— Emma Brown
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— Emma Brown
Monique Marshall-Ferguson, D.C. teacher
When students on the autism spectrum attend mainstream classes at the District’s Eastern Senior High School, they go with the support of Monique Marshall-Ferguson.
Marshall-Ferguson, winner of the Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award, teams with classroom teachers to make sure that her students have the accommodations they need to learn chemistry, world history, English and other core academic subjects alongside their peers.
“She takes time to re-teach abstract chemistry topics in a way that allows her students to develop a deep understanding of the content,” wrote one teacher. “She has a clear understanding of what students with very diverse needs require in order to be successful and shine in the class.”
A native of a steel town in northern Pennsylvania, Marshall-Ferguson went south for college and graduated in 2004 from the University of Georgia. She worked in various education-related jobs, including as a tutor, summer school teacher and special-education instructor before earning a master’s of teaching degree from Bowie State University in 2010.
She was the lead autism teacher at Eliot-Hine Middle School in 2010 and the following year transferred to Eastern, where she was rated a highly effective teacher under the city’s evaluation system.
Besides her work with students, Marshall-Ferguson has been an important mentor to less-experienced teachers, helping them navigate the challenges of their jobs.
“Before she even met me, she took me under her wing,” wrote one first-year teacher, Becca Gentile. When Gentile ran into chronic trouble managing the behavior of a particular student, Marshall-Ferguson helped her come up with a plan.
“Her dedication to helping a student that she doesn’t even work with is inspiring,” Gentile wrote.
Marshall-Ferguson has applied for and won several grants to help her school buy books for children, and in her spare time has written three self-published books.
— Emma Brown
Jacqueline Fludd Peng, Montgomery County teacher
Jacqueline Fludd Peng, a veteran social studies teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools, knows that teenagers hate yawn-inducing lectures about the conflicting views of the upper and lower socioeconomic classes that sparked the French Revolution.
“However, as a teacher who is as passionate about her content as she is about her students’ success, I know that in order for students to want to learn and achieve, learning must be relevant, instruction must be engaging and achievement must be attainable,” she said.
So Fludd Peng, an AP modern world history and sociology teacher at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, divides her students into three groups to teach them about the Estates General legislative body. The first two groups, representing the first and second estates, get to eat cupcakes — a privilege of their stature in 18th-century France. The teenagers of the third estate, hungering for a taste of the sweet treats, plan a revolution against their fellow students.
It’s that kind of innovative and inclusive approach to education that led her colleagues to nominate her for the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award.