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Top educators honored

April 23, 2004|By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - JoAnne E. Nave, who returned this school year to teach at the school from which she graduated, was named public school Teacher of the Year on Thursday.

Nave, 50, an educator for 28 years, teaches English at South Hagerstown High School.

About 275 people attended the annual Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Educators of the Year Awards Banquet at the Four Points Sheraton.

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

Nave said the current school year has been special because she returned to South High, the school from which she graduated and the first at which she taught.

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"It is like going home," she said.

Before returning to South High, she taught at Boonsboro High School for 22 years.

Nave worked at the school system's central office for two years but decided she wanted to return to the classroom, she said.

Nave thanked her friends and family, noting that she was one of the few teachers who had an entire table of family members at the banquet.

She thanked her parents for realizing the value of education. They knew that while one can lose money "knowledge is something you can never lose," she said.

On the form nominating her for the award, Assistant Principal Jet Reid wrote that Nave has instructed, mentored and advised more than 10,000 students during her career in Washington County.

Over the years, she has served as language arts teacher, journalism advisor, prom advisor, yearbook advisor and advanced placement teacher, among other roles, according to the nomination form.

Among those congratulating Nave on her win was Washington County Board of Education member Jacqueline Fischer, for whom Nave once worked as a student teacher. Fischer, a former teacher, said she has been impressed by Nave's dedication to teaching.

As the county winner, Nave will compete in the state Teacher of the Year competition.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Lt. Governor Michael Steele saw Nave in action when he visited her school earlier this year.

Morgan said that as Steele left the classroom he looked at Morgan and summed up his opinion of Nave's abilities with one word: "Wow!"

Nave was awarded more than $1,000 in cash and keys to a 2004 Honda Accord, which she will have the use of for the year.

Bonnie Pratt, an English teacher at St. Maria Goretti High School, was named private school Teacher of the Year. An educator for 27 years, she is chairwoman of the school's English department. Pratt was nominated by Principal Christopher Siedor.

Pratt did not attend the ceremony because she was accepting a separate teaching award at a ceremony held by the archdiocese of Baltimore.

But she spoke through a pre-recorded video message, explaining how she came to be a teacher and how much she loves a profession that is both "a vocation and an avocation."

She congratulated the other teachers, saying: "You are the keeper of the flame for future generations."

Pratt thanked her students, "who have challenged me, instructed me, kept me young, made me gray and trusted me to provide the spark for them."

Kim H. Rotruck of the Frostburg University Center, Beth Shanholtzer of Hagerstown Business College and Judy Kofoet of Hagerstown Community College all received Teacher of the Year awards from their respective institutions.

After getting her award Shanholtzer spoke of her feeling about her profession.

"I love it. I love it to this day. It is just so fulfilling and so satisfying," Shanholtzer said.

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