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Programs > Awards and Recognition > Teacher of the Year > Teachers of the Year 2014 - 2015
Teachers of the Year 2014 - 2015

Maryland Teachers of the Year 2014 - 2015
Nominees by City / County
Click on the smaller photo for a larger photo and bio.

Jody Zepp, Howard County
2014-2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year

Dana Reinhardt Allegany County
Dana Reinhardt

3rd Grade
George's Creek Elementary School
Allegany County

Christina Houstian Anne Arundel County
Christina Houstian

Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Broadneck High School
Anne Arundel County

Elizabeth Barletta Baltimore City
Elizabeth Barletta
Math/Science, 5th Grade
Barclay Elementary/Middle School
Baltimore City
Anne Cross Baltimore County
Anne Cross
5th Grade
Gunpowder Elementary School
Baltimore County
Laura Collins Calvert County
Laura Collins
Science/Grades 6-8
Plum Point Middle School
Calvert County

Chad Shelly Caroline County
Chad Shelly
Biology/Grades 9-12
Colonel Richardson High School
Caroline County
Nicole Heinlein Carroll County
Nicole Heinlein
STEM/ELA, 3rd Grade
Carrolltowne Elementary School
Carroll County
Kelly O'Hara Cecil County
Kelly O’Hara
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Elkton High School
Cecil County
Kimberly King Charles County
Kimberly King
Math, 6th Grade
Milton Somers Middle School
Charles County
Thomas Mills Dorchester County
Thomas Mills
Chemistry, Grades 10-12Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
Dorchester County
Erin Doolittle Frederick County
Erin Doolittle


Hillcrest Elementary School
Frederick County
Ryan Wolf Garrett County
Ryan Wolf
Math, Grades 9-12
Southern Garrett High School
Garrett County
Lawrence Jehnert Harford County
Lawrence Jehnert

3rd Grade Teacher

Edgewood Elementary School
Harford County
2014-2015 Maryland
Teacher of the Year

Jody Zepp Howard County

Jody Zepp

AP Government & AP Psychology

Hammond High School
Howard County
Florence Terrill Kent County
Florence Terrill
3rd Grade
Henry Highland Garnett Elementary School
Kent County
Jane Lindsay Montgomery County
Jane Lindsay
English, Grade 8
John Poole Middle School
Montgomery County
Laura Shelton Prince George's County
Laura Shelton
Science, 8th Grade
Benjamin D. Foulois Creative & Performing Arts Academy
Prince George's County
April Pinder Queen Anne's County
April Pinder
Physical Education
Grades K-4

Church Hill Elementary School
Queen Anne's County
Kathleen Reineke St Mary's County
Kathleen Reineke
Instructional Resource Teacher, Pre-K-5th Grades
Oakville Elementary School
St. Mary's County
Anna Breland Somerset County
Anna Breland
World Languages
Grades 8-12

Crisfield Academy & High School
Somerset County
Bridget Whited Talbot County
Bridget Whited
Art, Grades 9-12
St. Michaels High School
Talbot County
Courtney Leard Washington County
Courtney Leard
2nd Grade
Fountaindale School for the Arts
and Academic Excellence
Washington County
Lauren Monroe Wicomico County
Lauren Monroe
Wicomico Early Learning Center
Wicomico County
Brenna Johnson Worcester County
Brenna Johnson
Music & Drama, Grades 7-8
Stephen Decatur Middle School
Worcester County


Teacher Of The Year Bios 2014-2015

Allegany County – George's Creek Elementary School
Dana Reinhardt, 3rd Grade

Dana Reinhardt attended Frostburg State University (FSU) and received an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education in May 2004. Upon graduation, Mrs. Reinhardt received a graduate assistantship and earned her master degree in Education specializing in Reading in May 2006. She has spent her entire tenure as a 3rd grade teacher at George’s Creek Elementary School and is currently the chair of the professional Development School Partnership with FSU and a member of the Climate Action team.  Dan lives in Lavale, Maryland with her husband Jeff and two sons, John and Luke.

Anne Arundel County – Broadneck High School
Christina Houstian, Social Studies, Grades 9-12

Christina Houstian is the Social Studies department chair at Broadneck High School in Annapolis and has taught U.S. Government, Art History and World History for 14 years. Christina is advisor to the Broadneck Key Club, a student group that collects food, serves dinner monthly at a homeless shelter, and participates in service activities. Certified in Social Studies and Art, she has also worked as a museum curator. Christina graduated with a B.A. in History and Art History from Bryn Mawr College in 1989, and received an M.A. in Art History in 1994 from New York University.

