Wicomico County Public Schools
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Delmar Elementary’s Shane Morton Named 2019-2020 Wicomico Teacher of the Year
Delmar Elementary School’s Shane Morton, a Prekindergarten teacher, was named the 2019-2020 Wicomico Teacher of the Year March 28, 2019 at the annual Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet at The Fountains in Salisbury as can be seen in this video.
Ms. Morton, a Prekindergarten teacher in her 23rd year, strives daily to provide learning opportunities for her 4- and 5-year-old students that engage the interest of children, involve parents and the community, and build understanding and appreciation for everyone’s cultures. Asked in her writing prompt to describe her mission as 2019-2020 Wicomico Teacher of the year, Ms. Morton said, “In Wicomico County we must have R.I.CE. (Recruitment, Inclusion, Community Partnerships, and Engagement)” to build a more diverse workforce in Wicomico Schools, to strengthen connections with the community, and to engage students with performance-based tasks at all grade levels, starting with Prekindergarten.
“I am committed to incorporating inclusive and engaging curriculum for the students of our county. It is my commitment to the teachers of Wicomico County to become an advocate of teacher development and recruitment,” Ms. Morton wrote. “As a teacher in Wicomico County, watching my students walk proudly across the stage at graduation continues to ignite my passion for education.”
Her goals fit neatly with the goals of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, as shared by the superintendent in her “Imagine 2022” report to the community: increasing the percentage of students who enter Kindergarten ready to learn, raising the high school graduation rate, and recruiting and retaining a high-performing teaching workforce.
“It will be my goal to increase our recruitment efforts to bring teachers to Wicomico County who reflect the backgrounds of our diverse student populations. I would like to reach out to the Multicultural Affairs department at colleges and universities to establish relationships for recruiting opportunities,” Ms. Morton said. “I aim to help drive curriculum development that is culturally inclusive and represents all students in Wicomico County. We will train teachers to use more immersive educational opportunities. Incorporating our students’ experiences, cultures and backgrounds will create a motivated student.”
The new Teacher of the Year will begin her year in style, arriving at Delmar Elementary School shortly after 9 a.m. Friday for a school celebration. She will be chauffeured in a classic 1949 Buick provided for the occasion by Wicomico music teacher and auto enthusiast Buck Burton, and a Delmar fire truck will also accompany her as she arrives at her school to flowers, signs, a red carpet, crown, sash, cheerleaders, band and more. Following an assembly where she will be celebrated by the school, Ms. Morton will be interviewed for a Wicomico County Public Schools Teacher of the Year special on PAC 14 by Aaron Deal, the 2003-2004 Wicomico and Maryland Teacher of the Year and a longtime member of the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Committee.
Ms. Morton, 45, received a bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University in 1996, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Sojourner-Douglass College in 2010. She was hired by Wicomico County Public Schools in September 1996 as an in-school suspension teacher at Beaver Run Elementary. In January 1997 she began teaching Prekindergarten at Delmar Elementary, where she has served students and families ever since.
She has embodied leadership as chairman of the Multicultural Committee, grade-level chairman, head cheerleading coach for Wicomico High School, and her current service as chairman of the Instructional Leadership Team for her school. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., she is actively engaged in her community through mentoring programs for young women.
Wicomico Teacher of the Year Shane Morton represents the outstanding staff of Delmar Elementary and the more than 1,250 teachers of Wicomico County Public Schools. For the next year, she will represent Wicomico County Public Schools in the Maryland Teacher of the Year Recognition Program, which includes 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 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. Many teachers were nominated for Teacher of the Year. After rating reviews by administrators and supervisors, 25 semifinalists were selected.
Each semifinalist interviewed with a blue-ribbon judging panel, participated in a public speaking challenge called a “fishbowl,” and completed a writing exercise. Scores from each of these steps as well as the evaluations were compiled to determine the winning finalist for each of the four school levels, with the highest-scoring finalist becoming the Wicomico Teacher of the Year.
Finalists, in addition to Ms. Morton for the primary level, are:
Intermediate: Staci McGowan, Physical Education/Health Education, Fruitland Intermediate
Middle School: Katy Seman, Thinking and Doing Program (TAD), Bennett Middle
High School: Phil Portier, Social Studies, James M. Bennett High
The other 2019 semifinalists are:
Beaver Run Elementary: Erica Johnson, Art
Charles H. Chipman Elementary: Kathryn Miller, Special Education
Choices Academy: Shannon Hinman, High School English
East Salisbury Elementary: Matthew Snyder, 3rd Grade
Fruitland Primary: Erin Bailey, 1st Grade
Glen Avenue Elementary: Amanda Evans, 3rd Grade
Mardela Middle and High: Cory Boltz, Middle & High Band/High School General Music
North Salisbury Elementary: Michael Auger, Art
Northwestern Elementary: Joann Evans, 5th Grade
Parkside High: Sherri Harkins, French & Journalism
Pemberton Elementary: Melissa Koerner, Prekindergarten 3 Year Olds
Pinehurst Elementary: Jennifer Fitzgerald, 5th Grade
Pittsville Elementary and Middle: Sherree West, 4th Grade
Prince Street Elementary: Jessica Grimes, Prekindergarten
Salisbury Middle: James McCrobie, 6th-8th Social Studies/STEM
West Salisbury Elementary: Angel Wright, 2nd Grade
Westside Intermediate: Theresa DeLizza, 3rd Grade
Westside Primary: Jennifer Bails, Kindergarten
Wicomico High: Melissa Schock, Social Studies
Wicomico Middle: Kimberly McCarty, 7th Grade English Language Arts
Willards Elementary: Stacey Phillips, Art
“For all 25 semifinalists, the Teacher of the Year Recognition Program will continue long after tonight’s festivities,” said Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, “The semifinalists will be part of a year-long think tank that will meet periodically with school system leaders to share their insights and ideas and to brainstorm solutions to issues in education.”
