CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County Public Schools has announced its Teacher of the Year and First Class Teacher of the Year 2021-2022.
Hurlock Elementary School second grade teacher Amy Stoops was named Teacher of the Year at the award ceremony on Tuesday, March 30, at the Hyatt in Cambridge.
When she was nominated, Stoops said she exactly where she was born to be, “Teaching has always been in my blood …. (It is) simply my everything as it has been my life dream for so long.”
She has been teaching in Dorchester County Public Schools for six years and is known for bringing extra energy to her classroom.
Stoops said of her students, “They inspire me, challenge me, and drive me to be the best version of myself, so I can give everything I can to them.”
As Dorchester County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Stoops will go on to represent the county in the Maryland Teacher of the Year competition, to be held in the fall.
Choptank Elementary School music teacher Nathan Turley was named First Class Teacher of the Year.
The First Class Teacher of the Year is a local award given to a first-year teacher of exceptional promise.
Turley said the most important thing he has learned this year is how to be adaptable.
“Teaching in 2020-21 has required taking what I know about teaching music and adapting it so that it is meaningful to the students,” he said, as all of his lessons are conducted virtually.
Turley sees teaching as an act of service. He said, “I serve my students by giving them music as an outlet for their thoughts or feelings, whether by listening to it or making it with instruments.”
He said he was inspired by his college band director to become a teacher.
Stoops was chosen from a field of candidates that represented each school in Dorchester County.
The judging panel consisted of Hannah Abt, DCPS First Class Teacher of the Year 2020-2021; Bill Christopher, president of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce; Victoria Jackson-Stanley, former mayor of Cambridge; Cherie Robinson, DCPS Teacher of the Year 2020-2021; and Jeff Webb, DCPS Teacher of the Year 2000-2001.
The other Teacher of the Year finalists were:
• Chris Baker, welding teacher, Dorchester Career and Technology Center
• Linda Barnes, science teacher, North Dorchester High School
• Kaitlin Carroll, second grade teacher, Vienna Elementary School
• Jessica Dulin, social studies teacher, Mace’s Lane Middle School
• Jennifer Grubbs, mathematics teacher, North Dorchester Middle School
• Ronda Herman, first grade teacher, Maple Elementary School
• Katie Lust, kindergarten teacher, Sandy Hill Elementary School
• Tom Schappert, English teacher, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
• Robert Sorrells, fourth grade teacher, Choptank Elementary School
• Jessica Suggs, media specialist, South Dorchester School
Turley was selected from a field of five rookie teachers nominated as finalists.
The other candidates for First Class Teacher of the Year finalists were:
• Lauren Hilderbrand, third grade teacher, Sandy Hill Elementary School
• Megan Rhoades, first grade teacher, Maple Elementary School
• Ashley Tyler, mathematics teacher, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
• Samantha Zapach, English teacher, North Dorchester High School
Look for an interview with the winners in next week’s Dorchester Star.