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Press Release: Jody Zepp Named 2014-2015 Maryland Teacher Of The Year

Statewide Winner Is From Howard County

For Immediate Release                                                      

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

Baltimore, MD (October 10, 2014)

Photo of Jody Zepp, government and psychology teacher at Hammond High School, Howard CountyJody Zepp, a government and psychology teacher at Hammond High School  in Howard County, tonight was named the 2014-15 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery made the announcement during a grand gala in a ballroom filled with educators and dignitaries.  Among those in attendance were Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. John Sarbanes, Rep. Donna Edwards, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, University of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan, and State Board President Charlene Dukes.

“Investing in Maryland's public schools is one of the most effective ways to strengthen and grow our middle class. Having educators like Jody Zepp in Maryland classrooms play a big role in ensuring that our children lead the nation in the race to win the 21st century," said Gov. O’Malley. “Working together as One Maryland, we'll continue doing everything we can to give our children access to a high-quality education, fulfill our commitment and support for our educators, and lay the foundation for a stronger State for future generations.”

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown praised the work of all seven finalists.  "It's passionate educators like Jody Zepp and the six other finalists being honored here tonight that have made Maryland's schools some of the best in the nation," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "Today, more than at any time in our history, educators are the key to our future. By supporting our educators and protecting critical investments in our schools, we will provide the pathway to success for every child in Maryland."

Dr. Lowery agreed, noting the special talents of the new Maryland Teacher of the Year.  “Jody is a dedicated and passionate teacher who brings energy and innovation to her classroom,” she added.  “She is committed to the success of all of her students, and helps prepare them for college and career.  Her inspiring efforts reflect the best of our State’s education system.”

Zepp believes that “students can talk about the future only when they see one.”  Each day she sets about to do just that: helping students focus on their next positive step.

A political science graduate of McDaniel College, Zepp also holds a masters in political science from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.  She is the 2014 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher from Howard County and has received a variety of other teaching awards.  She has coached the EconChallenge Maryland State Champions and C-SPAN Documentary winners.  Zepp has increased minority student enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and has improved minority student success rates on AP and other exams.

“That I am able to teach and reach students—at all levels—who might otherwise fall through the ‘cracks’ is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of teacher contribution and accomplishment,” Zepp said.  “To me, this represents the whole of what I strive for as an educator.”

Selecting Zepp for the award was not easy for the judges.  The other outstanding finalists were: Kelly O’Hara, Cecil County; Erin Doolittle, Frederick County; Jane Lindsay, Montgomery County; Anna Breland, Somerset County; Bridget Whited, Talbot County; and Courtney Leard, Washington County.

Zepp will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.  Zepp’s school will receive $10,000 from the McDonald’s Family of Maryland.

The Maryland Teacher of the Year goes on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, to be announced next April. Maryland has had a history of national success with its Teacher of the Year Program.  Sean McComb, the current National Teacher of the Year, is Maryland’s 2013-14 Teacher of the Year.  He is the third Maryland educator to receive the national honor since 2006.

The winner will also spend the coming year as a speaker and advisor in Maryland. She 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. 

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 BGE, Lockheed Martin, Maryland Public Television, NTA Life and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

Videos: Jody Zepp Named 2014-2015 Maryland Teacher Of The Year

Jody Zepp
Hi-Res Photo

Maryland Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maryland State Department of Education with major underwriting provided by corporations and other organizations. The program is an affiliate of the National Teacher of the Year Program.  All Maryland local school systems participate, and all 24 semi-finalists are engaged throughout their selection year in learning and recognition programs and also as advisors to the State Superintendent. Selection of the Maryland Teacher of the Year is made by a Blue Ribbon Panel of Judges that represent teachers, administrators, parents, and higher education. The Maryland Teacher of the Year goes on to represent teachers throughout Maryland and also competes for the title of National Teacher of the Year. Each year, the Maryland Teacher of the Year is named at a Teacher of the Year Gala. The year 2014 marks the 24nd anniversary of Maryland’s Teacher of the Year Gala.

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