2003-04 Annual Report - Harford County Public Schools



2003-04 Annual Report - Harford County Public Schools
Harford County Public Schools
2003-2004 Annual Report
Success Stories
45 East Gordon St.
Bel Air, MD 21014
Stories of interest:
• Page 3 - Funds wisely spent
• Page 4 - Hiring /retention success
• Page 5/6 - Academic success
• Page 7/8 - Highlights of ‘03 - ’04
• Page 13/14 - “Hall” Class of ‘03 - ’04
• Page 15/16 - Teachers/principals shine
• Page 21 - Hayden is ‘04 - ’05 TOY
• Page 22 - Schmidt/Nuzman honored
• Page 25 - EES pair light Ntl. Tree
Published by Harford
County Public Schools
in partnership with
Homestead Publishing
Marketing Department
and HarCo Maryland
Federal Credit Union.
Success is name of game in Harford County Public Schools
HCPS Master Plan
Goal #1
• Ensure a positive school climate that fosters an environment wherein teachers
can teach and students can learn.
- analyze school climate survey results
- eliminate factors that contribute to negative school climate
• Establish safe and secure school buildings to maximize student learning
- identify specific school security breaches
- provide drug awareness and prevention strategies
• Maintain, renovate, modernize, and construct school system facilitators
- construct additional capacity space to relieve overcrowding
- enhance school facilities with modern building systems
- develop enhancements to reduce air quality and water quality conditions in our
Goal #2
• Eliminate the achievement gap for:
- economically disadvantaged students
- students from major racial and ethnic groups
- students with disabilities
- students with limited English proficiency (LEP)
• Ensure academic rigor and challenging coursework for all students
- design and implement program evaluation models
- align the existing organizational structure to support student achievement
- enhance post-high school preparation of all secondary students
• Increase parent and business involvement to support achievement
- introduce school improvement teams to the integrated management process
to improve student achievement
Goal #3
• Technology:
- provide universal access to technology by integrating technology seamlessly
into instruction
- improve administrative function and operational processes utilizing effective
• Fiscal Management:
- enhance fiscal credibility of school system with Board, County, and State
authorities and taxpayers
- incorporate integrated management process in performance of school
administrators’/supervisors’ duties
• Communication:
- provide public with information on the successes of students, staff, and
- expand collaborations with business community and families
When I begin to think about the “success stories” involving the
Harford County Public Schools, I barely know where to begin. We
are fortunate to have some of the finest staff members, some of the
finest students, and some of the finest families as part of our school
system that can be found anywhere.
Each day, teachers work small and large miracles in their classrooms as they communicate the magic of education. But, the
process begins long before students set foot in the classroom.
Parents are the first and most important teachers. From the
Planning and Construction employees who put the dream of
facilities into reality, to the Facilities Management crews and custodians that keep the buildings clean and functioning well, to the
bus drivers who are the first to greet our students each morning
and the last experience they have at the end of the day – the
“success story” of the Harford County Public Schools is truly a
team effort.
Jacqueline C. Haas,
Superintendent of Schools
Food Service workers, paraeducators, secretaries, counselors,
school administrators and all the others who interact with students every day have their role to play.
And, I’m pleased to report, in the vast majority of cases, that interaction between adult and student is
very positive.
How else do you explain a school system, though relatively limited in the amount of funding made
available to it, soaring near the top of Maryland’s high achievers in terms of student success on any
measure the public would care to observe? Elsewhere, on these pages, you will read about taxpayers’ money well spent on programs and services that bring impressive results in student achievement.
We are fortunate to have a Board of Education that truly cares about the students and employees
it serves. Willing to stand up and make the tough decisions while working diligently with any and
every constituent group, this Board has a single-minded purpose of doing whatever it takes to create more opportunities for student achievement.
You’ll get a chance to glimpse what I see every day as I go about the privilege of serving as superintendent of your schools. You will see students and employees who go above and beyond what is
expected of them; who reach for the brass ring of success together. You’ll read about programs that
have achieved unprecedented success and individuals – students and adults – who have been recognized regionally and nationally as being at the very top of their chosen areas.
Yet, our greatest achievement is our philosophy of continuous improvement - how can we serve better those students who need more?
With one of the lowest teacher turnover rates in the Baltimore metropolitan area, a graduation rate
well above the state average, and test scores that not only meet and exceed state standards but touch
the very top of the Maryland scale, we can all be proud of the “success stories” that make being a
member of the Harford County Public Schools a proud place to be.
I hope you enjoy this report to our stockholders – the citizens of Harford County.
Jacqueline C. Haas, Superintendent of Schools
Harford County is a community of learn- The mission of the Harford County Public Schools
ers where educating everyone takes is to foster a quality educational system that chaleveryone. We empower all students to lenges students to develop knowledge and skills,
contribute to a diverse, democratic, and and inspires them to become life-long learners
change-oriented society. Our public and good citizens.
schools, parents, public officials, businesses, community organizations, and Goals
• Recruit and retain highly qualified employees in the HCPS System
citizens actively commit to educate all 1. Ensure a safe, positive learning environment
- increase the pool of qualified applicants and retain employees
for students and staff in our schools.
students to become caring, respectful,
• Identify and implement programs to assist all employees to enhance their skills and responsible citizens.
2. Improve student achievement with a focus on
in a changing educational work environment
closing the minority achievement gap.
- ensure that the staff meet the ‘No Child Left Behind’ requirements
3. Ensure the effective use of all resources
HCPS Board of Education
focusing on the areas of technology, fiscal and
- increase understanding of diversity and cross-cultural communication
Robert B. Thomas, Jr., President
budgetary management, and community partamong all employees
R. Robin Rich, Vice President
• Employ a diverse workforce
Thomas L. Fidler, Jr.
4. Understanding that all employees contribute
- establish community support for recruitment/retention of minority candidates
Patrick L. Hess
to the learning environment, we will maintain a
- implement the Affirmative Action Plan
Lee Merrell
highly qualified workforce.
