Finalists for Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year

The finalists for Caroline County’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year were, from left, Mirta Bradner, Andrew Buffenmyer and Shaughnessy Harris. The finalists for Support Employee of the Year were, from left, Amy Crawford, Linda Dodd and Sharon Hollingsworth. Harris and Hollingsworth won the awards.

DENTON — Preston Elementary School pre-kindergarten teacher Shaughnessy Harris has been named the 2020-2021 Caroline County Teacher of the Year. Harris has been a pre-kindergarten teacher since 2015. She began teaching pre-k at Federalsburg Elementary and then joined the Preston staff this school year. Prior to that, she was a special education teacher at North Caroline High School from 2012 to 2015.

In the nomination, it was stated, “Ms. Harris always acts in the best interest of her students and their families. She makes her students feel welcomed and loved every day. She not only instills a love of education in each child, but also caring and compassion, teaching them how to be good friends and get along with one another.”

Harris shared, “I believe that fostering creativity, discovery, curiosity, and imagination through play is how (pre-K students) learn best. Above all, I teach with passion and enthusiasm. Anyone who asks me about ‘my kids’ will tell you that when I talk about them, my face lights up. I love what I do!”

This year saw a record number of nominations that resulted in three exceptional finalists. The judging committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists, which included Mirta Bradner and Andrew Buffenmyer, both from North Caroline High School. Interviews were then conducted to choose the teacher of the year.

Harris will go on to represent Caroline County in the Maryland State Department of Education Teacher of the Year program.

Sharon Hollingsworth Named Support Employee of the Year

North Caroline High School secretary Sharon Hollingsworth has been named the 2020-2021 Caroline County Support Employee of the Year.

Hollingsworth began her career at North Caroline High School in 1988, and has remained at the school ever since. One of the nominations submitted stated, “She bleeds blue and white and supports all of our students each and every day. She exemplifies all that an administrative staff member should be and more. Her expertise and knowledge, loyalty and genuine compassion for others, and her ability to lead any situation with professionalism and respectable character is more than admired.”

As with the Teacher of the Year award, support employees also had a high number of nominations. In addition to Hollingsworth, two exceptional finalists were chosen – Amy Crawford with Food Services and Linda Dodd from the Caroline Career and Technology Center.

Normally, the recipients are announced with at a reception or an event at the school. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and school closures, Superintendent Patty Saelens made a surprise delivery of flowers, left on each recipient’s doorstep, to announce the good news. “It’s a difficult time to properly celebrate the extraordinary group of finalists and the announcement of the winners,” stated Saelens. “As soon as we are able to be together as a CCPS family again, we’ll revisit ways to honor the dedication and commitment of these deserving people.”

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