Press Release: Finalists Named For The 2013-2014 Maryland Teacher Of The Year

Statewide Winner to be Announced in October

For Immediate Release Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, Dr. Darla Strouse, 410-767-0369

BALTIMORE (September 3, 2013) State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery today announced the names of seven finalists for 2013-2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

"These outstanding teachers are terrific representatives of the tireless and creative work taking place in Maryland's classrooms every day," said Dr. Lowery. "Our State's education system is highly regarded because we have such an outstanding cadre of educators, providing students with a world-class education program that is the cornerstone for future success."

The finalists are: Carol Garner, Allegany County; Jodie Hogan, Anne Arundel County; Ketia C. Stokes, Baltimore City; Sean McComb, Baltimore County; Steven Luthultz, Cecil County; George McGurl, Howard County; and Christina A. Ulrich, Montgomery County.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. Finalists were measured against a rigorous set of national criteria that include teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement. Oral interviews with the seven finalists will be conducted on September 21, 2013.

The 2013-2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin's West in Baltimore on October 11. The winner will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and the gift of a 2014 Kia Forte valued at over $25,000 which is donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.

Presenting sponsors of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program are Comcast, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonald's Family of Maryland, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors are Bank of America, BGE, Lockheed Martin, Maryland Public Television, NTA Life, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

The Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, to be announced next April. The winner will also spend the coming year as a speaker and advisor in Maryland. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will be honored by the President at the White House next spring, participate in several national meetings and conferences, as well as in National Space Camp with fellow State Teachers of the Year.

Additional information on the seven finalists follows.

FINALISTS 2013-2014

Allegany County Center for Career and Technical Education
Carol Garner, Environmental Science Teacher

Carol Garner graduated from Frostburg State University with a Master of Education and Bachelor of Science degrees. She is currently an Environmental Science teacher at the Center for Career and Technical Education where she is a member of the Student Improvement Team (SIT), Student Assistance Program (SAP), and is a Science Instructional Leader, Liaison for Environmental Literacy initiatives, Veterans Day Chair and the Envirothon Advisor. Ms. Garner's services to the community have included volunteer work supporting all facets of watershed sustainability, bereaved parents, and shelter animals. Carol shares her love of nature with her husband Michael and children, Lily and Caleb.

Anne Arundel County South River High School
Jodie Hogan, Spanish and STEM Teacher

At South River High School, Jodie Hogan inspires her students to be global citizens and use their command of Spanish to communicate in business settings and traveling the world. She is chairperson of the Equity Team, facilitates professional development and writes curriculum combining Spanish with STEM methodology. Ms. Hogan earned a Bachelor of Science in Spanish Education from California University of Pennsylvania in 1998. In 2003 she earned a Master of Arts in Intercultural Communications from UMBC and in 2010 a Master of Arts in Education from Gratz College. Ms. Hogan was 2012 Maryland Foreign Language Teacher of the Year.

Baltimore City Green Street Academy
Ketia C. Stokes, Special Education / Autism Spectrum

Lead Teacher for Baltimore City's model site for students with Autism, Ketia Stokes implements a uniquely designed curriculum at Green Street Academy specializing in cultivating vocational, communication, social and independent living skills. A passionate advocate and innovative learning strategist, she chairs the Special Education Team, facilitates school and city wide professional development, spearheads family and community engagement initiatives, mentors fellow educators, and is an Autism Society of Baltimore board member. Ms. Stokes earned a Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University in 2002 and a Master's of Education from Coppin State University in 2011.

Baltimore County Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts
Sean McComb, English Teacher

At Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, Sean McComb teaches English that focuses on creating critical readers, strong writers and judicious thinkers. As AVID coordinator, he helps hone students' work habits and academic skills for college. A BCPS curriculum writer and an adjunct instructor at Towson University, Sean participated in the BCPS China Exchange in 2012. He also serves his community monthly through his church and twice yearly takes students to help feed the hungry. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Education, both from the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing School Leadership certification from Goucher College.

Cecil County - Holly Hall Elementary School
Steven Luthultz, 5th Grade Teacher

Steven Luthultz, writes district and state curriculum, plans and presents professional development, and mentors pre-service teachers. He is an Educator Effectiveness Academy Master Teacher, a member of Maryland's STEM certification work group, and Cecil County's elementary representative to Maryland's Environmental Literacy initiative. Mr. Luthultz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Lafayette College (1976), a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies from Philadelphia Biblical University (1982), and a Master of Education Elementary Studies from Wilmington University (2008), where he is currently a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership Program.

Howard County Burleigh Manor Middle School
George McGurl, Science Teacher, 6th Grade

George McGurl earned his B.S. in education from the University of Maryland and his M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel University. For the past 11 years he has been giving back to the very school system that gave him so much. A science teacher at Burleigh Manor Middle School in Howard County, George leads his school in their environmental education, Green School, and STEM programs. His creative approach and use of many different teaching strategies ensures that he meets the needs of every student. This earned him the Agnes Meyer Distinguished Teacher award for 2013 along with recognition for making a difference in the community.

Montgomery County Brookhaven Elementary School
Cristina A. Ulrich, Kindergarten Teacher

Cristina Ulrich is a kindergarten teacher at Brookhaven Elementary School, a Title I school in Rockville, Maryland. In 2006, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with a certificate in early childhood from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In 2012, she received a Master's Degree from The Johns Hopkins University in gifted education and ESOL. During her seven years of teaching, she has served as the kindergarten team leader, PTA treasurer, and volunteer of adult English classes. In 2012, she was awarded the Shirley J. Lowrie "Thank You for Teaching" award, and received the Marian Greenblatt Award in 2013.