Three Finalists for MCPS Teacher of the Year Announced
Three teachers have been named finalists for the 2016–2017 MCPS Teacher of the Year award by the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund. They are:
Andrea Segovia, a third grade teacher and team leader at Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda. Colleagues call her compassionate, enthusiastic and creative. Her students are engaged, happy and willing to take risks because of her commitment to them as individual learners. She works closely with special educators to provide a rigorous and supportive environment for the students in the Learning and Academic Disabilities program. Due to her dedication and effectiveness, the school’s third graders are among the highest performing in reading and mathematics. The MCPS Elementary Integrated Curriculum team has produced video of her teaching practice to help in the development of teachers throughout the county. She was also selected as a third grade representative to help develop curriculum materials. Named an Early Career Leadership Fellow by the National Education Association and the Consortium for Educational Change, she is also a leader on the national education stage. She is working to create a professional development program so teachers can be identified as Google Apps for Education supports within their schools. At Ashburton, she has been an integral part of the school’s transition to the Google Classroom platform, and she has provided countless individualized and whole-staff professional development sessions. In addition, she sponsors a study skills club, coaches Girls on the Run, and attends many after-school and weekend events.
Kimberly Skufca, a technology education teacher at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg. She is known as an effective, motivational and reflective educator with exceptional content knowledge, out-of-the-box thinking and superior organizational and problem solving skills. She has cultivated student talents and fostered a sense of confidence in her students. She often has her students working in groups, and works to create an atmosphere where students are empowered by each other. As one student noted, “Mrs. Skufca will not let you fail … she works so hard and makes the impossible possible.” Skufca also has become known as the go-to person at school for technology needs or issues; she has taken on leadership roles such as Edline SuperUser, Electronic Gradebook Advisor and Technology Committee Chair. She has worked tirelessly to enroll more female students in classes such as Computer-Aided Drafting and Design and Introduction to Engineering, and to ensure their success. In the past two years, 61 of her Introduction to Engineering students have earned college credit. She also sponsors an after-school STEM Club, and never misses a school play or instrumental music performance.
Michael Williams, resource teacher for the social studies department at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring. He teaches Advanced Placement (AP) World History, U.S. History and African American History. Colleagues and parents say his teaching ability is invigorating and epitomizes excellence. He demonstrates a commitment to equity in education and developed programs to promote student achievement and leadership. The greatest example of this is in his role as co-founder of the Montgomery County Minority Scholars Program, a student-driven initiative aimed at reducing the achievement gap by expanding the number of African American and Latino students in honors and AP courses. This program has not only seen an increase in the number of minority students participating in those classes, but it has also expanded to other schools. He is also a mentor to students, and often assists them as they prepare for the transition to college. He has been involved in other extracurricular activities as well, most notably as head coach of the boys’ varsity soccer team and sponsor of the Black Student Union. Of Williams, Walter Johnson High School Principal Jennifer Baker wrote: “The greatest educators are fueled by a passion and drive that cannot be stopped. They have something more that shines through in their work, and, in turn, energizes their students. I have never met a teacher more enthusiastic and determined to eliminate the achievement gap. It is his mission, heart and soul … He makes a difference in the lives of students.”
The Greenblatt Education Fund is also honoring Samir Paul, computer science teacher at Montgomery Blair High School and Kaila Wiggins, first grade teacher at Clopper Mill Elementary School, as the 2016 Rising Star Teachers of the Year. This award honors teachers with less than five years of experience whose creativity and enthusiasm encourages students to stretch themselves and achieve more.
Finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award are interviewed by a panel of educators, Board of Education members, MCPS staff and representatives from the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, as well as a member of the Greenblatt family.
The teachers, along with other MCPS employees and partners, will be honored for their extraordinary work as part of the annual Champions for Children Awards Celebration hosted by MCPS and the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE). The MCPS Teacher of the Year will be named during the event, which will take place on Tuesday, May 3, at Wheaton High School.
The Marian Greenblatt Fund, named for a former Board of Education member, recognizes teachers that inspire their students to achieve, encourage younger teachers to be the best they can be, and help their school and community. The Teacher of the Year finalists must have five years or more of teaching experience in Montgomery County and receive a prize of $1,000. Recipients of the Rising Star Teaching Award receive $500 each.