Graduate Alumni Success Stories


Jessica Smith M.S. ’16 was hired as a reading specialist at Bermudian Springs Elementary School in York Springs, Pa., even before she completed her master’s degree in the reading specialist program. She was the recipient of the college’s Joan Develin Coley Award for Excellence in Education, which is presented to the graduate student with the best record in the study of literacy theory and practice. She is currently enrolled in McDaniel’s learning technology specialist certificate program.


Amanda Phillips M.S. ’16, who is third-generation deaf, graduated with her master’s degree in deaf education and is teaching at the elementary school at the Indiana School for the Deaf. At McDaniel, she has served as a mentor in the American Sign Language (ASL) lab, as well as a language model in the ASL house, an on-campus residence where ASL is the primary method of communication. She was the recipient of the college’s B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award, for demonstrated academic excellence with a strong compassion for individuals with special needs and an interest in serving the deaf and disabled.


Known as a national leader in school librarianship, Matthew Winner M.S. ’09 works as a library media specialist for Howard County Public Schools at Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, Md. The graduate of McDaniel’s school librarianship program was honored as a White House Champion of Change and among the Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers: People Shaping the Future of Libraries” in 2013. An active blogger, he maintains “The Busy Librarian” and “Let’s Get Busy” podcast, as well as the “All the Wonders” website, and is co-author of “Teach Math with the Wii.” He is also represented by Red Fox Literary, a boutique agency specializing in children’s books.


Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship M.S. ‘05 received her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel and teaches English at Rising Sun High School in North East, Md. She was named the 2012-13 Maryland Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year.


Lisa Spera M.S. ‘08 graduate of the master’s degree program in Counseling at McDaniel was named the 2015 Maryland School Counselor of the Year. Spera, a counselor at Carroll County’s Ebb Valley Elementary School, was one of three finalists for the national School Counselor of the Year and was recognized in January 2016 at a ceremony at the White House. 


Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Guthrie M.S. ‘84 was named the 2015 Maryland Superintendent of the Year. He earned his master’s degree in Education from McDaniel and served on the faculty of the graduate program for 10 years.


The Washington Post’s 2016 Teacher of the Year is Shalonda Holt M.S. ‘12 of McDaniel’s Curriculum and Instruction master’s degree program. She is a teacher at Centennial High School in Howard County. Other alumni finalists were Kelly McConville M.S. ‘14 of Kemptown Elementary School and Kevin Barry M.S. ‘13 of La Plata High School. 


Sabrina Worrell M.S. '99, M.S. '03, a reading specialist at St. Peter School in Montgomery County, Md., was recognized as a top teacher in the Washington, D.C., area with a 2013 Golden Apple Award. Worrell and nine other teachers received a $5,000 prize, along with a golden apple, pin and certificate, from the Archdiocese of Washington at a ceremony in May.


Named 2011 National Teacher by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony in May of 2011, Michelle Meredith Shearer M.S. ’96 knows that chemistry is everywhere, and believes that chemistry is for everybody. It is a philosophy that not only empowers her teaching – whether at the Maryland School for the Deaf or Urbana High School in Frederick County – but also helped her students from all backgrounds and abilities see themselves as scientists and gain recognition of this master teacher at the highest level.


Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Stephen H. Guthrie M.S. ’84 began his career as a classroom social studies teacher in California and Pennsylvania before joining the Carroll County public school system. Maryland Govs. Robert Ehrlich and Martin O’Malley appointed Guthrie, 2011 recipient of McDaniel’s prestigious Joseph R. Bailer Award, to the Professional Standards in Teacher Education Board, on which he served for six years in addition to his work with countless task forces and committees and speaking engagements across the state and country.


Lia Snow ’10, M.S.’12 decided to continue the work she began during her graduate internship as a Community Living Manager with Target community & Educational Services, Inc. Now Community Living Director, Snow is dedicated to providing a safe and high quality of life for children and adults with disabilities at the community-based residential Target, Inc. and assisting them to be active participants in the community and to live as independently as possible.


McDaniel alumnus and lecturer David Martin M.S. ’97 became the second graduate of the Deaf Education program – the first was National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer – to be recognized as a top teacher when he was named Teacher of the Year by the American Sign Language Teacher’s Association (ASLTA). In fact Martin, assistant professor and program manager of ASL Studies at Frederick Community College and an instructor and adjunct lecturer at McDaniel since 2000, took two classes with Shearer and shares her passion for teaching while dedicating himself to raising the bar in ASL awareness and instruction.


Ling-En (Flora) Kang M.S. ’12 has returned to her hometown of Taichung City in Taiwan to teach English after earning her master’s in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). While here, she taught Chinese and shared her love and knowledge of learning another language with undergrads both in the classroom and through Asian Community Coalition campus-wide events and dinners, which highlighted various Asian cultures. She studied Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Chung-Cheng University and completed a training program for teachers of Chinese at Ohio State University before coming to McDaniel.


The Writing for Children and Young Adults (WCYA) certificate program saw its first graduate in the spring of 2012 – although months earlier Cynthia Hawthorne of San Diego, Calif., also was the first to publish a work related to the online WCYA program in a publication called Abe's Peanut, a micro magazine for children.


Dale L. Schaeberle M.S. ’60 distinguished himself as a career educator for 38 years, including 23 years as a highly respected and successful school district superintendent in south-central Pennsylvania’s South Western School District. Recipient of the college’s Joseph R. Bailer Award for his significant contribution to the field of education. Schaeberle also served the college as a successful adjunct instructor and supervisor of administrative interns. He began his career in education in an elementary classroom in York City School District in 1955.


Patricia Love M.S. ’90 and Kirsten Love Biden ’03, M.S. ’08, a mother-daughter team of graduates of McDaniel’s Reading Specialist program, have made quite an impact on elementary school children in Carroll County. Mom Patricia is a Carroll County Public School Reading Specialist at Cranberry Station Elementary and recent winner of the Maryland Distinguished Reading Program Award from the State of Maryland International Reading Association. Daughter Kirsten, who also has a B.A. from McDaniel, serves as Carroll County Public School English Language Arts Specialist at William Winchester Elementary.  Both serve as adjunct lecturers in McDaniel’s reading program, and Kirsten has worked with Education associate professor Sharon Craig, another McDaniel grad, in the development and implementation of writing courses and is a mentor for the summer reading clinic.