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Master’s alumni named top Maryland teachers

Two of Maryland’s top teachers earned their graduate degrees from McDaniel. Frederick County Teacher of the Year Mike Franklin earned a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Physical Education, now Kinesiology, in 2005, while Howard County Teacher of the Year Greg Murach received a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction in 2011. 

McDaniel has a tradition of producing top educators, including Maryland Teachers of the Year. Alumnae include Michelle Shearer M.S. ’96, the 2011 National Teacher of the Year and 2010-11 Maryland Teacher of the Year, and Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship M.S. ’05, a 2013 finalist for National Teacher of the Year and the 2012-13 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Jody Zepp ’94 was the 2014-15 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

In addition, Amy Andersen M.S. ’96, the 2017-18 New Jersey Teacher of the Year, was a 2018 finalist for National Teacher of the Year. Karen Mallonee ’76, M.L.A. ’79, was named the 2016 Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year. 

Read more about our 2019–2020 Maryland Teachers of the Year:

Mike Franklin M.S. ’05 has served as a physical education teacher and coach for two decades. Currently chair of the physical education department at Catoctin High School, he is also the baseball coach and teaches Fitness for Life through the school system’s virtual school. Additionally, he coordinates the school’s Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge and the ROAR (Respect, Ownership, Accountability, and Readiness) club. In addition to his degree from McDaniel, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University and an associate’s degree from Frederick Community College. “McDaniel College is a special place to me,” said Franklin. He credits his mentor, beloved professor and coach Sam Case ’68, as “someone I have always aspired to emulate. He was an amazing instructor and made McDaniel College and terrific experience for me.”

Greg Murach M.S. ’11 graduated from Mount Hebron High School in 2001, where he has taught mathematics since 2005. He has sponsored the Math National Honor Society, Freshman Advisory Programs and multiple Class Boards. He has also encouraged Restorative Practices at the school. In the summer, he partners with teachers in Uganda through the facilitation of professional development workshops. Murach, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University, is known for his student-centered approach, including bilingual education and real-life applications to engage all learners. 

Murach said, “I just have a heart for being a voice for those who may not have one, especially students new to America. I enjoy being on the frontline and helping provide the necessary resources for student learning to thrive.”

About the Curriculum & Instruction program at McDaniel, he said, “My time at McDaniel provided a fresh challenge — asking me to consider a deeper level of understanding in my profession. Through the relationships formed with other educators in my cohort, studying school law, and the content I researched, I have been able to collaborate and grow in new ways.”