- increase the number of minority professionals in positions of leadership
Salina M. Pleasant-Grice
Mark M. Wolkow
The Harford County Public School System does not discriminate on
Cover: Brittney Mattingly, a 12-year-old, seventh grader at Magnolia Middle Jacqueline C. Haas, Superintendent,
the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual oriSchool, has her homework reviewed by the co-founder of Copley Kids Barbara
entation, or disability in matters affecting employment or in providBarmer. Mrs. Barmer, an English/Language Arts teacher at Magnolia Middle Kathryn L. Smith, Student Representative
ing access to programs. Inquiries related to the policies of the Board
of Education of Harford County should be directed to the Director
School, and her husband, Josh (in background) have been the driving force
of Public Information, 410-588-5203.
behind the ten-year program held in the Copley Church of the Ressurection Parish
in Joppatowne. See story on page 9.
Don Morrison, Editor • MacKenzie Cather, Publication Design
Goal #4
State & County Capital HCPS Projects for 2003 - 2004
The Harford County Public Schools spent more
than a third of a billion dollars in the 2003-2004
school year to provide educational services to the
more than 40,000 students who were enrolled in the
school system. Included in that amount was more
than $22 million spent on school projects including
planning for the new Patterson Mill Middle/High
School, the Aberdeen High School Science/Math
Academy, the final phase of the new Aberdeen
High, and the first phase of the North Harford High
School modernization. Seven of ten dollars spent
on the operation of the schools was devoted to
salaries for the almost 5,000 people who work in the
school system. The lion's share of school funding
for operations came either from the County (53 percent) or the State (46 percent).
Project Description
Relocatable Classrooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$16,000 . . . . . . . .$16,000 . . . . . . $365,500
Patterson Mill Middle/High School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . 2,153,696
Capacity Projects (SMS, CMWHS)(1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . 890,000
Aberdeen Science & Math Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . .975,000 . . . . . . . .958,000 . . . . . . . 525,000
Full Day Kindergarten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . 1,100,000
Aberdeen Replacement School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . 2,775,280
North Harford H.S. Modernization . . . . . . . . . . . . .2,594,000 . . . . . .2,594,000 . . . . . . 3,553,490
Aberdeen North Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . 450,000
HVAC Replacement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,788,000 . . . . . .1,788,000 . . . . . . . 962,500
Roofing Replacement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .274,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . 147,350
NHMS Wastewater Treatment Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . 50,000
Fire Alarm Repair/Replacement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75,000
Environmental Compliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319,440
Equipment & Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100,000
Technology Infrastructure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,760,000
Student Information System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Athletic Fields Repair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,000
Technology Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,000
Central Office Admin Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,000
Maintenance Replacement Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135,000
Replacement Buses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . 930,000
. . . . . . .$365,500
. . . . . .2,153,696
. . . . . . . .340,000
. . . . . . . .525,000
. . . . . .1,100,000
. . . . . .2,775,280
. . . . . .4,292,348
. . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . . . . .962,500
. . . . . . . .147,350
. . . . . . . . .50,000
. . . . . . . . .75,000
. . . . . . . .319,440
. . . . . . . .100,000
. . . . . .2,364,890
. . . . . . . .300,000
. . . . . . . . .18,000
. . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . . . . .135,000
. . . . . . . .975,000
Total Capital Funds for FY 2003
FY 2004
FY 2004
. . . . . .$381,500 . . . . . . .$381,500
. . . . .2,153,696 . . . . . . .2,153,696
. . . . . . .890,000 . . . . . . . .340,000
. . . . .1,500,000 . . . . . . .1,483,000
. . . . .1,100,000 . . . . . . .1,100,000
. . . . .2,775,280 . . . . . . .2.775,280
. . . . .6,147,490 . . . . . . .6,886,348
. . . . . . .450,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . .2,750,500 . . . . . . .2,750,500
. . . . . . .421,350 . . . . . . . .147,350
. . . . . . . .50,000 . . . . . . . . .50,000
. . . . . . . .75,000 . . . . . . . . .75,000
. . . . . . .319,440 . . . . . . . .319,440
. . . . . . .100,000 . . . . . . . .100,000
. . . . .2,760,000 . . . . . . .2,364,890
. . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . . .300,000
. . . . . . . .18,000 . . . . . . . . .18,000
. . . . . . . .50,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . . . . .50,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
. . . . . . .135,000 . . . . . . . .135,000
. . . . . . .930,000 . . . . . . . .975,000
HCPS spent $360 million on education
Ranking of Maryland Public Schools by Cost Per Pupil
FY 2002-2003*
Total Cost Per Pupil
23 Districts Spend More Per Pupil Than HCPS
22 Spend More
Mid-Level Admin.
22 Spend More
Instructional Wages
22 Spend More
Textbooks/Instr. Supplies
Special Education
Student Personnel Services
Financial Data
21 Spend More
22 Spend More
16 Spend More
Student Transportation
16 Spend More
21 Spend More
8 Spend More
Maintenance of Plant
14 Spend More
Fixed Charges
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
3 2
*Most recent figures available
FY 2004 Actual Expenditures
Support Services &
Fixed Charges
Operations &
Maintenance of
Education Services to the Student
FY 2004 Actual Revenues
Fund Balance
All other revenue
Year Ended June 30, 2004
23 Spend More
Health Services
Operation of Plant
HCPS Operating Budget
18 Spend More
Other Instructional Costs
Per Student Expenditure at bottom of state’s list
Local Sources
$148,150,510 $
State Sources
Federal Sources
Special State and Federal Programs
School Activity Receipts
Capital Outlay
Construction Fund Revenue
Food Service Income
Other (Interest, Tuition, and Fees)
Administrative Services
Mid-Level Administration
Instructional Salaries
Instructional Textbooks & Classroom
Other Instructional Costs
Student Personnel Services
Student Health Services
Student Transportation Services
Operation of Plant
Maintenance of Plant and Equipment
Fixed Charges
Special Education
Capital Outlay
Food Services
Student Body Activities
School Construction
Community Services
Excess (deficiency) of revenues over
$6,351,802 $
$20,598,713 $338,422,435
$20,698,713 $337,024,240
Operating transfer to school
construction fund
Fund Balance, July 1, 2003
Fund Balance, June 30, 2004
Fund Balance Designated for FY 2005
Undesignated Fund Balance
June 30, 2004
$1,621,101 $
Successful hiring/retention continue to mark Harford schools
One of the goals of the Harford County Public School System is to maintain a highly qualified workforce
throughout the system. Leading up to the 2004-05 school year, the system hired 263 new teachers, but
almost half – 42 percent – came to the school system with at least one year of experience. Forty-four percent were at least 27 years of age and 35 percent had at least a master’s degree when they were hired.
