Three educators have been named finalists for Montgomery County’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year award.
They include Andrea Segovia, a third-grade teacher and team leader at Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda, credited for her compassion, enthusiasm and creativity. School officials said that her students take risks because they know she believes in them as individual learners and that the county has produced videos of her teaching practice to help other educators develop their skills.
Segovia was named an early career leadership fellow by the National Education Association and the Consortium for Educational Change, and school officials said she has made a mark nationally. At Ashburton, she has helped the school transition to the Google Classroom platform, coached Girls on the Run and sponsored a study skills club.
Another finalist is Kimberly Skufca, a technology education teacher at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg described as “an effective, motivational and reflective educator” with outstanding content knowledge and problem-solving skills. Skufca has worked to enroll more girls in courses such as Introduction to Engineering and Computer-Aided Drafting and Design and helped them succeed, school officials said.
More than 60 of the students who have taken her introductory engineering course have earned college credit in the last two years, officials said. She is an in-school expert on technology issues, sponsors an after-school STEM Club and never misses a play or instrumental concert, the district said.
At the high school level, Michael V. Williams was tapped as a finalist. The head of the social studies department at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Williams teaches history classes and is a co-founder of the Minority Scholars Program, a student-driven effort to reduce the achievement gap and expand the number of African American and Latino students taking honors and Advanced Placement courses.
School officials said the scholars program has spurred more minority students to enroll in rigorous classes. Williams has assisted students preparing for college and was head coach of the boys’ varsity soccer team at Walter Johnson High School and sponsor of the Black Student Union.
The three finalists are winners of the Master Teacher Award from the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund, an honor that comes with a $1,000 prize. Each year, those who win the Greenblatt award become the finalists for the county’s teacher of the year.
The finalists are selected by a panel that includes educators, school board members, parents and a member of the Greenblatt family.
The county’s teacher of the year will be announced May 3 during the annual Champions for Children Awards Celebration, hosted by the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education and the school system. It will be held at Wheaton High School.
The Greenblatt Education Fund also honored Samir Paul, a computer science teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, and Kaila Wiggins, a first-grade teacher at Clopper Mill Elementary School, as 2016 Rising Star Teachers of the Year; they will each get a $500 prize.