Six Alumni Recognized as Top Maryland Teachers
Six of Maryland’s top teachers have ties to McDaniel College. Four graduated from one of McDaniel’s graduate programs, one earned a bachelor’s degree from the College, and another holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from McDaniel.
McDaniel has a tradition of producing top educators. Alumnae include Michelle Shearer M.S. ’96, the 2011 National Teacher of the Year and 2010-11 Maryland Teacher of the Year; Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship M.S. ’05, a 2013 finalist for National Teacher of the Year and the 2012-13 Maryland Teacher of the Year; and Amy Andersen M.S. ’96, a 2018 finalist for National Teacher of the Year and the 2017-18 New Jersey Teacher of the Year.
In addition, Karen Mallonee ’76, M.L.A. ’79, was named the 2016 Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year, and Jody Zepp ’94 was the 2014-15 Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Read more about our 2018 - 2019 Maryland Teachers of the Year:
Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year Heather Carnaghan, who is a National Board Certified Teacher, is the first charter or contract school teacher to be awarded this title. She earned her Administrator I certification from McDaniel College and holds a master’s degree in teaching reading from Loyola University and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Currently an eighth-grade social studies teacher at The Children’s Guild’s Monarch Global Academy Public Charter School in Laurel, Md., she also teaches and designs curriculum for 8th grade Collaborative Student Inquiry, a project-based learning class. Additionally, she coordinates the school’s AVID program, a college readiness program for students in the “academic middle,” as well as leads the hiring team and is a member of the leadership team.
She said, “Building a strong school culture is key to student and staff success. I am proudest of my one-on-one mentoring and support in the community because of the cultural foundation that it contributes to.”
Calvert County Teacher of the Year Melaney Sánchez earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College in 1999 and taught as an associate professor at the College from 2001–2004. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. from Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she currently teaches as an associate professor.
A National Board Certified Teacher, Sánchez has served as the media specialist at Mt. Harmony Elementary School for two years. She has also taught pre-K, first, second, third, fourth and fifth grades at Sunderland, Appeal and Plum Point elementary schools, all in Calvert County.
Named a 2009 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher by The Washington Post, she was also honored as the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) Math Teacher of the Year. She strives to foster information literacy and critical thinking skills that will inspire her students to be successful in a global technological society.
“My course work at McDaniel was life changing,” said Sánchez. “I could literally take a Saturday course and immediately apply information, skills and strategies in my classroom the following Monday.
“McDaniel also enabled me to network and make some friendships that I continue to treasure. Anyone in education knows that the best way to improve your skills is to surround yourself with others who will challenge and support you. That's exactly what the master's program did for me.”
Carroll County Teacher of the Year Tina Thomen worked in the finance industry before becoming a teacher. She received a master’s degree in Teaching from McDaniel College’s Better Educators for Students of Tomorrow (BEST) program, now the Master of Science in Teaching program, in 2006 and a Master of Liberal Arts degree also from McDaniel in 2015. She has completed additional coursework at Common Ground on the Hill in residence at McDaniel College. Thomen holds a bachelor’s degree in English and History from UMBC.
Thomen began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Carroll County Public Schools in 2005 and previously taught at Liberty High School. A National Board Certified Teacher, she currently teaches English at Manchester Valley High School, where she serves as chair of the English department, AP Language and Composition Reader for ETS and advisor for both the Newspaper Club and National English Honor Society.
She is a lead professional developer and curriculum writer in the area of English Language Arts. In addition, Thomen mentors teachers and student interns from both McDaniel and Carroll Community College.
Frederick County Teacher of the Year Timothy Snyder graduated magna cum laude from McDaniel College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Art, specialization in Graphic Design, and a minor in Sports Coaching. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Teaching from McDaniel’s Better Educators for Students of Tomorrow (BEST) program, now the Master of Science in Teaching program, in 2010.
A native of Frederick County, Snyder is currently a visual arts teacher at Urbana Middle School. He also mentors new teachers at the school and is a member of the Continuous School Improvement and Educator of Effectiveness Academy teams. He previously taught at North Frederick and Oakdale elementary schools.
Snyder, who competed as an undergraduate for the Green Terror cross country and track and field teams, also serves as the Urbana High School cross country and track and field head coach.
“It is an honor to represent Frederick County Public Schools as the Teacher of the Year,” said Snyder. “I have a passion for teaching, coaching and mentoring. It is a privilege to do all three in my profession, especially in the district I grew up in.”
Kent County Teacher of the Year Amelia Markosian graduated from McDaniel College with a bachelor’s degree in Art and minor in Education in 2010. She is pursuing a master’s degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware and plans to become certified as a school administrator.
A sixth-grade science teacher at Kent County Middle School, where she has taught since 2012, Markosian inspires students by engaging them in real-world inquiry and encourages hands-on learning. She utilizes technology in her classroom as a Discovery Education digital leader and organizes field trips to inspire her students. A member of her school’s guiding coalition, she conducts professional development sessions to help her colleagues apply new digital resources. She is also the coordinator for the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program that rewards students for good behavior through school-wide events and works as the middle school cheerleading coach.
"I am truly honored to be selected as Kent County's teacher of the year,” said Markosian. “I attribute my success to McDaniel College's education program which supported and prepared me for my life-long career. The professors at McDaniel helped me realize and focus the power and responsibility an educator has to inspire students to achieve and work towards a greater potential.”
Queen Anne’s County Teacher of the Year Rhonda Moore earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College in 2007. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University in Pennsylvania in 1995 with a dual major in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
Moore began her teaching career in 1995 as a pre-K teacher in Franklin, Pa., and has taught for Queen Anne’s County Public Schools for 18 years. She was a third-grade teacher at Bayside Elementary School before moving to Matapeake Elementary School when the school opened in 2004. Currently a first-grade teacher at Matapeake, she also serves as the first-grade team leader, a member of the school improvement team and has worked in curriculum development for both math and reading.
“I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to represent my Queen Anne’s County family of educators this year and hope to have the opportunity to bring to the forefront the great things happening in education across Maryland,” Moore said.