Kent School to Celebrate Fiftieth Anniversary

Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, is an independent school serving boys and girls in Preschool through Grade Eight. Kent School is celebrating fifty years of excellence in education in an unparalleled learning environment.

“We have spent this academic year celebrating Kent School’s fiftieth anniversary. We chose this special weekend-long event to attract as many people from the school community and beyond to campus,” Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said. Mugele continued, “These events not only celebrate Kent School’s past accomplishments, but our fiftieth anniversary is a time to celebrate all the future possibilities for Kent School. We are looking back but we are also looking forward. The future is indeed bright at Kent School.”

The 50th Anniversary weekend celebration begins with a golf tournament on Friday, April 5. The tournament will be held at Chester River Yacht and Country Club. The shotgun start begins at 9:00 a.m. The fee for individual golfers is $130 and the fee for a foursome is $500. Both include 18 holes of golf, cart and lunch. All are welcomed to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

The celebration weekend continues with a gala on Saturday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. which will be held at Brittland Estate. The black tie optional event will include a limited live auction, cocktails, dinner and dancing with live music from the band NightLife. Tickets for the Fiftieth Anniversary Gala are $150. Registration is open for both the golf tournament and the gala through the Kent School website at Auction items include trips, catered cruises and a very special South African Safari experience.

Jen Matthews ‘01, Director of Development and Alumni Relations is planning both events. “We chose a Ginkgo leaf to be our symbol for the Fiftieth Anniversary. A gingko tree stands tall on the Kent School playground and was there long before the school began. That tree is one of the most recognizable icons on our campus. Generations of students can remember climbing, swinging and playing beneath the giant tree. Gingko also represents memory and we find it a fitting theme as we celebrate and remember the first fifty years of Kent School.” Matthews continued, “Thanks to strong volunteer and sponsor support, I am looking forward to both events. We are having fun diving into the archives to include past publications and photos. I know all of our guests will enjoy reminiscing with former classmates, parents and teachers at both of the celebrations.”

Kent School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world. For more information on Kent School’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebration visit or call Jen Matthews ‘01 at 410-778-4100 ext. 350.

Joseph Prud’homme to Speak at Talbot County Event March 21

Joseph Prud’homme, Director of Washington College’s Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture (IRPC), will discuss religious liberty in the United States at a presentation March 21 at the Talbot Country Club in Easton.

Prud’homme will present “The Foundations of Religious Freedom” at the event, which is open to the public for a fee of $15 and includes a reception that begins at 5:30 p.m. He will explore how religious freedom is characterized in the media and in policy and legal debates; whether this central liberty is under threat; what challenges individuals and organizations of faith face in contemporary society; and whether current laws adequately defend the freedom of religious belief and practice. Prud’homme will examine these issues from a political, legal and philosophical perspective.

Prud’homme is associate professor of political science at Washington College and The Burton Family Chair in Religion, Politics and Culture. He has been director of the IRPC since its founding. Prud’homme received his doctoral degree from Princeton University and two bachelor’s degrees—majoring in political science, history, and philosophy and minoring in religious studies—from Texas A&M University. He was awarded a fellowship at Harvard University, where he studied at the Harvard Law School and served as a member of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. Prud’homme’s expertise is in the areas of political philosophy, legal theory, intellectual history, and conceptual and historical approaches to the study of religion and political and cultural affairs.

Washington College and Talbot Country Club are co-sponsoring the presentation at 6142 Country Club Drive, Easton, Maryland. The $15 fee pays for the reception and admittance, and is payable by credit card or check to Talbot Country Club at the event. Washington College is not accepting payments. Please RSVP by March 14 to Victoria Corcoran at 410-778-7805 or

From Assessment to Advocacy Workshop on March 1

Shore Psychology, Wye River Upper School, and Weinfeld Education Group present From Assessment to Advocacy: Understanding and Using Assessment Information to Advocate Effectively for the Needs of Neurodiverse Youth. The workshop will take place Friday, March 1 from 9:00 am – 12:15 pm at Chesapeake College. Presenters, Dr. Laurie Reider Lewis and Mr. Rich Weinfeld, will share their expertise on assessment and special education advocacy to empower area professionals as well as families in support of neurodiverse youth.

