Teachers Honored for Outstanding Service

By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 4, 2007

Laura M. Hoover, a teacher of English as a second language at Margaret M. Pierce Elementary School in Fauquier County, rides the bus home with any student who feels he may need her help.

Andrew E. Loft, a music teacher and director of bands at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County, allows any student who wants to join to play -- and then molds the ensembles into award-winners.

The two were among 20 teachers celebrated last night with 2007 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards, presented by The Washington Post to honor leaders in the profession.

The annual awards honor one teacher from each of 19 public school systems in the Washington metropolitan area and one private school teacher. They are chosen from nominations sent by colleagues, supervisors, parents and students. Winners each receive $3,000 and a Tiffany crystal apple.

"It's the energy of the students that keeps us going," Loft said. "It's the same for all of us."

Each teacher was introduced by Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co., whose grandmother, Agnes Meyer, spent much of her time working to improve public education.

A consistent theme throughout the ceremony was the determined efforts of the teachers to help improve the education and lives of their students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Some, such as Dorothy H. Richards of the Calvert County public schools, were praised for employing teaching tools that engage students in learning difficult concepts. Richards, for example, teaches algebra and geometry at Patuxent High School by having students apply their knowledge in real-life situations, such as figuring out, mathematically, which cellphone and video rental plans are the most economical.

Others were noted for their efforts to help colleagues improve their teaching skills.

Suzanne Walker Lank, a reading teacher and literacy coach at Matthew Maury Elementary School in Alexandria, was cited for coordinating literacy workshops for fellow teachers, resulting in a significant rise in student test scores.

"It's impossible to be average when she is around," Graham said, quoting from one testimonial about Lank.

Sue Ann Gleason of Cedar Lane Elementary School in Loudoun County could rest on the skills she has learned in her two decades as a teacher, colleagues say. Instead she spends her summers trying to absorb more, attending reading and writing institutes, math workshops and teacher development programs.

The other winners were:

John T. Brooks of J.P. Ryon Elementary School in Charles County; Te resa M. Carbonell of James Hubert Blake High School in Montgomery County; Colleen Dykema of Swanson Middle School in Arlington; Robert Eichorn of Fairfax County's Interagency Alternative School Program.

Joyce C. Erb-Appleman of Berwyn Heights Elementary School in Prince George's County; Natalie A. Evans of Linganore High School in Frederick County; Jennifer Kiernan of Manassas Park Middle School in Manassas Park City; Richard Macheski of private DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville; and Rhonda McCarthy of Leonardtown High School in St. Mary's County.

Denise O'Neil of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Falls Church City Schools; Anastasia M. Rubach of R.C. Haydon Elementary School in Manassas City; Teri L. Salmons of Rockburn Elementary School in Howard County; Angela Sims of Marie H. Reed Community Learning Center in the District; Chevelli Elease Smith of Gar-Field Senior High School in Prince William County; and Charmain Sutherland of Severn Elementary and Walter S. Mills-Parole Elementary Schools in Anne Arundel County.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company