CONNECTION - Christine Roland connects with one of
her Biology students at Edgewood High School.
For a second consecutive year, the number of teacher applications was up in the 2003-04 recruiting period, reaching 2,383 total applicants compared to a recent historical low of 1,258 in the 1999-2000 recruiting period. According to the Harford County Public School Human Resources Office, much of the increase
in applications (858 over the last two years) was traceable to additional recruitment efforts and more college/university visitations over the last few years. The office said that a significant number of the new applications are being submitted by non-certified candidates who are not considered for positions with the
Harford County Public School System.
The report, given to the Board of Education of Harford County during its November 8, 2004 meeting,
showed that the number of teacher candidates continues to decline in the critical areas of mathematics,
special education, speech pathology, school psychology, family and consumer science, technology education, and several areas of science.
The 2004 recruitment schedule included 72 visits to college/university job fairs/consortiums and
college/university visits to states as far away as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, North
Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee; in addition to Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Nineteen of the 72 visits were to historically black colleges and universities. Recruitment and employment
of African-American teachers continues to be a highly competitive venture throughout the nation. Twentysix African-American teachers were employed for this school year.
Approximately half of the newly hired teachers graduated from non-Maryland colleges and universities.
System-wide and school initiatives continue to support new teachers in the local schools. The HCPS
turnover percentage continues to be among the lowest in the region with just 7.6 percent of the local teaching staff leaving during or after the 2003-04 school year. Only Frederick, where 7.3 percent of that teaching force left, was the turnover rate lower than Harford’s among school systems in the Baltimore metropolitan area and Cecil County. Almost a third of those leaving the Harford schools did so because of retirement. Another 47 percent of those leaving (103) did so after having taught here for four or less years.
About three-fourths of the new teachers employed were female, continuing the percentage of female to
males in the teaching ranks of the Harford County Public Schools.
Number of Applications
Number of Teachers Hired
Characteristics of New Teachers
Characteristics of New Teachers Age*
Characteristics of New Teachers
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-14 years
15+ years
*Hired for 2004-05 School Year
Harford shows significant
progress in statewide testing
Local student scores rise in all areas;
remain above statewide averages
High School Assessments
Most recent scores in both the Maryland School Assessments (MSA) and the High School Assessments (HSA) show
Harford County Public School students improved in every category compared to the previous year, and local scores
remain significantly higher than state averages.
English I
Part of the federally mandated No Child Left Behind testing program, all public schools in the nation are required to meet
Annual Measurable Outcomes (AMO) – or cut scores in the years leading up to 2013-14, in which all students must pass
the Reading and Math exams. In addition, a total of eight sub-groups – including all five of the identified ethnic groups,
special education, students in poverty, and those whose primary language is other than English, must meet the AMOs
established in order for a school or school system to be declared as having attained Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in
a school year.
High School Assessments
2002-2003 - 2003-2004
During the current year, five Harford County Public Schools – Aberdeen, Edgewood and North Harford middle schools;
and Aberdeen High School and the Alternative Education Center did not reach their AMOs in at least one of the subgroups; though each of those schools met their overall AMO.
English I
Government Algebra
This year’s eighth graders (or the Class of 2009) will be required to achieve a passing score on each of the English 10,
Biology, Government, and Algebra end-of-course exams in order to receive a Maryland diploma.
Maryland School Assessments
In the English exam given to Harford ninth graders last year, 61.1 percent achieved a passing score compared to 47 percent in 2002-03 (next year, the test will be moved to the tenth grade/English 10). In Biology, 70.1 percent of Harford
students passed in 2003-2004, compared to 59.4 percent the previous year. In Government, 71.9 percent of local ninth
graders achieved a passing score last year compared to 63.6 percent in 2002-03.
Grade 3
Grade 5
“We are pleased with the significant progress made by most of our students in the first two years of the MSA testing for
third, fifth, eighth, and tenth graders,” said Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas. “We know the cut scores will be raised
annually and we will be challenged to help all our students reach those milestones, but we are confident our young people will rise to the occasion.”
Meanwhile, in the state mandated High School Assessments in English, Biology, Government, and Algebra, the average
results of the mostly ninth and tenth graders who took the tests last year showed gains of as much as 14.1 percent. And,
the gap between the average Harford scores compared to those statewide widened in each of the test areas, increasing
to more than 11 percent in two of those areas.
In the MSA tests, taken by students in grades three through eight and grade ten last March, the average Harford scores
were as much as 12.8 percent above state averages for students in all 24 Maryland sub-divisions. More significantly, the
county’s 2004 average scores were measurably higher than those recorded by students in grades three, five, eight and
ten in 2003 (tests in grades four, six and seven were given for the first time in 2004).
Meanwhile, in the MSA testing, the total percentage of local third graders who achieved either a proficient or advanced
(passing) score in third grade reading grew from 70 percent in 2003 to 79.6 percent in 2004. Similarly, reading scores
for fifth graders improved from 78.5 percent to 78.6 percent in the same two years. Eighth grade reading scores for local
students went from 71.2 percent in 2002-03 to 72.2 percent in 2003-04. And, tenth grade reading results grew from 73.1
percent passing a year ago to 80.0 percent passing this past year.
Math scores grew by comparable scores, from 75.5 percent in third grade for the 2003 test to 81.1 percent in 2004; from
63.8 percent to 74.5 percent in fifth grade; and from 49.1 percent to 50.6 percent in eighth grade.
Maryland School Assessments
Grade 3
Grade 5
Grade 8
Maryland School Assessments
2002-2003 - 2003-2004
Maryland School Assessments
2002-2003 - 2003-2004
Grade 3
Grade 5
Grade 8
Grade 3
Grade 5
Grade 8
The Harford County Public School System was one of 15 school systems in Maryland
which made the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards for 2004, an October 25
release by the Maryland State Department of Education confirmed.
The Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires all schools, school systems, and
states to show that students are making AYP in reading, math, and one other measure.
