- Wicomico County Public Schools
Wicomico High’s Rebecca Mathews Named 2022-2023 Wicomico Teacher of the Year
Wicomico High School science teacher Rebecca Mathews was named the 2022-2023 Wicomico Teacher of the Year April 6, 2022 in an announcement at the Teacher of the Year Spring Celebration held at Kylan Barn in Delmar, Md.
Mrs. Mathews has taught at Wicomico High since 2014. She has collaborated with other teachers to align Biology courses with national standards, and has participated in or presented at a dozen conferences since 2015. An enthusiastic supporter of student leadership and achievement, she advises the school’s Student Government Association, National Honor Society, Destination Imagination and JROTC JLAB team. Always determined to help every student succeed, she has also been involved with after-school tutoring, Evening High School, summer school, credit recovery, GEAR UP, and Next Generation Scholars.
“Leaders are not simply born. They learn to hone their craft” through processes that engage them in collaborating with adults and classmates, writing and carrying out effective agendas, planning events, and more, she wrote in one of her Teacher of the Year scored prompts. While as a teacher she might find it easier to just do some of the work herself, far more is gained by her guiding students in doing it. “For my students, these opportunities to lead have helped them build a stronger and deeper connection to our school community, and the skills developed lead to opportunities in college and the workforce as they become campus mentors, residential advisors, Honor Council presidents, and commissioned Army officers. These amazing young people give me hope for communities near and far, big and small.”
Mrs. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Swarthmore College and taught for 14 years in other Maryland schools before becoming a committed and passionate member of the Wicomico High School Tribe in 2014. She has made it her mission to help students see opportunities for themselves in college, and has supported them in pursuing ways to make their college dreams affordable.
“Attending Swarthmore College was one of the most impactful experiences of my life, resonating through the educator, parent, friend and wife I have been, am today, and will become tomorrow … However, I was only able to attend Swarthmore because of its generous financial aid,” she wrote. She began hanging college pennants in her classroom to spark conversation and motivate students, and organized college tours for students to explore campuses and programs. That collection of college pennants “cascades down the walls in D-11 (and) includes the contributions of many WiHi students. My current students wonder which flag they might add to the collection.”
“I am very proud to announce the name of Rebecca Mathews of Wicomico High School as our 2022-2023 Wicomico Teacher of the Year,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hanlin, who made the announcement with Board of Education Chairman N. Eugene Malone Jr. “Mrs. Mathews is an outstanding and dedicated teacher and a passionate advocate for her students. She will be a wonderful representative of the more than 1,360 Wicomico teachers in the Maryland State Teacher of the Year Recognition Program.”
The Maryland Teacher of the Year Recognition Program includes Maryland State Board of Education recognition in May and the Maryland Teacher of the Year Gala in the fall.
Wicomico is proud to have three former Maryland Teachers of the Year working in the school system on behalf of students: Aaron Deal, Bonnie Walston and April Todd. The past two Wicomico Teachers of the Year, Dustin Thomas (2021-2022) and Hemalatha Bhaskaran (2020-2021), were state finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Top Teachers 2021-2022
Over the past few months, the 25 teachers who are 2021-2022 semifinalists interviewed with a blue-ribbon judging panel, participated in a public speaking challenge called the “Fishbowl,” and completed a writing packet. Scores from each of these steps were compiled to determine the four top-scoring teachers, who were announced April 6 as the finalists.
Finalists for Wicomico Teacher of the Year:
Prince Street Elementary: Paige Baker
James M. Bennett High: Kimberly Fitzgerald
Wicomico High: Rebecca Mathews
Special Programs, English Language Support Center: Miranda Ebeling
Mrs. Mathews, the highest-scoring finalist, was named the 2022-2023 Wicomico Teacher of the Year.
2021-2022 Semifinalists for Teacher of the Year:
Beaver Run Elementary: Katrina Mercer (Special Education)
Bennett Middle: Julie Owens (6th Grade Math)
Charles H. Chipman Elementary: Kelly Clark (Kindergarten)
Delmar Elementary: Carrie Lewis (Reading Specialist)
East Salisbury Elementary: Jamie Ennis (3rd Grade)
Fruitland Intermediate: Allison Harrington (4th Grade)
Fruitland Primary: Michelle Christensen (2nd Grade)
Glen Avenue Elementary: Lucinda Shue (3rd Grade)
Mardela Middle and High: Kelly Dorman (6th Grade
English Language Arts)
North Salisbury Elementary: Gwen Kidd (3rd Grade)
Northwestern Elementary: Nadia Peterson (1st Grade)
Parkside High: Andy Hall (Physical Education)
Pemberton Elementary: Sophia Vitilio (3rd Grade)
Pinehurst Elementary: Tim Peake (2nd Grade)
Pittsville Elementary and Middle: Donna Melson (Math)
Salisbury Middle: Martha Schworn (Reading Intervention)
West Salisbury Elementary: Krystal Schlissler (1st Grade)
Westside Intermediate: Jaime Miller (2nd Grade)
Westside Primary: Debbie Wessels (1st Grade)
Wicomico Middle: Pamela Slade (Computer Education)
Willards Elementary: Patricia Brown (Music)
In connection with the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Program, the McCain Foundation recognized Ashley Keidel of Delmar Elementary as the winner of the 2022 Rising Star Award for outstanding second-year teachers. In addition to the winner, the finalists for this award were Wesly Brouard (English Language Support Center), Thomas Cirillo (James M. Bennett High), and Alexis Woodard.