Souders, Oliver are named county's top teachers in '06

April 27, 2006|by KAREN HANNA


While singing about faraway places in class, one sixth-grader realized she had one of the best teachers in the world right in Smithsburg.

"I've never had that good a teacher. I don't think I ever will again," Suzanne Reed said as friends and family members snapped pictures of Nancy Souders, Washington County Public Schools' Teacher of the Year.

Souders, who teaches social studies at Smithsburg Middle School, was among the teachers honored Wednesday night during the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Educators of the Year Awards Banquet. She and Victoria Oliver, the Private School Teacher of the Year, each received keys to new cars they will be able to drive for the next year.


Tom Palardy, an early-childhood education professor at Frostburg State University at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown; M. Elaine Moxley, who teaches at Hagerstown Business College; and Loretta Thornhill, who teaches at Hagerstown Community College, also were honored.

According to Donna Long, director of operations for the Chamber of Commerce, 220 people, including educators, Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" F. Kauffman and members of the Board of Education, attended the event.

Souders, who was nominated for the honor by Suzanne, expressed surprise when she took the stage at Fountain Head Country Club to accept her award.

"I have to say, though, that this is just icing on the cake because my husband says I love my job so much, I'd probably do it for free," said Souders, who has been teaching for 12 years.

A science teacher at Grace Academy in Hagerstown, Oliver said she arrived at the event in a 1990 Ford Caravan. She left with the keys to a Ford 500.

Though Oliver spends hours preparing lessons, Grace Academy administrator Lynn Wakefield said she never misses an opportunity to share something new with her classes.

"I'll give you an example: A bird hit the window. You know, it hit the window and died, and so she immediately quit what she was doing, and she went outside, and she dissected the bird," Wakefield said.

Souders told the crowd she enjoys getting students involved.

"I love to hear them say, "Man, Mrs. Souders, you just take this boring stuff and make it fun," Souders said.

For Suzanne, now a 12-year-old seventh-grader, Souders' songs about subjects such as the continents still resonate.

"I think, hands down, she is one of the greatest in the world," Suzanne said. "Everybody learned a lot, everybody had fun, nobody was left out."

Educators nominated

The following educators were honored as nominees at the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Educators of the Year Banquet Wednesday at Fountain Head Country Club.

Washington County Public Schools

  • Michael Bair - Boonsboro High School

  • Krista Burgan - Emma K. Doub Elementary School

  • Debbie Catherman - Potomac Heights Elementary School

  • Danae Doubledee - Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education

  • Amberly Drummond - Western Heights Middle School

  • Patricia Everett - Smithsburg Middle School

  • James Feeser - South Hagerstown High School

  • Janet Getz - Potomac Heights Elementary School

  • Linda Green - Salem Avenue Elementary School

  • Debbie Henry - Hancock Elementary School

  • Teresa Hess - Hancock Elementary School

  • Susan Johnson - Williamsport High School

  • Barbara Jones - Smithsburg Middle School

  • Mark Kaninski - Northern Middle School

  • Robert Kann - Boonsboro Elementary School

  • Cindy Kauffman - Smithsburg Elementary School

  • Marjorie Kellman - Washington County Technical High School

  • Lisa Lewis - Boonsboro Middle School

  • Joseph Lingg - Boonsboro Middle School

  • Richard Love - E. Russell Hicks Middle School

  • Sue Lowery - Clear Spring High School

  • Mark Lysiak - E. Russell Hicks Middle School

  • Luanne Murphy - Smithsburg Middle School

  • Kimberly O'Kane - North Hagerstown High School

  • Anne Palmer - Bester Elementary School

  • Nicole Potter - Washington County Technical High School

  • Ruth Ridenour - Williamsport High School

  • Joseph Scheer - North Hagerstown High School

  • Kathy Shrader - North Hagerstown High School

  • Robert Jesse Smith - Western Heights Middle School

  • Nancy Souders -Smithsburg Middle School

  • Sherry Spithaler - Boonsboro Middle School

  • Jena Straley - Northern Middle School

  • Megan Stevens - E. Russell Hicks Middle School

  • Jennifer Swartwood - South Hagerstown High School

  • Lori Uzicanin - Potomac Heights Elementary School

  • David Warrenfeltz - North Hagerstown High School

  • Suzanne Woodring - Smithsburg Elementary School

  • Alan Zube - Washington County Technical High School

Washington County Private Schools

  • Steve Baer - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Carrie Bishop - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Rick Burkett - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Sal Dobbs - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Amy Fleagle - St. Maria Goretti High School

  • George Keefer - Maryland Correctional Training Center

  • Victoria Oliver - Grace Academy

  • Marilyn Ruth - Grace Academy

  • Pam Smith - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Kevin Smoot - Broadfording Christian Academy

  • Carol Velez - Broadfording Christian Academy


  • Tom Palardy - Frostburg State University at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown

  • M. Elaine Moxley - Hagerstown Business College

  • Loretta Thornhill - Hagerstown Community College
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