In Maryland, student progress in reading and math is measured by the Maryland School
Assessment (MSA) or – for a small number of students with profound cognitive disabilities – the Alternate MSA (ALT-MSA). The state uses attendance rates for elementary and
middle schools and graduation rates for high schools as the other measure.
To meet AYP in Maryland, all students within a school, plus all eight student sub-groups
within that school (African-American, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic,
White, limited English proficiency, free and reduced price meal, and special education students) must reach the annual achievement targets in both reading and math.
In addition, each Maryland school must meet attendance and/or graduation criteria.
School systems must achieve both the attendance and the graduation targets. If a school
or school system does not meet all of the targets, it does not make AYP for that year under
the No Child Left Behind standards.
Schools, school systems, and states throughout the country have had particular difficulty
in meeting the special education targets, State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said.
Of the nine Maryland systems which did not make their AYP goals in 2004, five missed
on special education students alone, she said.
Under NCLB, school systems that do not make AYP for two consecutive years are considered to be “in need of improvement.” When that occurs, school systems must revise
their system-wide master plan in consultation with parents, school staff, and others within three months of being identified.
Among other things, the school system, through its master plan, must give special attention to professional development at struggling schools. The plan must
also incorporate research strategies designed to strengthen the system’s core academic program, address the specific academic problems of low-achieving students, and include strategies to promote effective parental involvement.
Dr. Grasmick pointed out, unlike most states, Maryland already has a master
plan program in place thanks to the Bridge to Excellence Act. It requires systemwide master plans for all 24 systems in exchange for the additional funding
appropriations by the General Assembly identified by the Thornton
Harford meets 2004 AYP
The systems in Maryland which did not make AYP in 2004 were Allegany, Cecil,
Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Somerset counties;
as well as Baltimore City. Only Baltimore City is currently in corrective action.
The remaining eight systems have been designated as school systems in
improvement. Systems may exit improvement or corrective action status by
meeting their AYP target two years in a row.
In addition, Maryland as a state system did not make AYP based on the overall
As No Child Left Behind continues to be phased in through the 2013-14 school
year, the annual targets will rise incrementally until 100 percent of students in all
test areas and in all sub-groups are required to meet standards.
issue where language can cause divisions
during their HELP Conference session
were Anthony Taylor, an Edgewood Middle
School 13-year-old eighth grader; Aaron
Brackins, also 13 and in the eighth grade at
Edgewood Middle; North Harford Middle
School 11-year-old sixth grader Rachel
Cocoros; and Bel Air Middle 13-year-old
VIRTUAL WORK - Sarah Thornton, a
eighth grader Stephen Albert. The conferseven-year-old second grader at
ence was held at Harford Community
Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary
School, uses a stylus to practice the
forming of the letter ‘t’ on a whiteboard used in Christine Baker’s class.
The images are transmitted to a laptop computer which can be used by
the teacher to reproduce the work or
add information.
Two-thirds of Harford schools received NCLB recognition
The Harford County Public School System received $92,097.32 as its share of the 2003
School Performance Recognition Awards through the Maryland State Department of
Education. Thirty of the 40 eligible Harford Public Schools (high schools were not eligible to receive funding) received awards of between $2,926.82 and $4,000 indicating the
school’s achievement and/or improvement among sub-groups. Another three of
Harford’s nine high schools received certificates indicating significant achievement.
The percentage of Harford Public Schools that received award funds and/or certificates
(66 percent) was well above the statewide percentage of those receiving similar recognition (40 percent), according to information released by the Maryland State Department
of Education on April 1st.
Schools identified to receive the grants were required to complete a form detailing how
they would use the money to further enhance student achievement.
Under the Federal No Child Left Behind (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
2001), states were to establish a program for making academic achievement awards to
recognize schools making significant steps toward achieving the goals of the act.
Achievement awards are related to the percentage of students achieving at least “proficient” levels on the reading and math Maryland School Assessment Tests, compared to
the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). Improvement Among Sub-groups is related
to how much a school has closed its gaps in sub-group performance while improving
from 2002 to 2003. In that category, 2003 MSA results among sub-groups such as
minorities, English Speakers of Other Languages, and Special Education, were compared to 2002 results in the final administration of the Maryland School Performance
Assessment Program (MSPAP).
Title I schools, which qualify for awards in either the achievement or closing sub-group
gap categories, received $4,000 grants while all others will net the $2.926.82 amount
(with the exception of this year’s Blue Ribbon Schools which will get the $4,000 amount).
In Harford County, the following schools received $2,926.82 each for achievement:
Abingdon Elementary, Bel Air Middle, Churchville Elementary, Emmorton Elementary,
Fallston Middle, Forest Hill Elementary, Forest Lakes Elementary, Fountain Green
Elementary, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary, Jarrettsville Elementary, Norrisville
Elementary, North Bend Elementary, North Harford Middle, Prospect Mill Elementary,
Southampton Middle, and William S. James Elementary.
The following schools netted that amount for improvement: Church Creek Elementary,
Darlington Elementary, Joppatowne Elementary, and Meadowvale Elementary.
Several schools received the grant amount for both achievement and improvement. In
Harford County, those schools are: Bel Air Elementary, Hickory Elementary, North
Harford Elementary, Ring Factory Elementary, and Youth’s Benefit Elementary.
In addition, four Harford County Public Schools in the Title 1 category received $4,000
each for improvement. Those schools are: Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary, Havre de
Grace Elementary, Magnolia Elementary, and William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary.
The three Harford County Public high schools that received certificates did so in the area
of achievement. Those schools are: C. Milton Wright High, Fallston High, and Harford
Technical High.
• Harford County Public School’s third, fifth, eighth, and tenth grade students who took the Maryland School
Assessments in March 2003 compiled average scores well ahead of the state average in both the reading and
mathematic portions of the test ranking from third to seventh among the state’s 24 sub-divisions in the tests.
• In the Maryland High School Assessments, given in January and May of 2003, the percentage of Harford
County Public School students passing the tests was 7.2 percent higher than the state in English; 10.4 percent
higher than the state in Algebra; 5.1 percent higher than the state in Biology; and 6 percent higher than the state
in Government.