Dr. Lewis explains “The process of determining when, why, and how best to proceed with formal evaluation on a youth’s behalf can be complex. This workshop will bring clarity to the testing and special education process by providing concrete information about the elements of “good” assessment as well as how to use assessment findings to powerfully advocate for the needs of youth. Attendees will also gain a deeper understanding of issues around neurodiversity and the differences among youth which are critical to effectual assessment and advocacy work.”

Laurie Reider Lewis, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and member of the Maryland Psychological Association who is currently in private practice on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Mr. Richard Weinfeld directs the Weinfeld Education Group, LLC, a group of over 25 educational consultants, serving clients in Maryland (including the Eastern Shore), Washington DC, and Virginia. He also provides direct special education consultation services to families of students with special needs.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Maryland Psychological Association, & The Maryland Psychological Association Foundation. It is appropriate for individuals at all level of experience. 3 CE Credits are available to psychologists and other eligible professionals. The event will take place in the Cadby Theater at Chesapeake College, 1000 College Cir, Wye Mills, MD. For ticket sales and for additional information visit

Chesapeake IAL Speaker Series Begins in March

Sandy Morse

The Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) at Chesapeake College launches the 2019 edition of the popular IAL Speakers Series on March 11.

The free lunchtime presentations on a variety of topics are open to members of the public. Bring lunch, enjoy the speaker and socialize.

“The IAL Speaker Series offers interesting and informative lectures on a wide variety of topics. Everyone is invited to bring a lunch, relax, and enjoy these insightful lectures,” said IAL Chairperson Kathy Leary.

The series kicks off with Sandy Morse on Monday, March 11 at 11:45 am when she presents “Community Activism” in Room 110 of the Higher Education Center. Ms. Morse will be sharing her experiences as a civic, social and political activist. She has worked and/or volunteered at the local, county, state, federal and international levels in the civic, educational, and political arenas with private, public and governmental groups and individuals.

Additional speakers will be featured on Mondays at 11:45 am this spring.

Allison Wood of Compass Regional Hospice presents “Hospice – Myths and Facts” on March 25.

Susan Schumaker from CASA of the Mid-Shore (CASA) will present “Advocating for Shore Children” on April 8

Corinne Vinopol, an international educator, presents “Enhancing Special Education Overseas” on April 22.

The IAL at Chesapeake College features lifelong learning classes, presentations and day trips. Designed for learners 50 and over, the classes cover a wide range of topics and are offered during the fall and spring semesters. Please see the latest list of courses at

A daytrip to Paul Reed Smith Guitars in Stevensville is scheduled for March 5, and a visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover is schedule for May 18.

For more information about the Speaker Series or other IAL activities, please contact Lois Thomas at or 410-827-5810.

Wye River Upper School Presents Cinderella

Wye River Upper School Theatre Department presents Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella, on March 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The cast and crew have been working diligently throughout the winter months to create a magical performance. Students have been involved in all aspects of the play including designing and building sets, editing music, sewing props, constructing an extension to the stage, and directing and blocking scenes. Wye River Theatre Director Marissa  Muro said: “I chose Cinderella because it was requested by the students.  I also felt there were roles and songs that would bring out our student’s strengths.  The play has a lot of movement and I wanted the students to challenge themselves and realize that everyone can learn to dance with focused effort and practice.”

Cinderella, Rae Bishop, and Prince Charming, Josh Hansen

The theater crew enjoyed a special rehearsal earlier this month at the Hewes Farm in Chestertown, MD. The actors ran scenes from the musical with a real horse and buggy. Students recorded the scenes which will be edited and shared in a short film with family and friends.

