Finalists for 2015-16 Md. Teacher of the Year

UPDATE (October 9) — Ryan Kaiser, a middle school social studies teacher at the Mt Washington School in Baltimore City, was named the 2015-16 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

“It’s hard to connect and make the kids understand everything they’re learning in the classroom, so my big thing is learning by doing,” the Baltimore Sun quoted him as saying in April, when he was named the city’s Teacher of the Year. “The trips help them get a full grasp of everything we’ve been learning, and it really shows in their work. They also get them excited about the next thing.”

State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M Lowery announced the names of seven finalists for the 2015-16 Maryland Teacher of the Year today, according to a press release. The finalists were chosen from among the 24 school districts in the state, and the winner will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore on Oct 9.

Stephanie Marchbank (left) and Jennie Merrill

The winner will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.

The Maryland State Department of Education didn’t provide photos this year, so we simply list this year’s finalists:

  • Stephanie Geddie, kindergarten instructional team leader at Laurel Woods Elementary School in Howard County
  • Sally Irwin, Project Lead the Way biomedical science teacher at Washington County Technical High School
  • Ryan Kaiser, a social studies teacher at the Mt Washington School in Baltimore City
  • Stephanie Marchbank, an English teacher at Mountain Ridge High School in Allegany County
  • Jennie Merrill, a fifth-grade teacher at Severna Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County
  • Amanda Portner, a literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School in Frederick County
  • Barbara Sutherland, a chemistry, biology, and career technology teacher at Kent Island High School in Queen Anne’s County