Congratulations to Honorees from February 2018 Awards Night!
Outstanding Students, Staff, Schools Honored at Feb. 27 Board of Education’s Awards & Recognitions Night for Wicomico County Public Schools
Posted on 03/02/2018
Congratulations to the outstanding students, educators and schools recognized at the Feb. 27 Board of Education Awards & Recognitions Night held at James M. Bennett Auditorium. Board members, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, and Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer Frederick Briggs enjoyed celebrating their achievements with families and the community. Please read on to learn more about these success stories. Photos will be posted on the school system’s website ( and Facebook page (

Cyber Safety Poster Contest

This school year, 1,250 Wicomico fourth-graders participated in the school system’s annual Cyber Safety Awareness Month. Students at each school attended a multimedia presentation by school counselors and student advisors on the importance of being cyber safe. They took home information for their parents, and received a Be Cyber Safe wristband once they signed and returned the Pinky Pledge to be cyber safe. The fourth graders were invited to participate in a Cyber Safety Poster Contest to reinforce the message of staying safe online. Gift cards and certificates of recognition for the winners of the Cyber Safety Poster Contest:

1st place and a $100 gift card: MaKenzie Gains, Delmar Elementary

2nd place and a $50 gift card: Stephanie Flores-Cruz, Pittsville Elementary

3rd place and a $25 gift card: Cali Holley, Westside Intermediate


FIRST LEGO League Tournament Winners

As part of Wicomico County’s STEM Initiative – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics -- Wicomico hosted its 9th annual regional FIRST LEGO League tournament in January. This event included Lego-building challenges for younger students, a robotics workshop, the Jr. FIRST LEGO League Tournament, and the FIRST LEGO League team tournament. Certificates of recognition to the teams from Wicomico Schools that were tournament winners.


Jr. FIRST LEGO League Primary Division (tie for 1st Place):

Fruitland Primary Aqua Divers: Jackson Dellies, Alex Swift, Logan Charlton, Paxton Green, Gideon Sheats, Christopher Koerner, Leo Darrigo, coaches Linda Dashiell and Brian Swift

Westside Primary Water Leaders: Genevieve Bailey, Tavon Lyons, Nathan Swift, Matthew Hernandez, Gracie Salmon, Noah Corbin, coach Nicole Williams


Jr. FIRST LEGO League Intermediate/Elementary Division

1st Place:  Westside Intermediate Westside Fishermen: Aiden Kerfoot, Roger Webster, Wyatt Webster, Andy Campbell, coaches Rick Kerfoot and Michelle Boothe


FIRST LEGO League Middle School Division:

Bennett Middle School Water Builders, 2nd Place in Project Design: Caleb Bradley, William Creese, Jacob Donalds, Gavin Humphrey, Tommy Jones, Matthew Joseph, Andrew Kim, Asher Ortiz, Tyler Staffeldt, coach Sarah Dudas

Bennett Middle School Liquid Lightning, 2nd Place in Core Values and 2nd Place in Robot Performance: Jordan Rinaldi, Drake Swanger, John-Michael Schmuff, Ryan Ondo, Miguel Gonzalez, William Fykes, Allie Jimmerson, Ahmed Elabashir, Alexander Chow, coach James McCrobie


Recertification for National Board Certified Teachers

Wicomico County Public Schools is fortunate to have a number of nationally certified teachers working on behalf of students. Teachers who successfully complete the rigorous process of obtaining National Board Certification are certified for 10 years, and can then seek recertification. Certificates of recognition for these National Board Certified teachers who were recertified in 2017. They will hold this prestigious credential for another 10 years.

Don Abbatiello, Mardela Middle and High

Ronna Bievenour, Parkside High CTE

Kristen Briggs, Elementary Thinking and Doing (TAD) Program

Jessica Carter, Westside Primary

Tracy Hayes, Delmar Elementary

Kelly Kaiser, Fruitland Intermediate

Dr. Bettina Postles, Wicomico Middle


Maryland Council on Economic Education Stock Market Game

The Maryland Council on Economic Education sponsors an annual online Stock Market Game for student teams that teaches about the stock markets, the American economic system, and the global economy. This year, 470 teams from elementary through high school competed in Maryland. Fourth graders at North Salisbury Elementary School participated in the Fall Stock Market Game, and this team received certificates of recognition for finishing 1st in the region:

North Salisbury’s Cash Stackers team: Abigail Saulitis, Sapna Khandke, Bella Thompsen, Curtis Broadwater, Ben West, teacher Jill Adams


2017-2018 Kids Helping Kids Campaign

Maryland's annual Kids Helping Kids Campaign provides students with the opportunity to learn about the problem of hunger while collecting food for their local food bank. In Wicomico County, Fruitland Primary School was the Kids Helping Kids top achiever with 2,004 pounds of food donations. Later this school year, Fruitland Primary will be honored and will receive books at the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore in a closing ceremony for the campaign. Certificates of recognition to Fruitland Primary School’s campaign coordinator, guidance counselor Diane Washington-White, and to Principal Dave Harris and Assistant Principal Kaimais Love on behalf of the entire school for being Wicomico County's Top Collector in Maryland's 2017-2018 Kids Helping Kids Campaign Food and Fund Drive.


