Teacher of the Year

Meet the Exceptional Cohort of Candidates for the 
2019 Teacher of the Year Program

Caitlin Bunting

Caitlin Bunting, Buckingham Elementary School

Caitlin Bunting graduated from Stephen Decatur, attended Loyola University earning a B.A. in Public Relations, and later received her Masters of Education in Elementary Education from Wilmington University in 2009.  She is currently in her ninth year at Buckingham Elementary School where she teaches 4th grade. Bunting believes that students learn best when they are having fun.  She incorporates music, movement, technology and hands-on experiments in her lessons to engage her students.   Bunting is a mentor teacher to Salisbury University interns, a member of the Parent Advisory Committee, and part of the Reading School Improvement Team.  
Bunting Michael Anne

Michael Anne Bunting, Berlin Intermediate School

Michael Anne Bunting graduated from Stephen Decatur, and attended Salisbury University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a Psychology minor, Reading Specialist Master’s degree, and certification in Special Education and Math 4-9.  Currently in her 15th year, Bunting teaches 6th grade math at Berlin Intermediate School.  Building a community of learners where everyone enters her class knowing that they are loved and respected and that they have value is her passion.  She is on the PBIS team, the One School One Book Committee, PLC Leadership, After School Academy teacher, and coaches and assists with youth sports.

Castaneda Brandi

Brandi Castaneda, Pocomoke High School

Brandi Castaneda believes in a world driven by digital influence: it is imperative that we encourage and teach students to become creators rather than consumers of technology. With a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Salisbury University and Masters of Education from the University of Phoenix, Mrs. Castaneda teaches computer science, digital arts & photography, yearbook and publications at Pocomoke High School. As field hockey coach, she has established a mentoring program for student athletes to guide and motivate younger students because she believes students should remain connected with youth to encourage perseverance and success while inspiring community connections.

Cook Anne

Anne Cook, Stephen Decatur Middle School

Anne Cook earned her BA from Salisbury University and holds a Master’s Equivalency. In her eleventh year of teaching, she currently instructs seventh-grade World Geography. Her passion for community engagement drives her instruction in and outside of the classroom. She is an advisor for Builders Club and recently launched an Equine program. She is a Service-Learning Fellow and member of the Ed Camp Delmarva Organizing Committee. Cook was Maryland History Day Teacher of the Year (2017) and received the Celebrating Innovation Award (2018). An active member of the community, Cook serves on the Board for the Ocean City Surf Club.

Custis Jessica

Jessica Custis, Pocomoke Middle School

Jessica Custis earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia and her Master of Teaching degree in Elementary Education from UVA’s Curry School of Education.  Jessica has taught for twenty years and is currently in her tenth year at Pocomoke Middle School. She serves as the fourth grade team leader, teaches in the after school program, and serves as a mentor teacher.  Jessica strives to help her students build a conceptual understanding of mathematics through movement and hands-on learning. She holds high expectations for her students, while building positive relationships and fostering a love of learning.

Dashiell Lavonya

Lavonya Dashiell, Pocomoke Elementary School

Lavonya Dashiell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University and a Masters of Education in School Leadership from Wilmington University.  Dashiell is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University.  This is her eighteenth year at Pocomoke Elementary School, currently as a first grade teacher.  She believes that in a nurturing and caring environment all students can grow and become successful.  Dashiell has also served as a mentor teacher to university interns and co-advisor to the Kiwanis Kids After-School Academy. 

Johnson Zachary

Zachary Johnson, Cedar Chapel Special School

New Jersey native, Zachary Johnson spent his undergraduate education studying Theater, Music, Professional, and Creative Writing. After migrating to the oasis of Ocean City, Maryland, he substitute taught in Wicomico and Worcester Counties, served as an educational assistant, classroom teacher, and he is now lucky enough to educate students through Adapted Physical Education in his tenth year at Cedar Chapel Special School. He coaches the school’s basketball and soccer clubs, helps choreograph music performances, and practices sound therapy. Zachary’s most treasured moments are with his family, but also enjoys playing music, skateboarding, and surfing. He takes having fun very seriously. 

Rankin Angela

Angela Rankin, Showell Elementary School

Angela Rankin graduated from Salisbury University earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, also through Salisbury University. Angela is in her sixth year of teaching first grade at Showell Elementary and has three children in Worcester County schools. She believes in providing a quality classroom where all students feel safe, valued and free to make mistakes from with they learn and grow academically, emotionally and socially. She is Showell’s teacher champion, yearbook coordinator and mentor to new teachers. Angela is a warm, accessible, loving and enthusiastic teacher. 