Last year the school put on a well-reviewed version of The Wizard of Oz. Students returning from that production include: Josh Hansen, Rachel Bishop, Sam Robertson, Torienne Emery and Noel Doney. Newcomers Lindsey Myers, Nadia Hawe, Ian Abrego, Daniel McDowell, Kayla Peri, Jared Mimms, Makenna Stinson, Laura Wright and Cameron Kliever are expected to raise the bar for this year’s show. Lights, Sound, set production and stage crew members include: Macyn Poag, Austin Romberger and Zoe Brown.

Muro teaches music, theater, and history at Wye River Upper School. She also continues a career in vocal performance. Muro currently performs at the 13th Floor of the Belvedere Hotel.  In 2012-2014, Muro performed for M&T’s “Sailabration” aboard The USS Constellation at the Inner Harbor. She holds the 2009 Billie Holiday “Ruby Glover Award.” Muro also sang at the 2017 Rehoboth Jazz Festival and in 1997, she appeared in the Walt Disney Film, “Washington Square.

Tickets are available at Admission price is $10.

Wye River Upper School is an independent, coed, high school offering an engaging, and supportive curriculum for bright students with learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia, and/or anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent. For more information visit or contact, 410.758.2922.

Gunston’s Robotics Team Competes in FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier

The Gunston School Robotics Team competed in the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) qualifier at the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) STEM Action Center in Columbia, Maryland on Sunday, February 3. The team finished the first phase of the competition with a record of 4 wins and 1 loss ranking 4th out of 23 teams, the best performance to date for a Gunston robotics team. This is the fifth year that Gunston has participated in the FTC program.

The team of seventeen students, mentored by Dr. Ken Wilson and led by FTC veterans Brynne Kneeland and Drew Seaman, designed, built, and programmed a robot to meet the challenges posed by this year’s game. They created an engineering notebook that described their strategy, proposed designs, and described problems that the team overcame along the way. At the competition, the students had to describe and defend their design in front of a panel of engineers. Real world engineering challenges like FTC teach students to follow the engineering processes that they will use in their future careers.

Front row L-R: Drew Seaman, Brynne Kneeland, Cedar Foster, Henry Shifrin, Will Newberg; back row L-R: Sebastian Borland, Josh Sanford, Daniel Ye, Robert Crow, Jimmy Zhao and Allen Wang.

The competition is divided into two parts: autonomous (the robot is controlled by a program) and driver controlled. This year the competition had a “Mars rover” theme. The robotic rovers start out hanging on to the side of a lander module. The rover must descend from the rover, sample minerals, drop a team marker into a depot, and park in a crater.

Gunston’s strong, consistent performance during the first phase allowed Kneeland, the team captain, to invite two other teams to form an alliance for the semi-final elimination rounds in the afternoon. She chose teams from Quince Orchard High School (Montgomery County Public Schools) and the Pasadena, Maryland Robotics organization. Although the alliance was eliminated during the semifinals, the team returned to Gunston proud of their effort and committed to improving their robot before the next tournament.

Gunston will compete again at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Maryland on February 17.

TCPS Student Musicians Earn Spot in All-Shore Bands

Students from the Talbot County Public Schools band programs recently auditioned for the Eastern Shore Band Director’s Association (ESBDA) Junior and Senior All-Shore Band.  Students from every county on the Eastern Shore of Maryland compete for limited spots.  The following TCPS students were selected:

Easton Middle School – Directed by Donna Ewing

Flute: Emily Branic – 7th grade, Morgan Fike – 7th grade

Clarinet: Abigail Meadows – 8th grade

Trumpet: Ian Branic – 8th grade, Philip Horner – 7th grade, Brian Warner – 8th grade

French Horn: Kate Adelman – 7th grade

Trombone: Eduardo Diaz-Chavero – 7th grade, Julian Hutchison – 7th grade, John Schwaninger – 7th grade. Richard Villeda – 8th grade, Caleb Wooters – 7th grade

Baritone: Matthew Craig – 1st Chair – 7th grade,Logan Banks – 8th grade, Grant Kirby – 8th grade

Percussion: Louis Lentz – 1st Chair Timpanist; 1st Chair Snare Drum; 1st Chair Mallets – 8th grade