• Former Board of Education member Eugene C. Chandler received both the Charles W. Willis Award and one
of Harford’s two Achievement Initiative for Maryland’s Minority Students Award. The Willis Award is presented to one Board member statewide each year who best exemplifies the role of a Board member at the local and
state level. Two Achievement Initiative for Maryland Minority Students awards are given in each of Maryland’s
24 sub-divisions.
• Ann Thu Phan, a junior at Harford Technical High School, was awarded one of Maryland’s ten Achievement
Initiative for Maryland’s Minority Students $500 scholarships. The awards note those students who have contributed significantly to the progress of minority, disabled, or low socioeconomic students in the state.
• Brian Folus, an instrumental music teacher at Fountain Green Elementary School, had his treatment of the 18th
century English Composer William Boyce’s Symphony #1 published in the summer of 2004 in the Alfred International
Catalog, one of the world’s most respected publications of band
and orchestral music for purchase by those who conduct musicians from elementary school to adults.
• Fran Plotycia, a second grade teacher at Abingdon
Elementary School, was named Maryland’s Elementary School
Math Teacher of the Year for 2003 by the Maryland Council of
Teachers of Mathematics. The designation marked the second
year in a row a Harford Public School Teacher (Scottie Vajda of
Emmorton Elementary School was the 2002 recipient) was
named for the award.
• Andre’ Joyner and Maggie Stuempfle, fifth graders at
Edgewood Elementary School, were chosen as the only two
children in America to help President George Bush and first
Lady Laura Bush light the National Christmas Tree on
December 4, 2003. The two ten-year-olds won the opportunity through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America through an
essay contest.
CHAMPION - ‘Jenn’ Chang, Edgewood
High School 2003-04 senior, is the reigning
Junior Pan American light heavyweight Tae
Kwon Do champion. The honor student
who aspires to be a pediatrician and an
Olympic champion also won tournament
MVP at the November 1, 2003 Rio de
Janeiro competition.
• Karen Zello of Bel Air Middle School and Bonnie Fry of C.
Milton Wright High School were named recipients of the 2003
Simon McNeely Awards emblematic of “consistent dedication
and leadership to their profession.” The awards were presented by the Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education,
recreation and Dance Association. The award is the top recognition a Maryland Physical Education teacher can receive.
• Youngshin Jennifer “Jenn” Chang won the light heavyweight
Junior Pan American championship in Tae
Kwon Do during November 1, 2003 finals
staged in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Ms. Chang, a 17-year-old 2004 senior at Edgewood High
School, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She is two-time national junior
champion in the sport.
• Emily Schmidt, a nine-year-old fourth grader at North Harford Elementary School in 200304, had her painting chosen as the one to be used as the model for the Maryland State
Department of Education’s official 2003 holiday greeting card. State Superintendent Nancy
Grasmick personally chose the painting for the card reproduction which was signed by Dr.
Grasmick and sent throughout the world to bring greetings from her Maryland Education
consecutive weeks serving either in the Maryland Senate or House of Delegates during the 90-day session.
• Fallston High School’s Marching Band was one of only 25 bands to qualify for the prestigious Atlantic Coast
Championships Tournament of Bands competition which took place in Scanton, Pennsylvania in early
November 2003. The Marching Cougars earned the right to take part in the ACC event by virtue of its second
place finish in the Chapter Championships held earlier in the fall.
• Linda A. “Lin” James won her 500 game as a high school girls basketball coach on January 29 when her North
Harford High School Lady Hawks defeated C. Milton Wright by a 51 to 36 score. Mrs. James, 60, began her
coaching career in 1965 in Augusta, Georgia’s Langford High School; and began her coaching career at North
Harford in 1968. Through her January 29 win, her career record was 500 wins against 226 losses.
• Dwayne “Buzz” Williams, Assistant Principal at Bel Air High School, had his book, Spare Parts, published by
Gotham Books, a subsidiary of Penguin Press. The book tells the story of the former Marine Corps reservist who
was called to active duty during the First Gulf War in 1991. Mr. Williams, also a former member of the staff at
the Kennedy Krieger School in Baltimore where he
was named a National Teacher of the Year, has had
inquiries about the book being made into a motion
• Kimberly “Kimmie” Meissner, a freshman at Fallston
High School, won the 2004 United States Women’s
Junior Figure Skating gold medal during the national championships held in Atlanta, Georgia on
January 11. Ms. Meissner, 14, had won the Novice
National title the year before. Ms. Meissner had compiled third, second, and first place finishes in international junior competition last year and will take part
in a series of similar events as a member of the US
National team this year.
AWARDED - Last February, the Board of Education
• Brothers Derek Blake Fine and Keith Randall Fine
of Harford County presented ‘Kimmie’ Meissner with
shared a Troop 238 Eagle Scout Court of Honor on
a certificate honoring her achievement on the ice.
January 3. Derek is a 2000 graduate of Harford
Technical High School where his brother was a 2004 senior. Derek earned Eagle Scout status on June 1, 2000;
and Keith received his Eagle Scout designation on October 2, 2003. Derek, a senior last year at the Coast Guard
Academy, is an award-winning athlete and student; while Keith, an equally recognized athlete and student,
recently received his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
• Leah T. Grothe, a 13-year-old Fallston Middle School eighth grader in 2003-04, was awarded a first place in
the state writing contest, middle school division, sponsored by the State of Maryland International Reading
Council (SoMIRAC). Ms. Grothe wrote a free verse poem entitled Guardians.
• Don E. Jones was chosen the Harford County Public School Facilities Management Office Employee of the Year
for 2003. Mr. Jones, 50, works in the Department’s Electrical/Air Conditioning & Refrigeration section, and has
been employed by HCPS for 24 years.
• Robert “Bob” Rinehart, an eighth grade Social Studies teacher at Southampton Middle School, was named by
the Civil War Preservation Trust as the nation’s Civil War Teacher of the Year, based on his “extraordinary dedication” in involving his students in efforts to raise money to preserve Civil War battlefield sites. Mr. Rinehart’s
students raised more than $1,700 last school year and are on their way to achieving their $3,000 goal for the
Highlights & Honors
• The varsity football teams of both Joppatowne and Aberdeen high schools won Maryland Public Secondary
School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) state titles in games played back to back on Wednesday, December 10,
2003, at the M&T Bank (Ravens) Stadium. The Joppatowne Mariners topped Beall Mountaineers of Allegany
County 26 to 6 to win the Class 1A title; while the Aberdeen Eagles defeated the Potomac Wolverines 33 to 25
in overtime to claim the Class 2A crown.
