Teachers have managed the difficult job of teaching and connecting with students throughout the challenging months of the pandemic, and now the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Program will provide the opportunity to nominate, celebrate and honor top educators from around the school system.
The timeline looks a bit different this year, but will lead to the same great Wicomico Teacher of the Year celebration late this spring and the naming of the 2021-2022 Wicomico Teacher of the Year. Nominations are now being taken and will remain open through Feb. 19.
The Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Program annually receives nominations from parents, students, the community and colleagues to recognize outstanding teachers in each Wicomico school. This school year they may also nominate teachers in the Birth to Five program and the new English Language Support Center. The online nomination form will be available in English, with the Spanish and Haitian Creole nominations posted for downloading. Paper forms will be available on request by contacting a school office.
“Every day I’m impressed by the stories I hear about the work our teachers are doing to educate and support students. We have so many wonderful teachers in Wicomico Schools, and since last March they have done an amazing job of adapting to virtual learning and now hybrid learning, and connecting with students and families with all of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools and herself a former Wicomico Teacher of the Year. (She was the 1987-1988 Middle School Teacher of the Year, before Wicomico began naming a single top teacher.) “The annual Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Program is an excellent opportunity for anyone to give thanks and appreciation to a great teacher with a nomination. That pat on the back is always welcome, and in this pandemic school year that recognition would be especially welcome.”
Timeline for the 2021-2022 Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Program:
Through Feb. 19:
Nominations accepted for Wicomico Teacher of the Year
Anyone in the community may seek recognition for an educator quickly and easily through Feb. 19 using the online nomination form that may be accessed through wcboe.org.
Semifinalists announced in schools, then online and in media
Teacher of the Year judging process for eligible semifinalists, including the Fishbowl public speaking event, writing prompt, and interview with judges
Teacher of the Year Celebration (details to be determined later in the school year, in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions at that time).
Wicomico Teachers of the Year model teaching excellence, and include past finalists and winners at the state level. Current Wicomico Teacher of the Year Hemalatha Bhaskaran, an environmental science teacher at James M. Bennett High, was a finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year. She is also a 2020 recipient of the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
From among all eligible nominees for each school and special program, a semifinalist will be selected. For this pandemic year only, any teacher in the third year of teaching or beyond will be able to represent their school or special program as a semifinalist in the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Program, though to be eligible to compete for the title of Wicomico Teacher of the Year a teacher must also meet all the state’s eligibility requirements.
The state’s eligibility requirements for the Maryland Teacher of the Year Recognition Program include being tenured after three full years of teaching in the teacher’s public school system, with at least five full years as a full-time teacher in Maryland, and being a full-time teacher with daily responsibility for teaching students. Semifinalists who meet these eligibility requirements and choose to continue in the Teacher of the Year judging process will then challenge themselves in a public speaking exercise called the Fishbowl. They will also be interviewed by a blue ribbon panel of judges, and will complete a detailed writing prompt for scoring.
During the Teacher of the Year Celebration tentatively scheduled for May 6, the four teachers with the highest total score from these three events will be named the finalists, and the 2021-2022 Wicomico Teacher of the Year will be named from among the four finalists.