPA
TCPS Parent
Former TCPS Board Member and PTO President
Managing Partner, Weaver Mavity Short Associates, LLC

Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald, Chair of the Advisory Board, addressed TCPS Employees at their Opening Day Celebration in August.   “I’m a product of Talbot County Public Schools, and I know the impact the school system had in shaping my future,” said Fitzgerald.  “I also know that providing high quality public education is vital to the sustainability and prosperity of our community, both now and in the future.”

Mr. Fitzgerald also outlined the accomplishments made by the Education Foundation since it was formed last fall.  This includes establishing the partnership with Mid-Shore Community Foundation, conducting a first “Year-End Appeal,” forming committees, launching the Honor A Teacher program, conducting a staff survey, and developing a grant application process.  To date, the Foundation has raised a total of $88,000, of which $77,000 are endowed funds, which will provide long term stability for the foundation and TCPS.

To learn more about supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at or feel free to reach out to a member of the Advisory Board.

Choptank Transport Joins Talbot Schools in Hurricane Relief Effort

Talbot County Public Schools, members of the community, and local employer Choptank Transport joined forces to deliver hope to some of the youngest victims of Hurricane Harvey.

In the aftermath of the devastating storm, Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Kelly Griffith initiated a book drive to help J.C. Mitchell Elementary School.  J.C. Mitchell, which is in the Houston Independent School District and has an enrollment of 550 students, lost everything during the hurricane.  The students and staff were forced to delay the start of school while they relocated to a new building, having suffered a total loss of their school, books and supplies.

Harriet Mills and Kristi Mertaugh from Choptank Transport, join Charlene Gould, Executive Assistant and Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools as the final donations of books and supplies for J.C. Mitchell Elementary in Houston are loaded onto the tractor trailer provided by Choptank Transport.

TCPS launched a marketing campaign seeking the community’s support through monetary contributions in addition to books and supplies. They received significant donations of books and school supplies, along with cash donations totaling $5,410. Choptank Transport enthusiastically stepped up to provide the necessary transportation to deliver the donations.

“So many members of our staff wanted to do something to help,” explained Dr. Griffith as the last of the books and school supplies were being loaded onto the truck this week. “When they learned that J.C. Mitchell was in need of books for their children, the donations just started pouring in.  Families worked together to choose favorite titles so it was truly a team effort!”  TCPS also donated books and materials from the reading series that was replaced this year.

Choptank Transport, headquartered in Preston, Maryland donated their transportation services to get the books from Maryland to Texas. The company specializes in truckload freight, both temperature-controlled and dry van, as well as LTL (less-than-truckload), flatbed and intermodal services.

“We are pleased to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of Houston after such a catastrophic disaster, especially when it helps the children in the area,’ said Choptank President and CEO Geoff Turner. “TCPS has done an amazing job gathering many needed books and we are glad to provide the transportation to get them down there.”

TCPS Hires 18 Teachers and 1 Counselor for FY18 School Year

Photo: Front row: Christie Dugan, Maura Simonetti*, Shelly Armiger, Michelle Mackall, Samantha Martinez, Olivia Rossbach. Middle row: Shelby Swann*, Ashley Patrick, Damien Ransome, Kelley Van Trieste, Allen Dietrich, Jr., Katherine Archer, Cara Breeding (guidance), Gwynn Gibbons. Back row: John Strickland, Helen Riddle, Brandon Hynson, Kendra Thomas, Teresa Alison, Justin Beall, Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. *Hired during 2016-2017 school year.

Talbot County Public Schools welcomed 18 new teachers and one new guidance counselor for the 2017-2018 school year. The new hires, along with those who joined TPCS during the 2016-2017 school year, attended an orientation prior to the start of school, that culminated with a welcome luncheon at Easton High School. These new team members come from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience, and four of the new hires are TCPS Alumni.

Easton Middle School to Host University of Maryland’s Potomac Winds Woodwind Quintet

A summer-long collaborative effort has resulted in an ambitious new Artists-in-Residence Program featuring the University of Maryland’s Potomac Winds Woodwind Quintet at Easton Middle School during this academic year. The initiative involved representatives of the School of Music’s Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland and music teachers and staff in the Talbot County Public Schools, with coordination assistance from the Talbot County Arts Council and Easton-based Chesapeake Music, which sponsors the annual chamber music and jazz music festivals.

The quintet will make four two-day visits to EMS during this school year: October 4-5, December 6-7January 31-February 1, and March 7-8.  During these times, they will work closely with students and teachers to bridge the gap between the classroom knowledge of world history and the experiences of world music. Using a collaborative lesson plan, the quintet will work with students and music and social studies teachers to make creative connections between the core social studies curriculum and music. This year students in four sixth grade band classes will experience World History with World Music in an effort to show the importance of the arts in societies around the world.  Each visit will involve a 45- minute presentation by the quintet as well as class time to help develop a meaningful relationship between quintet members and the students they mentor. In addition, seventh and eighth grade band classes will receive master classes from the visiting artists.

Potomac Winds is a DC Metro Area-based ensemble comprised of graduate students from the UMD School of Music.  Members have performed in professional orchestras throughout the United States.  Their individual honors have included concerto competition finalists, debut recitals, orchestral soloists, and young artist awards.  Their mission is to establish the woodwind quintet as a virtuosic ensemble through engaging performances of the highest level of artistic expression, cultivating a sense of community with audience members, and collaboratively exploring works of all time periods and genres with particular emphasis on the art of contemporary composers.    The members of Potomac Winds are Ceylon Mitchell, flute; Sarah Balzer, oboe; Melissa Morales, clarinet; Avery Pettigrew, horn; and Jonathan Zepp, bassoon.

The project was initiated by members of the board of directors of the Talbot County Arts Council who were dismayed by the near total absence of young people attending Mid-Shore Area performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Chesapeake Music.  A study group concluded that younger people might begin attending if they could be introduced to classical music in various appealing forms at the secondary school level.

The resulting project is a result of an organizational effort coordinated by a committee from the board of the Talbot County Arts Council, which brought together the School of Music of the University of Maryland, the music and social studies faculty of Easton Middle School, and Chesapeake Music.  Their objective is to provide the student body a rare opportunity to learn from the skill and experience of graduate-level musicians, to both inspire a lifelong love of classical music among the general student body and allow music students to benefit from the skill and enthusiasm of young professional-level musicians who are qualified as music teachers and who are participating as volunteers.

The University of Maryland portion of the initiative is being managed by Dr. Robert DiLutis, Professor of Clarinet and Director of the Community Engagement Office at the School of Music. Talbot County Public Schools has been involved through the encouragement of former fine arts supervisor Dr. Marcia Sprankle and her successor, James Redman. The EMS component is managed by band director Donna Ewing with the assistance of chorus director CJ Freeman and social studies teacher Christopher Renaud.  Chesapeake Music has been represented by executive director Donald Buxton and Hanna Woicke, chair of the YouthReach Committee.  Participating Arts Council board members are Nancy Larson and Bill Peak.   The program will be administered directly between Dr. DiLutis and Mrs. Ewing, and housing during the quintets overnight stays in Talbot County has been organized by Chesapeake Music president Courtney Kane.

If the pilot program proves successful, it is hoped funding will be found to continue the initiative in future years at Easton Middle School and possibly expand the project to include other local schools. The program is made possible by grant from the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, with funds from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, using revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.