2018 Shorebirds Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest

The Delmarva Shorebirds’ Hit the Books program encourages elementary and middle school students on the Delmarva Peninsula to read outside of their regular classroom assignments. Students who complete their reading goals receive two free ticket vouchers to a Shorebirds home game during the 2018 season. The Delmarva Shorebirds, along with program sponsor Dr. James M. Crouse at The Brace Place, honored Mardela Middle School student Emma Adams for winning the 2018 Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest. Her design with an aerial view of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium was featured on bookmarks distributed to more than 50,000 students at 100 area schools. Certificate of recognition for Emma for winning this design contest. Watch for her on the field later this spring, when she will throw out a first pitch before her school's Hit the Books date at Perdue Stadium.


AMC 8 Math Competition

The AMC 8 Math Competition is a national middle school competition sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. This year, 185 students participated in a regional competition held at Salisbury University. They took a 25-question, 40-minute examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. Congratulations to these Salisbury Middle School students who were winners in the AMC 8 Mathematics Competition:

1st Place and overall AMC 8 winner: Rosy Gao, certificate of achievement

2nd Place: Liam Hornstein

Tied for 3rd Place: Hannah Kim, Ryan Selser, Hannah Park


International Ocean Discovery Program School of Rock

Certificates of recognition for Salisbury Middle School first-year science teacher David Hansen and Salisbury University Geosciences Professor Dr. Tom Cawthern for their participation as a team in the International Ocean Discovery Program’s School of Rock mission. The International Ocean Discovery Program is a multination marine research collaboration that holds a floating School of Rock to explore Earth's history and dynamics from the only deep-sea drilling research vessel in the world, the JOIDES Resolution. The local team of Hansen and Dr. Cawthern was one of only five American teams accepted into the School of Rock. On their three-week tour of duty from the Philippines to Australia, they analyzed core samples to learn more about the earth’s history and climate change, and shared those findings with science teachers across the Eastern Shore.


2018 National Science Teacher Association Maitland P. Simmons Award for New Teachers

Certificate of recognition for Salisbury Middle’s David Hansen for receiving the National Science Teachers Association’s Maitland P. Simmons Award for New Teachers. The award recognizes outstanding early-career science teachers who demonstrate the initiative and dedication necessary to develop into teacher-leaders in the field of science education. For the second year in a row, Wicomico County Public Schools has a teacher selected to receive this honor. Hansen is an 8th grade Science teacher at Salisbury Middle. The Simmons Award will provide Mr. Hansen with mentoring, professional development, and opportunities for meaningful involvement in the NSTA and a trip to Atlanta to attend the annual NSTA Professional Development Conference next month.


Salisbury Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest

Certificate of achievement for Johnnie Watkins of Bennett Middle School for being the 1st Place winner in the 2017-2018 Salisbury Lions Club Peace Poster Contest, and advancing to the district level. Each year, Lions Clubs International sponsors an International Peace Poster Contest to emphasize the importance of world peace to young people everywhere. The local contest is sponsored by the Salisbury Lions Club, and students of Bennett Middle art teacher Dawn Littleton submitted some wonderful work. Johnnie’s work was selected as the local winner for originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme, “The Future of Peace.”


MSEA Community Involvement Award

Certificate of recognition for Mr. Craig Mitchell, an instructional assistant at Bennett Middle School, for receiving the Maryland State Education Association’s 2018 Community Involvement Award. The award is one of five minority recognition awards established by the Maryland State Education Association. Mr. Mitchell was nominated for the prestigious award by the Wicomico County Education Association, of which he is a member. In addition to assisting students, Mr. Mitchell helps students with their studies during the school day, mentors them to achieve greater success, and after school, he assists students with rigorous track and field training. His consistent leadership and loyalty to public education represent the positive power of public education and educators in Wicomico County.


Maryland Gifted and Talented Education Awards

February is Gifted and Talented Education Month in Maryland, and we are proud to recognize a student, three teachers and a supervisor honored at Maryland’s annual celebration of excellence in Gifted and Talented Education on February 21st in Glen Burnie.

Outstanding Gifted and Talented Student Accomplishment: Alison Sahler, James M. Bennett High School. Alison was one of 34 Maryland students honored, and the only high school student. Alison is a second-year vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program for students who are gifted and talented in the area of the arts. She was selected by audition as a member of the 2018 All State Senior Treble Chorus, and in 2017 received the highest rating of Superior in the Maryland State Solo and Ensemble Festival. Alison is an AP Scholar who has excelled academically while taking classes at four different high schools, Wor-Wic Community College and Salisbury University.

Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education, Teachers as Leaders:

Mrs. Laura Black, Grade 4 Magnet Teacher, North Salisbury Elementary. Ms. Black has been teaching Gifted and Talented students for seven years, and she is a leader for her school in the integration of instructional technology and programs like Class DoJo and Edmodo. She was selected for the school system’s Innovative Design Cohort. In this 3-year program, she received a class set of laptops, attends PD, completes online PLC with others in the cohort, turns in artifacts completed by her students, and will eventually mentor others in the program in future years.