• Edith D. “Edie” Smith, a 26-year art
teacher at Aberdeen Middle School,
became the Harford County Public
School System’s sixth active teacher to
achieve National Board Certification
through the National Board for
Professional Teaching Standards. The
rigorous personal staff development process requires between 200 and 400 hours
of work in creating a series of portfolios
validating exemplary work done in the
classroom followed by a grueling daylong test to prove the teacher’s mettle in
solving real-life classroom issues.
PAGES - Five Harford County Public Schools seniors served as
pages in Annapolis during the 2004 session. The students were
selected during a highly competitive process last fall. Pages
include, from left, Kevin Kelleen, Anastasia Feaster, Amanda
Henninger, Diane Ketler, and Jacob Tanenbaum. Attending the
Fallston High School December 10 breakfast honoring the pages
were, from left back, Julie Rivas (Del. Mary-Dulaney James’
aide), Del. Joanne Parrott, Sen. Robert Hooper, Del. Barry
Glassman, Del. Susan McComas, and Del. Charles Boutin.
• Five Harford Public School seniors —
Kevin Killeen and Diane Ketler of Fallston
High; Jacob Tanenbaum and Amanda
Henninger of Bel Air High; and Anastasia
Feaster of Edgewood High — were chosen to serve as student pages in the 2004
Annapolis General Assembly. The students were chosen on the basis of their
keen interest in and aptitude for government service. They each spent two non-
2003-04 school year. Mr. Rinehart was invited to go to Nashville,
Tennessee, April 24th, to receive his nationwide honor.
• Southampton Middle School and William S. James Elementary
School were named recipients of the 2003 ARC Northern Chesapeake
Region’s Inclusion Program awards. The awards were made in recognition of dedication to inclusion practices in the public setting.
PROUD - Kiera McKenna of Wm.
Paca/OPR Elementary displays the
$5,000 facsimile check she received
as a top scholarship winner in the
most recent ‘Dare to Dream’ contest.
• Kiera McKenna, a 2003-04 fifth grader at William Paca/Old Post Road
Elementary School, was one of the nation’s top winners in the “Dare to
Dream/Expect to Succeed” program carried on by the BrainStorm USA
company in which scholarships, computers, software and other prizes are
awarded based on essays written by students concerning their dreams for
the future. Parents of the students are required to document how they
intend to help their children achieve the dream. Kiera won a $5,000
scholarship to be invested for use in her future college plans.
• Two-thirds of the Harford County Public Schools will receive either
cash awards or certificates for having shown significant improvement
and/or outstanding achievement in the first year of the Maryland School
Assessment program. The schools receiving cash awards netted between $2,926.82 and $4,000; while those
high schools (which are not eligible for cash awards in the program conducted by the Maryland State
Department of Education in conjunction with the Federal No Child Left Behind initiative) which qualified
received certificates. The 33 HCPS schools to receive recognition (66 percent) is far greater than the 40 percent of all schools in the state which will receive money or certificates.
• A volleyball sent to Iraq by the Bel Air High School girls JV volleyball team last fall found its way to Lt. Vincent
Jackson of the 101st Airborne, serving at a US Army base outside of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Lt.
Jackson made a pledge to himself that he would keep the ball with him throughout his final four months in the
war-torn country and return it safely to its donors. The US Army officer, stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky,
fulfilled that promise on March 22nd, as he returned to ball to the team during an emotional reunion in the Bel
Air High media center. The volleyball will be prominently displayed in the school.
ter, honors those junior girls who show the greatest ability, aptitude, and interest in science/math among their
counterparts at their school. Honored were: Emily Keller of Aberdeen High, Michelle Houck of Bel Air High,
Anita Sahu of C. Milton Wright High, Kelly Lange of Edgewood High, Kathleen Bradley of Fallston High,
Jennifer Abernathy of Harford Technical High, Sarah Elizabeth Ashby of Havre de Grace High, Aisha N. Turner
of John Carroll School, Kimberly Shurupoff of Joppatowne High, and Nicole Glos of North Harford High. The
event is sponsored by the Harford Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
• William M. “Bill” Ekey, principal at C. Milton Wright High School, was named the Maryland Student Service
Alliance (MSSA) Service-Learning Principal of the Year for the 2003-04 school year. Mr. Ekey was recognized
at a reception held at the US Naval Academy on April 22nd where he was the featured speaker. He received
the award based on his advocacy for and support of student service learning in a variety of projects.
• David R. Galbreath, North Harford High School senior two-sport, All-County performer, was awarded one of
the state’s five regional $1,500 scholarships by the Greater Baltimore Chapter National Football Foundation and
College Hall of Fame. Mr. Galbreath, who ranks second his his class of 331, was a two-time All County football player. He received the East Region award from the prestigious program.
• Joel Leff, Aberdeen High School math teacher, was among 110 educators nationwide to receive a $3,000 cash
award from RadioShack Corporation in its National Teacher Award program. The 25-year algebra, advanced
algebra, and pre-calculus teacher received the award based on demonstrated commitment to academic excellence
in mathematics, science or technology.
• Aaron Nuzman, a 2003-04 senior at Aberdeen High School, was the only college-bound student in Maryland
and one of just 38 in the United States to achieve a perfect 36, the highest possible composite score, on the
December 2003 national test administration of the ACT Assessment. About 2,000 Maryland students and
more than 332,000 from across the nation
completed the ACT college entrance exam
on December 13, 2003.
• C. Milton Wright High School’s Dance
Team scored a top five in Jazz and a top
ten in Pom in the National Dance
Association’s elite competition in Orlando,
Florida in March. The team completed an
outstanding season by earning the trip to
the national competition against many of
the top high school teams in the country
and justified its invitation by the outstanding performances.
