Teacher of the Year
Salisbury University is proud of our graduates who leave us and earn the honor of Teacher of the Year.
Cecil County - Elkton High School
Kelly O'Hara, Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Kelly O'Hara is an alumna of Elkton High School where she now teaches. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History Secondary Education from Salisbury University in 2005 and a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an Administration I certification from McDaniel College in 2011. Kelly has developed her skills as a teacher-leader by serving as School Improvement Team Facilitator, Internal Coordinator for her school’s Middle States reaccreditation process, and Lead Teacher of the social studies department. She has presented professional development at the national, state, and local level. Kelly writes curriculum, supervises student teachers, and mentors new teachers.
Queen Anne's County - Church Hill Elementary School
April Pinder, Physical Education, Grades K-4
April Pinder, Physical Education teacher at Church Hill Elementary School, motivates the school community to embrace physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. Her enthusiasm for physical education can be witnessed through her role as coordinator of the school health fair and the implementation of the Let’s Move Campaign. She was nominated for the NFL Teacher of the Year program, and also established a before school jump rope club which includes over 100 students. April has implemented a variety of events to foster wellness, school pride, and student perseverance. Ms. Pinder graduated from Salisbury University with a Master’s in Education and Bachelor’s in Physical Education.
Wicomico County - Wicomico Early Learning Center
Lauren Nicole Monroe, Pre-K
Lauren Monroe, a graduate of Salisbury University, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Education as a Reading Specialist. She has taught pre-kindergarten at the Wicomico Early Learning Center since 2007. Ms. Monroe is passionate about inquiry-based instruction through Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP), kid writing, and partnering with families. Her commitment to the profession is shown through her work as a mentor teacher and adjunct professor for Salisbury University. Ms. Monroe’s accomplishments include presenting at the International Reading Association Convention and the National Association for the Education of Young Children Conference.
Calvert County – Southern Middle School
Jon Cox, Mathematics Teacher
Jon K. Cox earned his B.S. in elementary education from Salisbury University and his M.S. in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College. A recipient of two technology grants courtesy of the Maryland E-Portfolio Project and Dominion Energy, his genuine charisma and passion for creative, high-quality mathematics instruction always shine through. A Salisbury University Summa Cum Laude graduate and 2006 commencement exercise speaker, Mr. Cox works at the county and state level developing and critiquing curriculum. A 2009 MOD-MSA standard setting team member, he encourages students to take responsibility for achievement through the implementation of the “Co-taught D.A.S.H for Success.”
Somerset County – Somerset Intermediate School
Courtney Haldeman, Mathematics Teacher
Courtney Haldeman inspires at-risk middle school students to improve their math skills with creativity and compassion. She leads professional development, serves as team leader and SIT team member, and mentors new teachers and interns. Also, she supports Relay for Life, March of Dimes, and Women Supporting Women. Her strategies have proven effective with over half of her students improving their level of proficiency on the MSA. Haldeman’s dedication and professionalism are evident in her classroom. She graduated cum laude from Salisbury University (2007), with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Mathematics, and is working on her master’s degree.
Wicomico County – Wicomico Middle School
Kristin Cashman, English Language Arts Teacher, 7th Grade
Kristin, a 1998 graduate of Salisbury University, has her degree in elementary education. She has been a featured speaker for Salisbury University, a member of the family leadership council, and the county council of PTAs. As a Maryland Multicultural Education and Educator Effectiveness Academy representative and Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, she is able to share insight and new knowledge with other professionals. Serving as a Professional Development School trained mentor for local university education majors, she impacts future teachers. Volunteering for various church, government, and non-profit groups allows her to connect with the community that has given her so much.
Worcester County – Snow Hill Elementary
Karen Eure, Kindergarten
Karen Eure has been teaching kindergarten at Snow Hill Elementary, a Maryland and National Blue Ribbon School, for 25 years. She teaches a joy of reading, creates number sense with inquiry, and integrates science using STEM strategies. Observation and analysis of student progress using the Maryland Model for School Readiness lead to modification of instruction to increase success. Ms. Eure’s mission is to create lifelong learners and problem solvers, preparing her students for future success in school and a global economy. Ms. Eure graduated from Mary Washington College in 1986 with a BA in Spanish Education. She earned a Master of Education, with a concentration in reading, from Salisbury University in 1994.