Mrs. Mildred Johnson, Grade 5 Magnet teacher, North Salisbury Elementary. Mrs. Johnson teaches science with an integrated approach that was STEM before STEM became an instructional practice in our schools. She makes time after school to mentor students with a passion for math or science. Four years ago, Mrs. Johnson began teaching her students coding and using scratch to create projects, and her students have won numerous awards, and encourages her students share their outstanding projects with other NSS students to foster even more opportunities.

Mrs. Kristen Briggs, teacher in the Thinking and Doing (TAD) Program. She serves intermediate students at North Salisbury Elementary, Pemberton Elementary, Pittsville Elementary and Willards Elementary. Mrs. Briggs has been instrumental in helping to shape and improve the current gifted program in Wicomico County by working with other TAD teachers to develop topical units that engage students and connect students to the community. She has also provided professional development countywide to help elementary teachers identify and support gifted learners. 

Outstanding Educator, Gifted and Talented Coordinator or System Leader:

Mrs. Lori Bock, Supervisor of Social Studies, for her dual role for seven years as the Supervisor of Gifted and Talented and Social Studies Supervisor. She worked diligently with schools, administrators, the community and parents to continually improve the programs and services for these students. She was instrumental in initiating a middle school Gifted and Talented TAD Program and in recognizing the need for early identification of Gifted and Talented students. With limited resources available for Gifted and Talented Education, she has supported teachers in seeking grants with which to expand offerings.


Optimist International Essay Contest

Certificates of recognition for the following winners, all from James M. Bennett High School, in this year’s Optimist International Essay Contest for the Optimist Club of Salisbury:

1st Place: Samantha Wiersberg

2nd Place: Maddi MacDougall

3rd Place: Jun Seok Lee

High school students were invited to participate in the Optimist International Essay Contest to develop their own views around the theme of “Can Society Function Without Respect?” Students attended an Optimist Club of Salisbury dinner where they read their essays aloud and received cash awards.


Girl Scout Gold Award

Certificate of achievement for independent Girl Scout Samantha Wiersberg of James M. Bennett High School for receiving her Girl Scout Gold Award at the January On My Honor Ceremony for the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay. For Girl Scouts, the Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors can earn. This is an honor a Girl Scout works very hard to earn, and one she will hold for life. For her Gold Award, Samantha started the Sign Language Service Club at James M. Bennett High School. She worked with community organizations and advocated for sign language instruction in Wicomico County Schools.


MAEA District Recognition for New Middle School Teacher

Certificate of achievement for Ms. Amy Gilland of Pittsville Elementary and Middle for being honored by the Maryland Arts Education Association as District Teacher of the Year, New Middle School Teacher. She was formally recognized at the MAEA Awards Ceremony in November at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. In his recommendation letter for the award, Pittsville Principal Michael Cody wrote this: “Miss Gilland is an outstanding educator of art. She understands the ability levels of her students, and finds innovative ways to gain the attention of her students through rigorous and engaging lessons.”


2018 All State Music Ensembles

Certificates of achievement for the five students who were chosen for the 2018 Maryland All State Musical Performing Groups. These students have proven themselves to be among the best in the state, and were selected by audition from among thousands of candidates. The All State performances will be at the March conference of the Maryland Music Educators Association.

From James M. Bennett High School, Megan Centineo, Choral Director:

Alison Sahler, 12th grade, soprano I, All State Senior Treble Chorus. Alison is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Christina Sun, 12th grade, alto, All State Senior Mixed Chorus. This is Christina’s second All State Chorus selection.

From Mardela High School, Cory Boltz, Band Director:

Hunter Wirt, 11th grade, percussion, All State Senior Band. Hunter is an instrumental student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program. This is his second All State recognition.

From Parkside High School, Kevin Zaczkiewicz, Band Director:

Allyson Morris, 12th grade, French horn, All State Senior Band. Allyson is an instrumental student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.

From Wicomico High School, Stephen Harvey, Choral Director:

Alethea-Jade Coffey,12th grade, alto, All State Senior Treble Chorus. Alethea-Jade is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.


West Virginia University Honors Band

This month, five Wicomico students performed with the West Virginia University Honor Band after being nominated by their band instructors. The West Virginia University Invitational High School Honor Band is a challenging and fulfilling three-day event for high school band students. Students rehearse throughout the three days of the clinic and present a final performance. They also have the opportunity to participate in master classes offered by WVU School of Music faculty. Certificates of recognition for students selected to the West Virginia University Honors Band in Morgantown:

From Mardela High, Director Cory Boltz:

Hunter Wirt, 11th Grade, percussion. Hunter was 1st chair percussion for the top band for the third straight year.

From Parkside High, Director Kevin Zackiewicz:

Gracie Perry, 11th Grade, clarinet, top band

Sara Sadjadi, 9th Grade, flute, top band

Maggie Harkins, 9th Grade, French horn

Hayleigh Turner, 11th Grade, euphonium