A 20-year teaching veteran has been named the 2017-2018 Caroline County Teacher of the Year. Jennifer Gunter, who has taught at Greensboro Elementary School for 14 years, was named Teacher of the Year during a reception held April 24 at the Caroline County Public Library in Denton.
Gunter has a Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Wesley College. She started her teaching career in 1997 with Charles County Public Schools and came to Caroline County in 2003.
"Jennifer Gunter is passionate about helping her students develop a love of learning and is driven to help them overcome barriers that may impact their learning," wrote the person who nominated Gunter.
Gunter has taught in various classroom settings including as a co-teacher in a special education classroom and as a co-teacher with an ELL teacher. She has served on various school improvement teams, has acted as a team leader, worked as a STEM coach and as a cooperating teacher for future educators. She has also participated in two grant programs while teaching, one being the Teaching American History Roots of a Nation grant and the other is the NOAA-B grant, which investigated how human activities have altered the ecosystem of the Choptank River over time.
Gunter was one of just nine outstanding educators nominated for the Teacher of the Year recognition. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Saelens said any of the nine nominees would represent Caroline County well at the state level.
"We thank you for taking the time to celebrate with us, you are just a few of the great teachers that make your whole profession look good," said James Newcomb Jr., Caroline County Board of Education President.
The other nominees are (pictured left to right): Rachel Shelly, seventh grade science teacher at Lockerman Middle; Shawn Parks, eighth grade English teacher at Lockerman Middle; Cathy Heinsohn, a first grade teacher at Ridgely Elementary; Gunter; Jessica Gernert, a second grade teacher at Greensboro Elementary; Jodi Callahan, CASE animal instructor at Caroline Career and Technology Center; Amy Bauman, a third grade teacher at Denton Elementary; Jared Sherman, a United States history teacher at Colonel Richardson High and Miranda Stutzman, a third grade teacher at Greensboro Elementary.
Marcia Porter, the 2016-2017 Caroline County Teacher of the Year, said the Teacher of the Year reception and recognition program is really nice and thanked the school system for taking the time and effort to recognize teachers in this way. She said the new teacher of the year needs to look forward to the year ahead and all the experiences that come with the honor. "Do everything and do all of it," Porter said. She said all the activities from going crabbing on Smith Island to meeting with the other teachers of the year from across the state, to meeting with legislators is incredible.
This year the Teacher of the Year celebration was held at the Denton branch of the Caroline County Public Library to accommodate more people. The reception was sponsored in part by Johnson Controls, Shore Gourmet and Walmart.
Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Milton Nagel said thanks to the business partners, the school system has been able to grow the excitement of the Teacher of the Year program.
In addition to the nominees, their families and co-workers, former Teachers of the Year were in attendance. Those who came were: Victoria McConnell, 1999; Mary Ruth Higgs, 2002; Christine Fortner, 2006; Tamra Baurys, 2007; Lindsey McCormick 2008; Missy McFayden, 2009; Janna Michaluk, 2011; Cheri Nier, 2012; Katherine Bridwell, 2014 and Chad Shelly, 2015.