Photo: EMS band members. L-R, 1st row: Donna Ewing, EMS Band Director, Morgan Fike, Emily Branic, Richard Villeda; 2nd row: John Schwaninger, Brian Warner, Kate Adelman; 3rd row: Caleb Wooters, Eduardo Diaz-Chavero, Philip Horner; 4th row: Julian Hutchison, Grant Kirby, Matthew Craig; 5th row: Abigail Meadows, Logan Banks, Louis Lentz, Ian Branic

St. Michaels Middle High School – Directed by Christopher Flaherty

Senior All Shore Trumpet and Featured Pianist – Molly Fullerton – 10th grade

Junior All Shore: Trumpet – Marty Fullerton 7th grade, French Horn – Madison White – 7th grade

Easton High School – Directed by Bri’Yahn Ritchie

Tenor Sax – Ian Mann – 12th grade

Trumpet – William Ross – 9th grade

The All-Shore Band festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 5th &6th at Queen Anne’s County High School Auditorium, with the concert Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

“We are extremely proud of these talented and hard-working musicians,” said James Redman, Fine Arts Curriculum Supervisor.  “Many students audition for a very few spots in these bands, so we are thrilled to have so many of our students representing TCPS at this year’s Festival.”

Maryland Lawmakers Push Bill to Simplify Financial Aid for Independent Students

Maryland lawmakers are proposing a bill to simplify the process of applying for federal aid for students who have no contact with their parents.

Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, and John Sarbanes, D-Towson, introduced the FAFSA Fairness Act of 2019 in the House, while Maryland Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin will introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

“We believe this is an important piece in making college more affordable for more students,” Van Hollen told Capital News Service in an interview. “This is a small but important measure to help students who, for all practical purposes, do not have parents who can help them participate in paying for college.”

The bill would apply to students who do not have contact with their parents because they escaped abusive homes, were abandoned or have incarcerated parents.

“Students that have faced difficult and abusive life circumstances that leave them unable to contact their parents should have the same chance as their peers to apply for federal student aid and make informed financial decisions,” Cardin said in a statement..

The current FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) does not allow for students to apply under independent status.

Students with special circumstances must contact each college or university to which they applied and request a ”dependency override” before their aid package is calculated. This process can be arduous and dissuade students from completing their applications, Van Hollen said.

The bill includes a key provision that would allow students to apply under a “provisionally independent” category. They would instantly receive a conditional calculation of their financial aid award and complete the dependency override only with the school at which they are enrolling.

“This bill will help prevent our financial aid process from continuing to be an unintended barrier to higher education,” Cummings said in a statement.

Van Hollen said simplifying the FAFSA application process became important to Maryland lawmakers because of concerns voiced by their constituents.

“We’ve been hearing about the need to do this…from students across the state,” he said.

Cummings, Cardin and Van Hollen first introduced the bill last year as the FAFSA Fairness Act of 2018, but it did not pass the Republican-controlled House. Democrats took control of the House in January.

This time, Van Hollen said he expects the bill to garner bipartisan support.

The FAFSA bill is expected to be part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which Van Hollen says the House will take up this year.

“The most likely route to success would be to include this provision as part of that larger bill,” Van Hollen said.

Several educational organizations have announced support of the bill, including the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the American Council on Education.

Dize Celebrates 50 Years in Teaching

Surrounded by paintings, pottery, and wood carvings, Ben Dize helps students with landscape sketches of the Gunston campus. A few feet away, the whir of the pottery wheel and the buzz of wood-carving instruments hum in the background. For twenty years, Mr. Dize has been a fixture at Gunston as the Art Department Chair, but this month is special—Dize celebrates a career milestone of 50 years teaching art.

Ben Dize receives accolades from his student advisory group.