Russell Gina

Gina Russell, Snow Hill Elementary School

Gina Russell, earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Salisbury University and a Masters of Special Education from Wilmington University.  In her eighth year at Snow Hill Elementary School, Russell currently teaches the new Pre- K 3 inclusion classroom and services Pre-K 4 students in the afternoon.  She believes every student has the right to an appropriate education; one that inspires all students to communicate, grow, feel safe, and have a voice.  Russell serves as the team leader for Special Education, a mentor teacher for Salisbury University interns, and evaluates for the Infants and Toddlers team in the summer. 

Shockley Heather

Heather Shockley, Snow Hill Middle School

Heather Shockley earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Salisbury University, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In her eleventh year of teaching visual art she inspires students, grades four through eight, at Snow Hill Middle. Art is a universal platform for all to learn and Shockley works tirelessly to build positive relationships that fosters rich discussion and creativity. She is a team leader, a member of the School Improvement team, a yearbook advisor, advisor for the National Junior Arts honor Society, and an artist. 

Smith Sharon

Sharon Smith, Stephen Decatur High School

Sharon Smith graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. After two years gaining experience in industry, she began a career in education in a charter school in Florida. Upon returning to Worcester County in 2003, she enrolled and graduated with a Masters in the Art of Teaching degree. She has been in the science department at Stephen Decatur High School since 2004. She strives to reach every student’s passion and is invested in building trust to motivate them to excel.  Her efforts continue with curriculum planning, Star Student Committee, and Adult Education Program in the community.

Spicer Jennifer

Jennifer Spicer, Ocean City Elementary School

Jennifer Spicer is committed to providing all students with a strong educational foundation for a lifetime of learning. With a great passion for teaching, Spicer works hard to ensure that all students feel cared for and understand their full potential which will help guide their future. She received her teaching licensure from Salisbury University, as well as a Master’s degree in Applied Technology from Wilmington University.  After three years as a Kindergarten teacher at Ocean City Elementary School, she has now transitioned to third grade, where she works with a group of amazing and creative teachers.

Stephens Richard

Richard Stephens, Worcester Technical High School

Richard Stephens graduated from Snow Hill High School. This is his 35th year teaching welding along with computer-integrated manufacturing at Worcester Technical High School. Rick believes in focusing on individual needs, and involving students in the process of their learning. As a teacher, he strives to adapt to the learning styles of each student. In his 18th year as the SkillsUSA lead advisor at Worcester Tech, he has increased the student membership from 80 members to over 350 members. For the past 9 years, Rick has served on the SkillsUSA Maryland Board of Directors and is the current chair. 

Streebig Ashley
Ashley Streebig, Snow Hill High School

Ashley Streebig earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Masters in teaching secondary science education from Salisbury University.  She is currently in her 10th year of teaching at Snow Hill High School, where she teaches Biology, Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science.  She prides herself in fostering ownership of learning as well as challenging her students to make real world connections to science.  She has served a vital role in her department planning PLC; founder of the GREEN Eagles club and is a Science Teacher Leader at the county level. 


Congratulations to Karen Holland,
Our 2018 Worcester County Teacher of the Year

At the April 6 banquet, Worcester County Public Schools proudly announced that Karen Holland, a special education teacher at Cedar Chapel Special School, is the 2018 Worcester County Teacher of the Year. 

Ms. Holland will now go on to compete at the state level, where she and representatives from the 23 other school systems across Maryland will vie for the title of Maryland Teacher of the Year for 2019.

"Once again, I am awed at the level of excellence demonstrated by this year’s cohort of Teacher of the Year candidates. I know I speak on behalf of the entire school system when I say how proud we are to have Karen serve as the 31st Worcester County Teacher of the Year," Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor said. "When you enter her classroom at Cedar Chapel Special School, it is an environment of joy and positivity that is unparalleled. Her work in helping to build the communication and life skills for students with severe cognitive disabilities is truly making a difference, which is why she will make a fantastic ambassador for Worcester County Public Schools in the state level program."

Karen Holland PortraitKaren Holland graduated from Stephen Decatur HighSchool, attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Wilmington University, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education and a Masters of Education in Elementary School Counseling. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix. Holland believes that building a positive relationship is key to awakening students' potential. At the core of every instructional experience is her high expectations and never-ending push to move students forward by modeling a positive perspective with the entire learning community. She is a member of the Worcester County Education Foundation.

Experience the Celebration!
Watch the livestream video of the announcement, commendations and Ms. Holland's acceptance speech below:

Learn more about all of our fantastic nominees in our 2018 Teacher of the Year video below.