(SMECO) worked with the school systems of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties to select and honor 22 educators with Outstanding Teacher awards for leadership in the fields of mathematics, science, technology, and engineering.
Receiving awards this year were nine math teachers, eight science teachers, and five CTE-STEM (career technical education, science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers from schools in three counties. The teachers were chosen for their outstanding performance in the areas of creativity, rapport with students, enthusiasm for teaching, professionalism, and innovative teaching methods. Each teacher receives a plaque and a cash award. In 32 years, SMECO has recognized 480 local math and science teachers.
“As educators, you know that STEM skills are coveted by many businesses, including SMECO. Students who graduate with mathematics, science, and technology skills are vital for the success of our modern workplaces. You are enabling the next generation of innovators by not only teaching science and math, but by developing soft skills that so many people need—skills like communication, problem solving, and critical thinking,” said Scott White, chairman of the SMECO Board of Directors, at the awards presentation.
“Our gifted honorees understand that their job is about more than teaching mathematics, science, and technology. It’s about teaching things like character, imagination, and resilience. They display a commitment to classroom excellence and are helping to ensure that Southern Maryland schools prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators. They teach skills that are important not only to employers and the economy, but also important to our future.”
In addition to the Outstanding Teachers awards, SMECO works with local school systems to sponsor other educational programs. They include the MATHCOUNTS competition for middle school students, the annual Elementary Mathematics Challenge, and the scholarship awards for Southern Maryland high school seniors. SMECO also takes students to Washington, D.C., for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour.
SMECO’s Outstanding Mathematics, Science, and CTE-STEM Teachers of the Year are listed below.
- Heather Finamore, Northern High School, Mathematics
- Athena Lewis, Northern Middle School, Science
- Jennifer Murphy, Mill Creek Middle School, Mathematics
- Anne Piccoli, Calvert Elementary School, Science
- John Rossi, Northern High School, Science
- Melaney Sanchez, Mount Harmony Elementary School, CTE-STEM
- J. Noell Wilson, Mount Harmony Elementary School, Mathematics
- Jimmy Yurko, Patuxent High School, CTE-STEM
- Karena Bennett, Maurice J. McDonough High School, Science
- Erin Lewis, Matthew Henson Middle School, Science
- Sarah Ochoa, Mary H. Matula Elementary School, Science
- Taenika Penny, Theodore Davis Middle School, Mathematics
- Carol-Ann Smith, Thomas Stone High School, CTE-STEM
- Ashley Sparks, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center, Mathematics
- Diane Sumler, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, Mathematics
- Lynda Wyatt, John Hanson Middle School, CTE-STEM
St. Mary’s County
- Diane Dyer, Evergreen Elementary School, Mathematics
- Elizabeth Dyson, Leonardtown High School, Science
- Jessica Johnson, Leonardtown Middle School, Mathematics
- Abbey Liverman, Chopticon High School, Mathematics
- Erica Samuel, Leonardtown Middle School, CTE-STEM
- Naomi Thompson, Esperanza Middle School, Science