Hancock educator is Teacher of the Year

April 16, 1997


Staff Writer

Hancock Elementary School second-grade teacher Delores Finney isn't fond of the spotlight, but she couldn't escape it Wednesday night when she was named Washington County Teacher of the Year.

"I still don't believe this is happening," she said. "I'm amazed."

Her coworkers weren't.

"I told her all week she better have a speech ready," said Sandy Jackson, a third-grade teacher at Hancock Elementary.

"I am a product of Washington County schools, my children are a product of Washington County schools and my grandchildren are now there," Finney said.

Finney, a Hancock native who has taught in Washington County for 28 years, was named Teacher of the Year in Hancock in 1985 and was listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers in 1994.


Finney also is involved in Little League, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and has been a mentor for high school students interested in the field of education.

Finney earned her bachelor's degree at Frostburg State University and a master's equivalency degree.

"Nothing can compare to the sparkle in a child's eye when they grasp a new idea or concept," she wrote in a biographical sketch that nominees for the award had to prepare.

Her coworkers, several of whom nominated her for the award, had high praise for Finney.

"Any time you need anything and you go to her for help, you get it," Jackson said. "She's not only a good teacher, she's a good person."

"One of the great things about Delores is she never draws attention to herself, which is why it's so nice to see her get the award," said Principal Barbara Stouffer.

"Any time you walk into her classroom there is something good going on ... She could be resting on her laurels after 28 years, but instead she keeps trying something new. She's our best-kept secret."

Finney will compete for Maryland Teacher of the Year honors.

The runners-up for the county honor were:

  • Patricia Biancolli, a library/media specialist at the Winter Street Elementary School;
  • Cindy Neugebauer, a physical education teacher at Lincolnshire Elementary School;
  • Allen Haines, a physical education teacher at the Alternative Learning Center;
  • Pearle Howell, an environmental teacher at the Fairview Outdoor Center;
  • Maria Riley, a seventh-grade math teacher at Smithsburg Middle School;
  • George Cassutto, a social studies and computer learning teacher at North Hagerstown High School;
  • Austin Gisriel, an English teacher at North High;
  • Charlotte Trout, a chemistry and physics teacher at Williamsport High School;
  • Patricia Kurtz, a special education teacher at Boonsboro Elementary School;
  • Paul Engle, assistant principal at Smithsburg Middle School; and
  • Carolyn Moore, assistant principal at Pangborn Elementary.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Washington County Board of Education and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, was held at the Venice Inn.

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