Dorchester County—Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
Heidi Cohoon, AP English Language and Composition (Grade 11) and English IV (Grade12)
Heidi earned her BA in English from Salisbury University and MA in Modern Humanities from Frostburg State University. She has served on the School Improvement Team, Accreditation for Growth Team, High School Task Force, and has written county curricula. Heidi served as senior class advisor, SGA advisor, and director of publications. Spearheading AP Showcase Night and a pilot reading mentorship program are among her many accolades. She has received recognition for coordinating an SU Mentorship program, being selected for MD Writing Project, advising college interns, and teaching AP workshops. In addition, she has instructed her students to mastery on the AP English Literature Examination and English HSA.
Somerset County – Crisfield High School
Kelly Butler, Social Studies, Grade 10
In 2004, Kelly received a Bachelor’s degree in government from Liberty University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Salisbury University. She has established a team of teachers who target and support at-risk students, is a behavior coach for at-risk students, and is the National Honor Society advisor. Kelly has worked with the SIT team, PBIS, and SGA. She is involved annually with county-wide curriculum development, as well as mentors teacher interns. Kelly, a mother of two, volunteers with March of Dimes and the children’s programs at her church.
Talbot County Teacher of the Year – Easton Elementary
Katie C. White, Title 1 Reading and Math Teacher
Katie White has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Elementary Education from McDaniel College and completed her Master’s in Reading from Salisbury State University. Katie has been teaching for nine years and has taught Language Arts in grades 3 and 6. She is now the Title I Reading and Math teacher at Easton Elementary. Katie is a member of the International Reading Council, Chairperson of the School Improvement Team, and serves on the County Equity Team, which trains system staff in Courageous Conversations regarding equity and race. She participated in the Educator Effectiveness Academy in 2011 and organized a Math night at the local Food Lion, which brought together 500 families to learn about everyday math skills. Katie is active in her community and serves as an adjunct professor at Salisbury University.
Wicomico County – Fruitland Primary School
Susan ― Susie Jones, Grade 1
Susan Jones is a Salisbury University graduate with a degree in Elementary Education and a Master's in Post-Secondary Education. Susan began teaching in 1994 and excels as a leader at her school by chairing the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), serving as a team member of RTTT and being a STEM teacher. She is also an integral link in her school’s partnership with Salisbury University. For the past ten years she had been the site-coordinator for Fruitland Primary School, a teacher mentor, and an adjunct instructor. Susan refines co-teaching and inclusion techniques to meet each of her student’s diverse needs.
Caroline County – Greensboro Elementary School
Cheri Nier, First Grade
Caroline County Public Schools first welcomed Cheri in the fall of 1979, when she entered kindergarten. After graduating from North Caroline High in 1992 she attended Salisbury University, majored in elementary education, and concentrated in early childhood education. She earned her Master’s in Education from Salisbury University. In 1998 she was welcomed back to teach at Preston Elementary. Six years later, she transferred to Greensboro Elementary and has taught 3rd grade, been a reading specialist, and currently teaches 1st grade. Her desire is to create a positive feeling about school by teaching with a deep love and respect for children.
Charles County – Milton Somers Middle School
Stephanie F. Harris-Walent, Language Arts, Grade 7
Stephanie F. Harris-Walent is a Language Arts Teacher and Team Leader at Milton M. Somers Middle School in Charles County, Maryland. She has 19 years teaching experience in public and private schools. She was recognized in 2010 as an Exemplary Employee for her contributions to the reading program and dedication to student success. Also in 2010, she was nominated for the "Working Woman of the Year" Award. She is a SDB Fellow through Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Sarah D. Barder Fellowship program since 2009. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University in 1992.