Baltimore City – Barclay Elementary/Middle School
Elizabeth Barletta, Math/Science, 5th Grade

Elizabeth Barletta has been teaching since 2007. She has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, a graduate degree in Curriculum/Instruction from Grand Canyon University and teaches fifth grade math and science at Barclay Elementary/Middle School. She is also an active member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team, and with Johns Hopkins University has written and piloted STEM curriculum for STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES) and has participated in an Arts-Integration Experimental Study.  She also facilitates STEM professional development and serves as a mentor for Loyola University education students.

Baltimore County – Gunpowder Elementary School
Anne Cross, 5th  Grade
A classroom teacher for 31 years with the last 23 at Gunpowder Elementary, Anne Cross estimates she has taught more than 1,000 children in a career that has stretched from Appalachia to South Carolina to Washington, D.C. Even so, she feels as excited about teaching as she did in her first year. And as an individual with epilepsy, Anne has had to prove that through perseverance, any obstacle can be overcome. Realizing her life’s mission as a teenager, she embraced teaching as a vocation to serve, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a master’s degree from Towson University.

Calvert County – Plum Point Middle School
Laura Collins, Science/Grades 6-8

Laura Collins, an MSDE Master Teacher, celebrates the adventure of middle school learning as she writes curriculum and advocates for co-teaching.  The Cum Laude graduate from the University of Maryland (1988 & 90) also earned an Administration/Supervision M.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland (2007). Her passionate drive to improve education is evident through participation on school, county, and state committees.  Science in action is infused in her lessons with her experiences from the Surgeon General and the NASA Teacher Outreach Program. This 2005 SMECO Science Teacher of the Year connects with her students and community through tutoring, coaching and mentoring.

Caroline County – Colonel Richardson High School
Chad Shelly, Biology/Grades 9-12

Chad Shelly has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This summer, he will obtain his Master’s Degree in Chemical and Life Sciences from the University of Maryland. Mr. Shelly teaches the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Program at his High School and will be a Master teacher at Stevenson University. He also teaches HSA biology and is the advisor of multiple clubs. Additionally, Mr. Shelly is an active leader in technology in the classroom, mentor, and tutor for HSA remediation. He feels that his greatest accomplishment in education is developing unique ways to challenge, motivate and engage all students.

Carroll County – Carrolltowne Elementary School
Nicole Heinlein, STEM/ELA, 3rd Grade

Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Studies with a secondary emphasis in Latin American Studies from Juniata College in 2005 and her Master of Science Degree in Instruction from Drexel University in 2008. She received her ESOL certification from McDaniel College in 2012. She serves as the School Improvement Team Chairperson, a STEM representative for the Maryland State Educator Effectiveness Academy, third grade team leader, school liaison for Education That is Multicultural and Intern Host/Supervisor for Stevenson University. She is an Early Childhood Education Intern Cooperating Teacher and has served as a STEM curriculum author, new teacher mentor, and third grade STEM workshop instructor.

Cecil County - Elkton High School
Kelly O’Hara, Social Studies, Grades 9-12

Kelly O'Hara is an alumna of Elkton High School where she now teaches. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History Secondary Education from Salisbury University in 2005 and a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an Administration I certification from McDaniel College in 2011. Kelly has developed her skills as a teacher-leader by serving as School Improvement Team Facilitator, Internal Coordinator for her school’s Middle States reaccreditation process, and Lead Teacher of the social studies department. She has presented professional development at the national, state, and local level. Kelly writes curriculum, supervises student teachers, and mentors new teachers.

Charles County – Milton Somers Middle School
Kimberly King, Math, 6th Grade

Kimberly King has a B.A. in Human Growth and Development, and Elementary and Middle School Education from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She was named a 2005 Maryland Math Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  She aspires to instill students with a love of math and helped develop her school’s improvement plan. She leads staff developments and is a dedicated Educator Effectiveness Academy teacher. She has sponsored the FEA, PBIS, Page Turners and the Walking Club. She was recognized as an exemplary employee by the Charles County Board of Education in 2004 and again in 2011.

