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Frederick County Winners

Elementary School

Maggie Hawk
1st Grade Teacher
Yellow Springs Elementary School

Maggie Hawk grew up knowing she wanted to be a teacher. “My 1st-grade teacher, Miss Davis, had such a profound impact on my life, that I realized very early on that I too wanted to foster that love for learning that I experienced in my first grade classroom,” says the 1st-grade teacher at Yellow Springs Elementary School in Frederick.

Hawk - who has taught for 10 years - earned her B.S in sociology with and minor in education from Randolph Macon College and M.S. in curriculum and instruction from Hood College. Were she not a teacher, she’d be a doctor “because my passion in life is being in a profession where I can help people, doctors have the ability to interact and connect with their patients just like a teacher does with their students. Doctors have the ability to diagnose and treat their patients, while teachers have the ability to engage and enlighten their students to help them reach their full potential.”

Her favorite moment as a teacher comes when she sees “the face of a student who has turned a challenge into a success. I love when my students realize, through hard work and perseverance, that they can achieve anything that they put their minds too.”

Of all the advice she’s been given as a teacher the best is that “all students have the ability to learn; it is up to the teacher to determine which methodology works best.” She offers this advice to those thinking of entering the teaching profession: “The relationships that you create with your students are something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Your students may not remember everything you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel!”

Hawk has had “many wonderful teachers who have impacted my life. Aside from my 1st-grade teacher, my high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Remus, taught me that learning can be fun! I will always cherish all the wonderful memories I had in her classroom.”

It is her parents who Hawk most admires. “My Parents emphasized the importance of hard work and dedication as the major contributing factors to achieving goals and aspirations within your life.”

Judy Blume’s “The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo” is Hawk’s favorite book. “This book reminded me a lot of my life as a middle child in my family.”

Naman Jani | Nomination essay

High School

Michael Harrington
Science Teacher
Brunswick High School

“Teaching is exciting! I enjoy the journey of facilitating the intellectual and personal development of students,” says Michael Harrington, who teaches agriscience, pre-vet and horticulture at Brunswick High School. Harrington, who has taught for two decades, holds a B.S. in ornamental horticulture from the University of Maryland, College Park a M.S. in school administration from McDaniel College. Were he not a high school teacher, Harrington would be “a college professor; I enjoy working with students.”

Harrington’s favorite moment as a teacher comes from “watching a student who struggled in school walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma.” The advice that has benefitted him most as a teacher is that “students will care when they know you care.” The advice he offers those considering a career in the classroom is to “Set high expectations for your students and share them with your class. Students will try hard to live up to your expectations.”

It was Mr. David Miller, Harrington’s high school “ag” teacher, who most influenced him. “He believed in me. He provided me many opportunities to develop my abilities.” The person Harrington most admires, however, is his wife, Allison. “Her love and dedication to our marriage is amazing.”

Harrington’s favorite book is “Don't Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. “It is so practical. It helps me realize what is really important in life.”

Tori Poole | Nomination essay

Middle School

Kathryn J.S. Tobery
Visual Art Teacher
Oakdale Middle School

“I believe that creativity empowers us and helps us appreciate diversity. Plus I love to make things so I am an art teacher,” says Kathryn J.S. Tobery about why she teaches. “I am certified to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade but I choose middle school. No one ever says, ‘I wish I could go back to puberty.’ I see it as my job to help the kids love themselves through adolescence.”

Tobery, currently in her 17th year as a teacher, received a bachelor’s degree from Towson University, cum laude, in art education K- 12 and holds an advanced professional certificate. If she weren't teaching, Tobery would be “an addictions counselor specializing in art therapy. After I retire from teaching, I'd either like to be a travel agent or massage therapist.”

Tobery’s favorite moment as a teacher came in 1997 when Brunswick became the first public school accepted to present an art car at Baltimore’s Artscape. “It was my first year teaching at Brunswick High School and there were a few moments where deep down inside I wasn’t positive I could pull this off. But I was determined so I wrote a grant for supplies and the kids amazed me.”

The best piece of advice she’s been given as a teacher is to “never give up.” She would tell those considering teaching as a profession that “what teacher’s contribute matters. We affect this world. Our pay may not always reflect that but the proof is there when the kids return for a visit just to show you how well they’re doing. Those moments are the big payoff.”

Carl Fruendel, Tobery’s high school English teacher, greatly influenced her. “He was very creative in the classroom that he blasted through any teen angst and inspired us to believe in ourselves. I strove to impress him with my imagination.”

The person she most admires is Muppets creator, Jim Henson. His “goals and philosophy about embracing diversity and educating kids in playful ways still pushes me to live up to his gentle yet innovative ideals.”

Her favorite book? “In ‘The Giving Tree,’ by Shel Silverstein, the concept that there is always more to give and how relationships grow and change over time is eloquently represented by his simple line drawings. I’ve loved this book since I was a kid.”

Holly Seibert | Nomination essay

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