New Rising Star Award
New teachers who successfully completed their first year in Wicomico Schools and are now in their second year in WCPS classrooms were eligible for the Rising Star Award, given by the McCain Foundation and Wicomico County Public Schools. After rating reviews were completed by principals and supervisors, 15 semifinalists were selected. Each submitted a video entry to showcase their public speaking skills, professionalism, content and engagement. Scores from all of these steps were tallied to determine the four finalists and then the overall winner. All four finalists attended the Teacher of the Year Banquet with a guest.
Mr. William and Mrs. Teresa McCain of the McCain Foundation announced the Rising Star Award winner at the Teacher of the Year Banquet: Debra Reynolds, Social Studies teacher at Wicomico Middle School. As the winner, she received a Rising Star Award plaque and $1,000 to spend on continuing education, materials of instruction, professional development, and other areas of education.
Finalists for the Rising Star Award:
Amy Davidson, Bennett Middle
Jessica Brown, Glen Avenue Elementary
Joseph Coco, Westside Intermediate
The McCains established the Rising Star Award to recognize and support teachers who are excelling in their first years in the profession, long before they would be eligible for Teacher of the Year. William McCain is a longtime supporter of the Teacher of the Year Recognition Program, with his company, W.R. McCain & Associates, serving as a sponsor. Teresa McCain is an English teacher at James M. Bennett High School and the 2000-2001 Wicomico Teacher of the Year.
Friend of Education Award
Each year at the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet, Wicomico Schools and the Wicomico County Board of Education honor a Friend of Education who generously supports Wicomico schoolchildren and schools. The 2019 Friend of Education Award was presented to the Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore, represented by Jennifer Small, Regional Programs Director Eastern Shore, and Lysa Layman, Youth Programs Coordinator.
Wicomico County’s rate of food insecurity is among the highest on the Eastern Shore, and many of those suffering from food insecurity are children. A hungry child will have difficulty concentrating and achieving in school and elsewhere in life. The Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore has been serving the area since 1981.
About seven years ago, with support from the Perdue Foundation, the Maryland Food Bank Eastern Shore piloted the School Pantry Program in two Wicomico County elementary schools. Participation began with just a few families, then grew to more than 200 families and eventually every family in those schools, so that all could receive help without stigma. Schools found that food pantries helped them strengthen connections with families and the community, and supported student wellness and achievement.
There are now pantries at 12 Wicomico Schools, including middle and high schools. School pantries are run in a variety of ways as determined by the school: with supplies for emergency needs, with a backpack distribution weekly or monthly, with distribution times in connection with family nights or PTA meetings, or with a home-school liaison taking food on a home visit. The Maryland Food Bank also supports the Summer Feeding Program, giving children access to breakfast and lunch when school isn’t in session.
As the Maryland Food Bank marks its 40th year of serving Maryland families this year, Wicomico County Public Schools and the Wicomico County Board of Education are proud to celebrate the Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore as the 2019 Friend of Education.
Sponsors of the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Program
The Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet is sponsored or supported by a number of generous businesses, organizations and individuals:
Presenting Sponsor: Wicomico County Education Foundation
Platinum Level: Hertrich Family of Dealerships, Richard A. Henson Foundation Inc., Wicomico County Education Association
Gold Level: Perdue Farms, Vernon Powell, CareFirst BlueCross Blue-Shield, Whiting-Turner
Silver Level: Association of Public School Administrators & Supervisors, Avery Hall Insurance Group., DataNetworks, Delmarva Shorebirds, Jennifer Seay Photography, Kuhn’s Jewelers, Salisbury University Foundation, The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore
Bronze Level: Becker Morgan Group Inc., Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Etch-Art Awards
In-kind Donors: Buck Burton, Chasing Fireflyz, Chick-fil-A, DiCarlo Digital Copy Centers, Educational Supplies Inc., Instructional Resource Center, Hair Odyssey, Kevin Shockley, Kitty’s Flowers, Market Street, Maui Jack’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Nutters Crossing, Parkside CTE Culinary Arts Students, Parkside CTE Horticulture Students, Sonya’s Floral Boutique, Southbound Alley, The Paper People
Media Partners: Clear Channel Outdoor, PAC 14, Salisbury Independent, The Daily Times/delmarvanow.com, WBOC-TV