Dorchester County – Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
Thomas (Trey) Mills, Chemistry, Grades 10-12

Enthusiastic, intelligent, and compassionate characterizes Thomas “Trey” Mills. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry, magna cum laude, with a minor in Psychology from Washington College in 2001 and a M.A. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Delaware in 2006.  He serves as a School Facilitator for KEYS 2.0, the chairperson for the School Faculty Council, the coordinator of the School Advanced Placement Program, and an advisor of the National Honor Society. Trey received a nomination for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and ETS Recognition of Excellence on Praxis II for Chemistry Content.

Frederick County – Hillcrest Elementary School
Erin Doolittle, Pre-Kindergarten

Erin Doolittle is a cornerstone of her school community at Hillcrest Elementary, a Title 1 school with the highest percentage of English Language Learner students in the state. As a pre-kindergarten teacher and the “welcome wagon” to the world of education, Erin works tirelessly to ensure success for her students and families by connecting them to vital resources, visiting each family at their home, and volunteering at Judy Center events and family nights. Erin earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education in 2003 and M.S. in Reading Specialization in 2011, both from Hood College. As an advocate for early childhood education, Erin collaborates with child care professionals and presents at conferences and professional development events.

Garrett County – Southern Garrett High School
Ryan Wolf, Math, Grades 9-12

Mr. Ryan Wolf is a dedicated mathematics educator who serves as a leader in his school, community, district, and state.  He currently serves as the Professional Learning Communities Leader and a Common Core Transition Team member at his school.  He has been instrumental in promoting the use of emerging technology in Garrett County classrooms as a Certified SMART Notebook and Response Trainer.  Mr. Wolf has made contributions to MSDE Algebra 2 curriculum review meetings, and the Algebra HSA Online Course.  He serves his community as Head Golf Coach, Unified Bocce Assistant Coach, Town Councilman, and member of civic organizations.

Harford County – Edgewood Elementary School
Lawrence Jehnert, 3rd Grade Teacher
Lawrence Jehnert holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Elementary Education, both from Towson University. During his 12 years at Edgewood Elementary School, Mr. Jehnert has supervised interns, modeled lessons for new teachers, and conducted workshops on PBIS. He has served on the School Improvement Team and Grade Level Leadership Team. Currently, Mr. Jehnert is the PBIS Team Leader and leads monthly school-wide assemblies focusing on positive character and behavior. A passionate and inspiring teacher, Mr. Jehnert won the Everyday Hero and the Boys and Girls Club Teacher of the Year Awards. In his spare time, he volunteers to coach youth sports.

Howard County – Hammond High School
Jody Zepp, AP Government & AP Psychology

Jody Zepp received her B.A. in political science from McDaniel College, and her M.A. in political science from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. As the 2014 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher for Howard County, she believes that “students can talk about a future only when they can see one.” Zepp received the Class Nobel Educator of Distinction for two consecutive years as well as three Howard County Council Honorary Resolution Awards for coaching the EconChallenge Maryland State Champions and C-SPAN Documentary winners. Zepp has increased minority enrollment in advanced placement courses and has increased passing ratios for minority students on both college and state exams.

Kent County – Henry Highland Garnett Elementary School
Florence Terrill, 3rd Grade

Florence Terrill earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and a Master’s of Education from Gratz College in 2013. Florence is a Learning Specialist and has taught in the elementary grades for over 22 years in several Maryland counties. She is the co-chair of the School Improvement Team, member of the Kent County Public Schools Teacher Evaluation Pilot Team, a member of the Kent County Budget Committee, and a mentor teacher for Washington College interns.

Montgomery County – John Poole Middle School
Jane Lindsay, English, Grade 8

Jane Lindsay, 8th grade English teacher, department chair, and Leadership Team member is also the Marion Greenblatt Education Award recipient. She began her career-long passion for teaching reading and writing at the elementary level before moving to middle school. She holds a B.A. in Education from The Catholic University of America and an M.S. in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Lindsay thrives on the challenges of helping students think critically about literature, media, and their own writing.

Prince George's County – Benjamin D. Foulois Creative & Performing Arts Academy
Laura Shelton, Science, 8th Grade

Laura Shelton earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Longwood University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. She has taught in Prince George’s County Public Schools since she began her career in education fifteen years ago. Mrs. Shelton holds dual certification in Biology and Health Education, and has also taught’7th and 8th grade mathematics. She is passionate about promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education for her scholars. She continues to serve her school community as Science Department Chairperson, 8th grade sponsor, SPMT Chair and National Junior Honor Society Advisor.