• Joan M. Hayden, a 26-year veteran teacher — the last ten spent as Family and
Consumer Sciences teacher at Bel Air High
School — was named the 2004-05
Harford County Public School Teacher of
the Year. Mrs. Hayden, among the ten
finalists for the award chosen by a group of
15 teachers/administrators/students/community leaders, was recognized at the tenth
annual HCPS Teacher of the Year banquet
held at the Bayou Restaurant on April
22nd. She teaches child development
classes involving upper level high school
students and three-and-four-year-olds in
the ‘Lil Bobcat’ program.
• Harford Technical High School won 12 first place awards in the annual Health Occupations Students of
America (HOSA) competition held at the Maritime Institute in Baltimore in late March. Harford Tech took all
five of the places in both Medical Math and Medical Terminology divisions while competing against schools with
similar programs and some which specialize in health occupations.
• Lee Squillacioti, a 16-year-old junior at C. Milton Wright High School, had his musical composition — ‘Dance
Suite’ — played by the CMWHS 11th/12th grade orchestras during a special world premier held at the school
on May 17th. Young Squillacioti’s composition is the first to have been performed publicly during the 28 years
that Sheldon Bair has been orchestra director at the school.
• A group of 85 North Harford Middle School students, under the direction of ILA teacher Jane B. Travis, began
the ‘Traveling Company’ during the 2003-04 school year. The program has them go to area elementary and
middle schools doing dramatizations of situations with which teens and pre-teens sometimes find themselves
confronted. Topics covered range from bullying to drugs to relationships and much more. The group is open for
bookings by calling the school at 410-638-3658.
• Harford County Public School Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas was named President of the Public School
Superintendents Association of Maryland (PSSAM) for the 2004-05 school year. In that capacity, Mrs. Haas is
leading the group of 24 Maryland superintendents in its advocacy role for public school students and staff in
the state. Mrs. Haas, in her seventh year as Harford Superintendent, has held several other leadership roles in
the organization.
NDA COMPETITION - C. Milton Wright’s Dance team
enjoys the atmosphere at Disney World in Orlando, Florida
during its recent successful competition at the National
Dance Association championships. Members of the team,
included, from left, first row, Ashley Battersby, Ann Markey,
Liz Gullett, Amy Arseneau, and Aimee Voshell (coach); second row, Rachel Favazza, Kim Warrington, Sarah Gasper,
Lauren Blazeck, Valierie Ruzin, Raquel Pickens, Sara
Galligan, Kara Mahan, and Lauren Brennan; third row,
Shana Rsismanakis (assistant coach), Natalie Green, Brittney
Borowy, Brynn Shanahan, Justine Ball, and Jessica
• On May 24th, students and staff at Church Creek Elementary School in Belcamp played host to ten children
and their chaperones from the Cass Lake/Benne School which serves students on and around the vast Leech
Lake Ojibwa nation Indian reservation in northern Minnesota. The Cass Lake/Benne School second graders
in Roxanne Wimme’s class had become pen pals with Church Creek second graders in Debbie Robinson’s class
and, after one of Mrs. Robinson’s students had invited her Minnesota pen pal to attend the local girl’s birthday
party, a fundraiser was successful in accumulating more than $6,100 to finance the trip which had the
Minnesota children travel 29-hours on a bus to Harford County. While in the area, the Leech Lake children
toured Annapolis, Washington, D.C. and dipped their “toes in the Ocean” fulfilling a dream for the youngsters,
most of whom having never been off the reservation to that point.
• Carol Dawson, Edgewood Elementary School nurse, was named the 2003-04 Harford County Public School
Nurse of the Year by the Harford Schools Health Services Association. Mrs. Dawson, a 16-year veteran school
nurse in three HCPS schools, had been nurse for ten years at Edgewood Elementary School leading up to her
honor as Nurse of the Year. She was scheduled to retire at the end of the 2003-04 school year.
• Ring Factory Elementary School’s Destination Imagination Cartoon Dimensions team finished second in the
Global Tournament held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on May 26 through 29. The Ring Factory
DI team, coach by Eileen Gunther and Pam Lucchese, competed against about 70 teams from all over the US
as well as South Korea, South Africa, and China. The team was composed of Gina Lucchese, Kelley Gunther,
Kathie Gunther, Cameron Wann, Ben Coordes, Ryan Selvy, and Cathy Smith; and was one of six Harford
Public School teams to have qualified for and competed in the annual tournament for the creative problemsolving contest.
achieved by HCPS
• Fallston High School’s Envirothon team won the 13th annual Envirothon tournament held at the 4-H Camp in
the Rocks State Park on April 28th. The five-member Fallston team topped 14 other groups representing nine
of the Harford County Public high schools and two non-public schools in the contest which has students solve
real-life environmental problems. Under the leadership of Environmental Science teacher Tom Trafton,
Fallston High teams have won four
county titles and finished second three
times in the 13 years of the local
event; twice winning state championships; and once finishing as the
National Envirothon runners-up. The
local all-underclass student team finished sixth out of 19 teams in the State
Envirothon held on June 22-24 at
Mount St. Mary’s College in
Members of the team included Ranjit
Korah, Barry Wright, Ben Amos, Rob
Roemer, and Steve Roetger.
BALL BACK - Lt. Vincent Jackson, accompanied by his wife, Lt.
Nicole Jackson, returned the volleyball Bel Air High School JV girls
volleyball players had sent to Iraq with their signatures and well wishes on it. Lt. Jackson had received the ball in November while on duty
near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Gabby Long, left, and Meghan
McDonald, Bobcat captains, receive the ball while Coach Chris
Mcdonough, right, looks on with other members of the team.
• Eleven Harford County public and
non-public high school junior females
were named winners of the annual
Judith Resnik Math/Science awards
during a ceremony held at Harford
Community College on April 17th.
The 18th annual event, begun after
Dr. Resnik, a graduate of the
University of Maryland, perished
along with other astronauts in the
1986 Challenger Space Shuttle disas-
• North Harford High School graduates Angela Haley (Class of 2000) and Harmony Ann Mack Evans
(Class of 1996) achieved historic status during their graduations from Washington College (Chestertown,
Maryland) and Towson University, respectively, in May 2004. Miss Haley was named the 2004 winner of
the Sophie Kerr Prize, a national literary award which provided her with the $56,169 cash prize.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Evans was awarded a doctorate in Audiology, ranking as the first ever recipient of a doctoral degree in the 139-year history of the Baltimore-area university.