“I like to say that Ben is both the oldest and youngest teacher we have at Gunston,” shared Headmaster John Lewis, “he brings decades of experience to the classroom, but he still maintains the passion of an excited, newly-minted teacher.” Dize began his teaching career at Mount Hebron High School in Howard County on February 3, 1969. From there he taught for the Kent County Public School system for thirty years. Gunston was fortunate enough to have him share his creativity and passion for art beginning in 1999.

To celebrate Dize’s milestone, the entire student body, faculty, staff and past co-workers gathered to praise and honor Ben Dize. When asked what he enjoyed most about his career, Dize replied, “Seeing apprehensive students transform into artists”.

Former Gunston student and Emmy Award recipient, Rita Baghdadi summed it up best, “Ben Dize is an incredibly talented artist, and one of the most influential teachers in my life. I learned a lot of valuable lessons in Ben’s classroom, most importantly to not take things so seriously! We always had fun, no matter what. By showing me how to think critically about art, and encouraging me to experiment with my own creativity, Ben taught me how to embrace my own unique style, a reminder I hold very dear to this day. Thank you for being you, Ben!”

Talbot Announces 2019 Teacher and Support Staff of the Year Finalists

Each year, Talbot County Public Schools honors teachers and support staff through the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year Program. This provides the opportunity to recognize outstanding educators who have innovative ideas, focus positive attention on education, and demonstrate superior commitment to students.

Any member of the community may nominate teachers or support staff for these prestigious awards. Four finalists have been selected from the nominations for both Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year. TCPS is pleased to recognize these outstanding educators.

Top: Lynn Aleman and Kevin Carroll. Bottom: Christopher Flaherty and Caitlin McKee.

Teacher of the Year Finalists:

Lynn Aleman teaches fourth grade and ESOL at Easton Elementary – Moton. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Salisbury University in 2006 and a Master of Arts-ESOL for Pre-K – 12 in 2011, also from Salisbury. She has been a member of the TCPS Team since 2006.

Kevin Carroll teaches Special Education at Easton High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education K-12 from Grand Canyon University and a Master of Arts in English (TESOL) in 2018. He began his career with TCPS as an Instructional Assistant in Special Education in 2008.

Christopher Flaherty is an Instrumental Music Teacher and Band Director at St. Michaels Middle High School. He received a Bachelor of Music from Catholic University in 2003 and a Master of Music from Arizona State University in 2007. He has an Advanced Professional Certificate in PreK-12 Music Education. He began his teaching career in Arizona in 2007 and joined Talbot County Public Schools in 2014.

Caitlin McKee is a Special Education Teacher for students in grades PreK-1st at Easton Elementary – Dobson. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Unified Elementary and Special Education from Juniata College in 2006 and a Master of Science in Special Education from Drexel University in 2015. She holds Advanced Professional Certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education, and has been a Special Education teacher for Talbot County Public Schools since 2011.

Top: Anne McCauley and Jennifer Miller. Bottom: Quanesha Miller and Sindy Reyes.

Support Staff of the Year Finalists:

Anne McCauley is a Behavior Counselor, providing school-based mental health services for TCPS students. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Salisbury University. She began her career with Talbot County Public Schools in 2010.

Jennifer Miller is a Senior Computer Technician, responsible for the implementation and management of TCPS student information systems. She holds an Associates of Applied Science from Chesapeake College and is a graduate of St. Michaels High School. She began serving Talbot County students as a school secretary in 1992.

Quanesha Miller is an Instructional Assistant for English Language Learners at Easton Elementary – Moton. She is a graduate of Easton High School and has attended Chesapeake College and Coppin State University. She joined TCPS as a substitute teacher in 2016.

Sindy Reyes is an English as a Second Language Instructional Assistant at Easton Elementary – Dobson. She has a degree in Elementary Education from Colegio Ana Geurra de Jesus, El Salvador and a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of El Salvador. She has also earned an Associate of Arts from Chesapeake College. She has worked for Talbot County Public Schools since 2001.

“We received many thoughtful nominations for this year’s Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year Awards,” explained Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. “The heartfelt testimonies show the dedication of our amazing TCPS team members.”

The 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the year winners will be announced at the annual celebration on April 11, 2019.

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