Teachers of the Year

April 25, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Reading from a 17-year-old newspaper clipping, Washington County Board of Education President Bernadette Wagner reminded Educators of the Year Awards Banquet nominees and audience members Thursday that educators teach all kinds of children, regardless of their demeanor.

"There are children who never get dessert ... who spend their allowance before Tuesday ... who don't have a room to pick up ... who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money ... and there are children whose nightmares are in the daytime," she said.

About 300 people attended the annual Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Educators of the Year Awards Banquet Thursday night at the Four Points Sheraton.


Forty-four teachers from Washington County Public Schools, county private schools and county colleges were nominated for the awards.

Pamela Michael, a reading resource teacher at Winter Street Elementary School, received the school system's Teacher of the Year award. She will compete in the state Teacher of the Year competition in May.

Michael was awarded more than $1,100 in cash and the keys to a 2003 Honda Accord to use for the year, among other perks.

Winter Street Elementary Principal Kathy Kelsey said one of Michael's goals is to give every child born in Washington County a book before they leave the hospital.

"When she gets started everyone stops and listens and when she finishes everyone says 'Amen,'" Kelsey said.

Michael said the dedicated staff at Winter Street deserved to share her award.

"Thank you. All this is unbelievable and unexpected," she said.

The private school Teacher of the Year, Renee Peterson, who teaches middle-school English at Grace Academy, was nominated because "students are drawn to her" and because of her commitment to broadening students' educational opportunities through various field trips.

Peterson said she spends so much time with her students they have become a part of her life.

"As educators we know the day doesn't end at five o'clock," she said. "Kids so often get under our skin, but in such a good way."

Melanie Biermann of the Frostburg University Center, Christy Hummer of Hagerstown Business College, and D. Lamar Creager of Hagerstown Community College all received Teacher of the Year awards from their respective institutions.

"As time rolls on, I think it's time to turn the podium over to a younger crowd," said Creager, a 33-year accounting professor who is about to retire,

Charles Wainwright, director of the Surrey Child Care Center, and Yogi Martin, the school system's director of athletics, both received Administrator of the Year awards.

"Every time I go away, on my way home I feel so proud and so good to be a part of Washington County Public Schools," said Martin, who has been a teacher, coach and administrator with the school system.

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