Press Release - Several State "Teachers of the Year" Hail from USM

September 27, 2001

Several State "Teachers of the Year" Hail from USM

Six of the seven semi-finalists in Maryland's 2001-2002 Teacher of the Year program, which will honor outstanding public-school teachers on September 28, are graduates of University System of Maryland (USM) institutions. The remaining semi-finalist did not graduate from a USM institution, but completed the student-teaching requirement through a special arrangement with Salisbury University.

The semi-finalists were chosen from the 24 Teachers of the Year selected in May to represent each of the state's school systems. Of the original group of 24 honorees, 19 either have degrees from University System institutions or have taken extension, professional development, or certification courses through USM institutions. Twelve of those 19 teachers have degrees from the USM. Of those 12, four hold both bachelor's and master's degrees from USM institutions.

The Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Business Roundtable Foundation to pay tribute to excellent teaching.  The 2001-2002 Teacher of the Year, chosen based on an oral interview with the judging committee, will be announced September 28 during a dinner at which all 24 honorees will be recognized. Maryland's winner will then represent the state in the national Teacher of the Year program.

USM Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg praised the teachers who were selected for the honor.  He said the number of Teachers of the Year with connections to the USM demonstrates the strength and breadth of the University System's teacher-education offerings.

"As the main provider of teacher-education programs in Maryland, it is obvious that we produce most of the teachers who go to work in our state's schools. But in our case, quality and quantity go hand in hand," he said. "I am delighted that we are so well represented in Maryland's classrooms, and I'm very proud MSDE has seen fit to honor this group of teachers."

The semi-finalists are:
  • Christina Blackman, a special education music teacher for ages 3 through 21 at Battle Monument School in Baltimore County  (holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Towson University)

  • Kathy Burtman, a kindergarten-fifth grade special education teacher at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Dorchester County (holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park)

  • Linda Eberhart, a fourth/fifth grade math and science teacher at Mount Royal School in Baltimore City (holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Towson University)

  • Mary Ruth Higgs, a first grade teacher at Greensboro Elementary School in Caroline County (holds bachelor's degree from Salisbury University)

  • Alberta Porter, a third grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School in Harford County  (holds master's degree from Towson University)

  • Hillary Sandberg, a third grade teacher at Ilchester Elementary School in Howard County (holds master's degree from University of Maryland, College Park)

  • Deborah Sheftz, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Southern Middle School in Calvert County (did student teaching through Salisbury University)

Maryland's public and private colleges and universities produce 2,500 graduates of teacher-education programs each year. Approximately 75 percent of that total graduate from the eight USM institutions that have schools of education: Bowie State University, Coppin State College, Frostburg State University, Salisbury University, Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The University of Maryland University College does not have a teacher-education school, but offers two online programs in the area: a Master of Arts in teaching and a Master of Education in instructional technology. (The Master of Arts in teaching includes internship and field experiences that must be completed on school sites while the Master of Education in instructional technology is completely online.)

In addition, USM institutions offer extensive professional development and extension courses for working teachers.

Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739