CENTREVILLE — There was no gala this year, but Queen Anne’s County Public Schools‘ outstanding educators and support staff still got their much deserved recognition.
On Friday evening, April 16 an awards ceremony was held for those nominees and their families at the Board of Education’s Central Office.
In traditional form, the event was hosted by an emcee — this year, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts, World Languages, and Media Michael Bell. Presentations were made by Superintendent Dr. Andrea Kane. The event was shown live on QACTV.
Five teachers were chosen as finalists for Teacher of the Year: Andrew “Andy” Anders, Centreville Middle, Social Studies; Thomas Hayman, CMS, 7th Grade Social Studies; Justin Lewis, Kent Island High School, Social Studies; Gina Crook, Matapeake Elementary, 5th Grade; Stephanie MacKenzie, Sudlersville Middle, 8th Grade English.
Amber Wright, Dance Teacher at Kent Island High School, and 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year spoke about her experiences this year. “We must continue to embrace every child every day in order to nurture them so that they will be independent thinkers, explorers and will mature into productive citizens,” Wright said. “... It is my hope that we continue to strive for excellence and equity every day. Our students are counting on us, and we can’t let them down.”
Each year the final award presented is the Teacher of the Year. This year Stephanie MacKenzie, 8th grade teacher at Sudlersville Middle School, was the finalist chosen by committee. MacKenzie has taught for Queen Anne’s County Public Schools for the last 10 amazing years. She came to the county as an intern teacher finishing a master’s degree in secondary education from Wilmington at Stevensville Middle School (STMS). During this time, MacKenzie said she fell in love with Queen Anne’s County and understood why her husband, wanted to raise their family on the Eastern Shore. She continued as a long term substitute at Kent Island High School and never wanted to leave the county since.
The next year, she was hired full time as the 7th grade Reading Teacher at STMS and earned New Teacher of the Year for QACPS. For several years, she enjoyed teaching 7th and 8th grade English and Social Studies at STMS, coordinating Service Learning, and coaching the first middle school competitive cheer squad through the PFY grant. She then accepted the position of Title 1 Reading Specialist at Sudlersville Middle School (SMS).
After Title 1 funding cuts, MacKenzie accepted the position of 8th grade English Language Arts teacher at SMS. This year she has advocated tirelessly for students’ mental health by writing to the Board of Ed, joining multiple committees, and finding ways to reach students. She has been an active member of the community by joining the SIT team and the Social, Equity, and Social Emotional Learning committees. She has taken on extra responsibilities including 8th grade team leader and service learning coordinator for SMS. Married to her best friend, Matthew, they have a daughter, Haley.
MacKenzie said she has found her calling at SMS and feels blessed to call such an amazing community home. It is an incredible opportunity to represent this tremendous school system, and shout out to all the tireless, phenomenal teachers and staff — they are all teachers of the year, MacKenzie said.