Mar 23 2012 | Fruitland Primary School’s Susan S. Jones Named 2012-13 Wicomico Teacher of the Year

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Fruitland Primary School’s Susan S. Jones Named 2012-13 Wicomico Teacher of the Year

Susan S. Jones, a Fruitland Primary School first grade teacher who has been known to reward student effort with words of praise like “kiss your brain” and “superstar zone” – and even to perform a happy dance on a desk – was recognized for her outstanding work in the classroom when she was named 2012-13 Wicomico Teacher of the Year March 22 at the annual Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet at the Commons at Salisbury University. Nominations for Jones came from a student, parents and colleagues, all of whom praised her fun, caring, energetic and expert teaching style.

 
  • “She makes me feel good,” a student wrote. “She is exciting!”
  • A parent characterized Jones as “genuine, caring, firm yet fun-loving,” and said she is a “shining example of what a teacher should be.”
  • A parent who has had two children in Jones’ class said her 10-year-old still remembers how cool it was to have Mrs. Jones do a happy dance on his desk. “I know this seems like such a simple thing, but it has such an impact on the kids in that room. How awesome it must feel to have somebody dance just for you when you answer a tough question right or when you meet a math test goal.”
  • Another parent praised her ability to differentiate instruction each and every day to engage students of every level and to help each child develop and celebrate his or her own unique gifts.
  • A colleague shared that she is “incredibly flexible, imaginative and resourceful, constantly searching for new ways to help her students experience success. Perhaps most of all, Susie is gifted with a genuine and powerful desire to influence little learners. Perceiving this, her students eagerly respond with an excitement for learning they will carry with them for life!”
Jones works actively and eagerly on the transition to Race to the Top, embraces STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) opportunities for her students, serves as co-chair of her school’s Instructional Leadership Team, and fosters the development of future teachers by working with numerous teacher interns at Fruitland Primary and serving as an adjunct professor at Salisbury University. Jones holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Salisbury University, and began working for Wicomico County Public Schools in 1994 as a teacher at North Salisbury Elementary School in the Magnet Program. She has taught first grade at Fruitland Primary since 2006. Last year, Jones was a Teacher of the Year finalist. As Wicomico Teacher of the Year, Jones represents the outstanding staff of Fruitland Primary School and the county's more than 1,250 teachers. Later this year, she will represent Wicomico County Public Schools in the Maryland Teacher of the Year contest. Wicomico is proud to have two former Maryland Teachers of the Year, Bonnie Walston and Aaron Deal, working in the school system on behalf of students. The new Teacher of the Year will begin her year in style, arriving at Fruitland Primary School at 9:40 a.m. Friday chauffeured in a classic 1949 Buick provided for the occasion by Wicomico music teacher and auto enthusiast Buck Burton. Jones will be featured, along with this year's three finalists and 22 semi-finalists, in a "Working Together for Children" Teacher of the Year special on PAC 14.

Top Teachers

The annual Teacher of the Year Banquet spotlights not just the year's most outstanding teacher, but all Wicomico educators who demonstrate outstanding leadership, a commitment to excellence, dedication to teaching the children of the community, and professional achievement, said Dr. Carolyn Johnston, coordinator of the Teacher of the Year Program. Twenty-six semi-finalists were selected to undergo an interview with a blue-ribbon judging panel of former Wicomico teachers of the year. Based on results from the interview and a writing exercise, the judging panel chose a finalist to represent each school level. Finalists were, in addition to Jones for the primary level: Christy Briggs, Grade 5 Reading/Language Arts teacher, Fruitland Intermediate School; Teresa Parrott, English as a Second Language teacher, Bennett Middle School; and Sharon Birch, Spanish III/IV teacher, James M. Bennett High School. 

The other semi-finalists for 2012-13 Wicomico Teacher of the Year were: 