Queen Anne's County – Church Hill Elementary School
April Pinder, Physical Education, Grades K-4

April Pinder, Physical Education teacher at Church Hill Elementary School, motivates the school community to embrace physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. Her enthusiasm for physical education can be witnessed through her role as coordinator of the school health fair and the implementation of the Let’s Move Campaign.  She was nominated for the NFL Teacher of the Year program, and also established a before school jump rope club which includes over 100 students. April has implemented a variety of events to foster wellness, school pride, and student perseverance. Ms. Pinder graduated from Salisbury University with a Master’s in Education and Bachelor’s in Physical Education.

Saint Mary’s County – Oakville Elementary School
Kathleen Reineke, Instructional Resource Teacher, Pre-K-5th Grades

Kathleen Reineke, SMCPS Teacher of the Year, has served the students of St. Mary’s County for 14 years.  She holds a B.A. in History from Winona State University (MN), teaching certification at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and a M.Ed. in Reading Education from Towson University.  She currently serves as an Instructional Resource Teacher and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University.  Ms. Reineke facilitates professional development sessions, serves as a mentor teacher, and works with colleagues to write standards-based curriculum and assessments.  She also trained new third grade teachers as a demonstration teacher for the SMCPS teacher induction program.

Somerset County – Crisfield Academy & High School
Anna Breland, World Languages, Grades 8 – 12
Anna Breland ignites her students’ interest in learning foreign languages by incorporating intercultural experiences, technology and hands-on activities to empower students to be college and career ready. Mrs. Breland collaborates with foreign language teachers and participates in professional learning communities in order to ensure high-quality education for her students. She facilitates school professional development, is a member of the School Improvement Team and mentors teacher interns. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education, from Minsk State Linguistic University and is currently working on an ESL certification.

Talbot County – St. Michaels High School
Bridget Whited, Art, Grades 9-12

Bridget Whited is a published sponsor of the National Art Honor Society, a member of the CARE Team, Teacher Evaluation Committee and School Improvement Team and facilitates Equity PD to colleagues. She has a BS degree in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Massachusetts.  She is recognized for her community artwork involving ALL students and her ability to also include those students with disabilities in Advanced Placement Studio Art. Her Art room incorporates all subjects including STEM and Common Core infusion.  Bridget received consecutive Artist in Residence Grants to provide hands on learning focused on community outreach and the importance of the visual arts in education.

Washington County – Fountaindale School for the Arts and Academic Excellence
Courtney Leard, 2nd Grade
Courtney Leard develops integrated curriculum for the Common Core State Standards.  She presents at state and international conferences and facilitates school-based Professional Learning Communities. Her passion for learning is evident in her environmental partnerships, volunteer work, and the organization of after-school learning academies for students to explore STEM and the Arts. She has been a recipient of Governor O’Malley’s Schoolshed Stream Restoration Grant, Boeing’s Educator in Space Grant, and an Honorable Mention for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. She received her undergraduate degree from Mary Baldwin College and post-graduate studies from Grand Canyon University.

Wicomico County – Wicomico Early Learning Center
Lauren Nicole Monroe, Pre-K
Lauren Monroe, a graduate of Salisbury University, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Education as a Reading Specialist. She has taught pre-kindergarten at the Wicomico Early Learning Center since 2007. Ms. Monroe is passionate about inquiry-based instruction through Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP), kidwriting, and partnering with families.  Her commitment to the profession is shown through her work as a mentor teacher and adjunct professor for Salisbury University.   Ms. Monroe’s accomplishments include presenting at the International Reading Association Convention and the National Association for the Education of Young Children Conference.

Worcester County – Stephen Decatur Middle School
Brenna Johnson, Music & Drama, Grades 7-8
Brenna Johnson has been teaching for 10 years, of which seven have been at Stephen Decatur Middle School. Certified to teach music and theater K-12, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern University and is working on her Master’s Equivalency through Villanova and Walden Universities. Johnson facilitates cooperative learning to foster unity and cohesiveness of her student performers. She encourages her students to become autonomous and reflective. Her goal is for each student to feel proud of their work, accomplishments, and growth. Johnson coaches All Shore Chorus and chairs the District Choral Festival.

Contact Information
Dr. Darla Strouse, Executive Director
Partnerships and Recognition Programs
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0369
Fax:  410-333-2226
Email:  dstrouse@msde.state.md.us
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