maroon wave
Jaimie Ridgely
SU alumna Jaimie Ridgely '01 M'11 Ed.D. '19 has been named the Worcester County Teacher of the Year.

SU Alumni Leading the Way in Teaching Honors on Lower Shore

SALISBURY, MD---Alumni from Salisbury University’s Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education step into their own classrooms ready to hit the ground running.

The Seidel School is finding that many of its graduates remain committed to the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, seeking full-time employment in the three counties closest to SU after graduation and joining other top teachers in the area who also are SU graduates.

With the recent announcement of Teacher of the Year semifinalists – each local public school’s Teacher of the Year – in Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties, a clear maroon and gold color palette has emerged.

Of 46 selections in the tri-county area, 34 are former SU students. Of the 25 teachers honored in Wicomico County, 15 were SU students. Of 14 Worcester County honorees, 11 are SU alumni. And six of the eight Somerset County Teacher of the Year honorees are SU alumni.

While school districts move into announcing their overall Teacher of the Year winners, SU alumna Tara Martens '11 M'17 has been named the Wicomico County Teacher of the Year.  Jaimie Ridgely '01 M'11 Ed.D. '19 has been named the Worcester County Teacher of the Year. Tania Cunningham-Raycrow M'16 was announced as Somerset County Teacher of the Year. Briana Beulah '15 was named Dorchester County Teacher of the Year.

“Our goal is to send the best educators out in the field to be leaders in their schools, wherever that may be,” said Dr. Laurie Henry, dean of the Seidel School. “The fact that so many of our graduates feel a connection to the area and remain in public school systems on the Lower Shore demonstrates that the relationship between the Seidel School and the local schools creates a meaningful bond.”

SU students often are connected with these schools through the Seidel School’s award-winning Professional Development Schools program, which allows the teacher candidates to spend time in the classroom honing their craft.

In all, the Seidel School partners with 44 schools in seven Maryland counties to provide preparation for prospective teachers enrolled in early childhood, elementary, secondary and P-12 programs in physical education, music, English as a second language (ESOL) and teaching English as a second language (TESOL).

Depending on the size of each school district, the semifinalists will be narrowed to a smaller list of finalists before each county’s Teacher of the Year is selected later this spring.

SU’s influence on Maryland Schools extends beyond the Lower Shore, with alumni also earning Teacher of the Year semifinalist honors in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Dorchester and Harford counties.

SU alumni Teacher of the Year semifinalists from Wicomico County are Don Abbatiello '98 M'03 (social studies, Mardela High); Heidi Hershey, M'21 (math, Salisbury Middle); Melissa Hileman, '12 (fifth grade, Northwestern Elementary); Kelli Lewis '01 (fourth grade magnet, North Salisbury Elementary); Michele Lilly '94 M'04 (math intervention, Wicomico Middle); Deanna Marshall '12 (English language arts, Bennett Middle); Martens (math intervention, West Salisbury Elementary);  Andromeda Massey '15 (pre-kindergarten, Pinehurst Elementary); Matt McMurdo '14 (special education, Wicomico High); Victoria Olinde '17 M'22 (math, James M. Bennett High); Danielle Pulliam '14 M'20 (fifth-grade English language arts, Fruitland Primary); Kelli Scholl '05 (physical education, Willards Elementary); Bethany Simon '15 (kindergarten, Chipman Elementary); Debbie Wessels '81 M'89 (first grade, Westside Primary); and Tuishula "Tish" Wise '23 (third grade, Glen Avenue Elementary).

Alumni earning semifinalist honors from Worcester County are Chris Adkins '18 (physical education, Snow Hill High); Dawn Davis '10 M'16 (pre-kindergarten, Snow Hill Elementary); Carli Dixon '17 (kindergarten, Pocomoke Elementary); Silviya Gallo '16 M'22 (math/pre-engineering, Worcester Technical); Michaela Hatlee '16 (kindergarten, Buckingham Elementary); Wendy Macrides '96 (first grade, Ocean City Elementary); Kristin Morris '16 (special education, Cedar Chapel Special School); Ridgely '01 M'11 (Phoenix/technical education, Stephen Decatur Middle); Kristina Salvarola '11 (fourth grade, Snow Hill Middle); Elizabeth Singer M'18 (Showell Elementary); and Brittany Tracy '10 (English language arts, Stephen Decatur High).

SU alumni Teacher of the Year finalists in Somerset County are Cunningham-Raycrow M'16 (special education, Somerset Intermediate); Erica Henderson '13 (physical education and health, Washington Academy and High); Jennifer Jones '15 (art, Deal Island Elementary); Jill Klaverweiden '11 M'18 (pre-kindergarten 3, Princess Anne Elementary); Danielle Moore '16 (fourth grade, Greenwood Elementary); and Theresa Perdue '01 M'08 (second grade, Woodson Elementary).

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