Dorchester County – North Dorchester Middle School
Valerie Lomax, Social Studies, Grade 8
Valerie Lomax graduated cum laude from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Education. She has taught in Dorchester County for 21 years as a Special Education and Social Studies teacher. She has served on numerous county and school committees such as the Instructional Leadership, School Improvement and Common Core Transition teams. She is involved with writing curriculum for Financial Literacy, Service Learning, county benchmarks and Social Studies. She has mentored nine pre-service teachers from local universities. Mrs. Lomax is a Maryland Service Learning Fellow and received the National Citizenship Education Teacher Recognition Award.
Queen Anne’s County – Centreville Elementary School
Allison Kern, Physical Education, Grades PreK-2
Allison has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Salisbury University, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She is currently forming school-wide committees to participate in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and has set the bar high with 91% of her students reaching the healthy fitness zone this year. She is the Chairperson for her school Crisis Management Team and Faculty Advisory Committee, a member of the County Calendar Committee, and as part of Race to the Top, spent time writing performance indicators for each of the primary level standards in the Physical Education Maryland State Curriculum.
Somerset County – Somerset Intermediate School
Dawn Lankford, English, Grade 9
A native of the Chesapeake Bay region, Dawn earned her BA in English, Secondary Education (2000) and MA in Public School Administration from Salisbury University (2006). Dawn motivates reluctant learners to master literacy skills by designing authentic, technology-rich lessons. She incorporates current issues, local history, environmental and character education and serves as a school-based NorthBay educator each year. In 2010, 90% of her students passed the MSA, and 100% of her Special Educations students scored proficient or advanced, effectively closing the achievement gap. Dawn also volunteers with organizations that support the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay and cancer research.
Talbot County – Tilghman Elementary School
Angela Asmussen, Mathematics/Language Arts, Grades 3-6
Mrs. Angela Asmussen, a teacher at Tilghman Elementary, is a graduate of Salisbury University with a BS in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Teaching and Learning with Technology. She teaches Math for grades 3-6 and Language Arts for grade 6. She is the Service Learning Coordinator for her school, has served on the School Improvement Team, served as a mentor teacher, and assists in the “Just for Girls” afterschool program at Tilghman Elementary. She is actively involved in the Trappe Volunteer Fire Department serving as trustee and chairing various fundraising projects. She is currently the secretary for the Tilghman Area Youth Association (TAYA).
Washington County – Western Heights Middle School
Katharine L. Long, Social Studies, Grade 8
Katharine Long received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History at Salisbury University and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Educational Administration & Supervision at Frostburg State University. She serves as the Social Studies Department Leader, as well as the coordinator of the National Geographic Bee, and on the National History Day Project and Club. Mrs. Long writes county curriculum and serves on the School Improvement Team, the Instructional Technology Leadership Cohort, the Disciplinary Literacy Initiative Group, & Textbook Selection Committees. Mrs. Long also serves as a new teacher mentor through several university partnerships and enjoys volunteering throughout the county.
Wicomico County – Salisbury Middle School
Chad Pavlekovich, STEM/Science, Grades 7-8
Chad received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Salisbury Univeristy. His dedication to helping all students develop a greater understanding of science extends beyond the classroom to founding and facilitating such programs as Salisbury Middle’s, nationally recognized, Science Nights, the SMS Stem Academy, “Blast-Off!” a Summer Scholars program, and “From Stars to Stegosaurs,” a summer enrichment program for elementary students. Chad is a school leader, acting as ILT co-Chair, team leader, and mentor. Past recognition includes: M.A.S.T. Excellence in Science Teaching, Salisbury University Outstanding Mentor Teacher, and Wicomico County Environmental Teacher of the Year.
Worcester County – Snow Hill High School
Jennifer Sills, Science/Biology, Grades 9-11
Jennifer graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Secondary Education. She is currently completing a Masters from Towson University. In her eighth year at Snow Hill High School, she teaches Biology and Environmental Life Science. She wants her students to feel more interested and intrigued about science and the world around them and because she understands the importance of motivating students, she is spearheading a new committee which will develop motivational strategies aimed at raising student achievement. She also serves as a new teacher mentor, a National Honor Society liaison, and a Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies team member.