Beth Keyser, Grade 2 teacher, Beaver Run Elementary School 
Lisa Gurkin, Special Education teacher, Charles H. Chipman Elementary School 
Heather Spicer, Kindergarten teacher, Delmar Elementary School 
Rebekah Davis-Slade, Grade 5 teacher, East Salisbury Elementary School 
Elizabeth Diemel, Reading teacher, Glen Avenue Elementary School 
Kristen Briggs, Grade 3 Reading teacher, North Salisbury Elementary School 
Charles Echard, Grade 4 teacher, Northwestern Elementary School 
Cindy Phillips, Grade 5 Math teacher, Pemberton Elementary School 
Debra Riley, Special Education Preschool teacher, Pinehurst Elementary School 
Marsha Rickards, Kindergarten teacher, Prince Street Elementary School 
Kathy Nottingham, Prekindergarten teacher, Wicomico Early Learning Center 
Jennifer Fenzel, Grade 5 Math teacher, Westside Intermediate School 
Marianne Noelte, Physical Education teacher, Westside Primary 
Kerri Corron Kurten, Kindergarten teacher, West Salisbury Elementary 
Vicki Ewalt, Media Specialist, Willards Elementary School 
Tonya Wilson, English teacher, Choices 
Janice Davis, General Music and Choral teacher, Pittsville Elementary and Middle School 
Ken Johnson, Grade 6 Science teacher, Salisbury Middle School 
Lillian Hoffman, General Music teacher, Wicomico Middle School 
Nancy Guillemart, Grade 6 History/High School Psychology teacher, Mardela Middle and High School
 Ashley Capute, English teacher, Parkside High School 
Melissa Schock, Social Studies teacher, Wicomico High School

Friend of Education

Each year at the Wicomico County Teacher of the Year Awards Banquet, Wicomico also honors a "Friend of Education" who has generously supported Wicomico schoolchildren and schools. This year’s recipient of the Friend of Education Award was Lisa Bryant of WBOC, who was surprised with the recognition while once again serving as emcee for the Teacher of the Year banquet. Bryant has been a Friend of Education both as a professional and as a parent. She came to Delmarva in 1993 when her husband, Robert Bryant, took the position as manager of the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico County Regional Airport. She delivered news on the radio before joining WBOC-TV as a producer in 1999, and was promoted to reporter and anchor later that year. In 2004 she became the education reporter, earning an Outstanding News Series award for her series on the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. In 2006, her “Learning Matters” series won the Associated Press Outstanding Specialty Reporting award. Bryant left WBOC News in November to become co-host of WBOC’s new afternoon talk show, Delmarva Life, which highlights lifestyles, businesses and the people of Delmarva every weekday at 4 p.m. Lisa and her husband are the proud parents of Samuel, now a freshman at Community College of Baltimore-Catonsville; Kathryn, a senior at Parkside High; and Ethan, a seventh-grader at Pittsville Middle School. She has been an active parent volunteer over the years, making popcorn for the DEAR program at Glen Avenue Elementary, serving as president of the Wicomico Middle band boosters and organizing the annual car show fundraiser, and helping out in the Parkside school office once a week.

Sponsors of the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Program

The Wicomico County Teacher of the Year Banquet is sponsored or supported by a number of generous businesses, organizations and individuals. Platinum Level: The Frank B. Hanna Donor Advised Fund Gold Level: CareFirst, Holt Paper & Chemical Silver Level: Association of Public School Administrators & Supervisors, Atlantic Pumping Inc., Bank of Delmarva, Baxter Enterprises, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Dr. Carolyn Elmore, First Shore Federal Savings & Loan, W. R. McCain & Associates, Perdue Farms Inc., Salisbury University Alumni Association Bronze Level: B&B Music, Davis, Bowen, & Friedel, Gordy Tiger Mart, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Goslee, Princess Anne Chapter of The Links, Inc., Salisbury Music, the Wicomico County Council of PTAs, and the Wicomico County Education Association In-kind Donors: Acorn Market, Barb’s Gift & Hallmark Shop, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Bubba’s Place, Buck Burton, Cheers, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill, City Florist, Clear Channel Outdoor, Dayton’s Family Restaurant, Delmar Pizza, Delmarva Shorebirds, Designer’s Edge, Dress Barn, Eastside Deli, Educational Supplies, Inc. , G. B. Heron & Co., Goin’ Nuts Café, Hollywood Tans, Instructional Resource Center, Joseph Lauren Hair Salon, Kitty’s Flowers, Kuhn’s Jewelers, La Tolteca Mexican Restaurant, Little Caesar’s Pizza, LORA: Local Owner Restaurant Association, Old West Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Quizno’s, Red Door Sub Shop, Rise Up Coffee, Route 12 Pizza, Sage Diner, Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury University, Sobo’s Restaurant, Specific Gravity, Subside Deli, The Daily Times, Twisted Pretzel, Viva Espresso, WMDT-TV and Zeppole Café.