• Four Harford County Public Schools — Havre de Grace High and Middle schools; Churchville
Elementary and William S. James Elementary schools — received recognition from the American Lung
Association of Maryland for their efforts in providing high indoor air quality. The awards, presented during a May 18th ceremony, noted the extraordinary success of the four schools in utilizing the Lung
Association’s Tools for Schools (TfS) program with each school netting a $400 award. A total of 14 HCPS
schools were nominated for the awards and the ten which did not receive the top awards were also recognized
during the ceremony which noted the local school system’s leadership role in indoor school air quality among
school system’s in the state.
• Fallston Middle School’s CyberFair team won an Honorable Mention in the 2004 national on-line contest. The
International Schools CyberFair is an award-winning, authentic learning program used by schools and youth
organizations around the world. The FMS team received its recognition in the local specialties category entitled: “Fallston: Sports and
Elementary fourth grade
teacher Shannon O’Connor’s
2003-04 class learned lessons
about all but two states in the
union as part of their participation in the ‘USA Quilt Project.’ The youngsters created 49 squares depicting Maryland and received similar displays from 48 states in addition to the District of Columbia. Among those involved in the project
were, from left, first row: Alec Hildebeidel, Justin Bittner, Tyler Horton, Joe Nosek, Josh Addicks, Ryan
Tritsch, Patrick Starks, Tyler Cooper, Blake Paulson, Zachary Dandy; second row: Brittany Pitzer, Karley
Bridges, Mrs. Pat Volrath (Mentor Teacher), Beril Ural, Valerie Wagener, Krystan Von Haack, Joy
Lawrence, Eileen Kuester, Samantha Bowen, Ali Favaro, Leeanne Fitch, Iga Kozakiewicz, Mrs. Shannon
O’Connor (Teacher); back: Jordy Testerman, Vaughn Clark.
Youngsters get paid
to be safe at Copley Kids
(Cover Page Story)
What if there was a safe, nurturing place for young people – elementary school
through high school – to go after school and receive help with their homework, tutoring, snacks, friendship, exercise, and love? And, what if that place was free – or, better still, what if the young people got paid a small amount for showing up and being
Well, not only is there such a place, but it’s been in operation for a decade and continues providing an essential service for between 30 and 35 young people in the
Joppatowne area three days a week – Tuesdays through Thursdays. It’s the Copley
Kids program, founded and run by the husband and wife team of Josh and Barbara
Barmer. It operates in several rooms of the Copley Parish at the Episcopal Church of
the Resurrection on Rumsey Island in the southeastern Harford planned community.
The program is funded through a series of grants.
“We saw a need in the community to provide a safe place for young people to come
after school,” said Mrs. Barmer, a 29-year Language Arts teacher at Magnolia Middle
School and 1999 Harford Teacher of the Year Finalist. “Those hours of three until six
are critical, especially since we have so many families where both parents work and
many of the kids go home to an empty house.”
The veteran teacher said the effort had been intended for secondary students, but so
many of the older young people babysit for younger siblings that it was quickly opened
to students of all ages – not only for the schools in the Joppatowne area, but for students of any school in the county. Most stop off at the Copley location on their walk
home from school, but some are dropped off by their parents or picked up and
brought to the center by volunteers.
“Our focus is on education,” said Mrs. Barmer. “The first priority is their homework
– they must get that done before they can do anything else.”
Mr. Barmer, who retired two years ago after a long career as an instructional assistant
in the Joppatowne-area schools, said Copley Kids is a labor of love for him and Mrs.
Barmer as well as for the many longtime volunteers who assist in the effort. “We wanted to provide them with a place they could be safe in a nourishing environment where
they could pursue positive interests,” said Mr. Barmer, noting students can use a fully
networked set of computers, play video games, participate in board games, or go outside in the church yard on good weather days to run off some steam. “We provide
some light tutoring and they always get a nourishing snack and something to drink.”
COMPUTERS - Brianna Carre, 11-year-old Magnolia Middle School
sixth grader, enjoys a session on one of the bank of computers available
to Copley Kids.
He said, as an incentive, the youngsters get a dollar a day
or $3 a week if they attend and take part in a positive way.
Dedicated volunteers such as Stu Lyons of the local Lions
Club and Church of the Resurrection Pastor Al Laveroni
along with his wife Jean Laveroni, a language arts teacher
at Fallston Middle School, help provide structure for the
Peg Wilson, program assistant, and Jim Rice, program
coordinator, along with Mr. Barmer, the director of Copley
Kids, are the only paid employees – though Mr. Barmer receives only a relatively small
stipend. Funding comes from the Gap Foundation, the Episcopal Diocese, United
Way, and, in the past, from Kaiser-Permanente; as well as in kind contributions from
companies such as Lazer Fil, which provides printer services, and one of Josh and
Barbara’s five sons, Anthony Barmer, who supports the program through his barber
The program runs from the second week of October through the end of May. “We’re
always getting calls (at the beginning of the school year) asking when we are going to
open,” said Mrs. Barmer, noting that the joy she and others receive from seeing the
good done by the program outweighs the burden of time and effort it takes to keep it
This year, for the first time, Scott Jones, assistant director of the Maryland
Conservatory in Bel Air, will be coming to the Copley Kids sessions, setting up a percussion ensemble. The effort also gets great support from area principals, especially
Joe Mascari at Magnolia Middle School who often visits to connect with his students
and others taking part.
Neither Mr. Barmer nor Mrs. Barmer want to think about a time when Copley Kids is
not available for the youngsters in the neighborhood. Over the ten years it has been
in existence, some 680 children have come through the doors of the Copley Kids program representing 28 schools.
C C T V u n i t ‘ l i b e ra t e s ’ H a l e y K a n e
When it came time to check out a library book, then seven-yearold Haley Kane had no interest. It’s not that the Meadowvale
Elementary 2003-04 first grader didn’t like to read or wasn’t
motivated to learn. Hers was a far more basic problem – she
couldn’t see the print in a normal book.
Born with albinism, a condition that often prevents the cones of
eyes to develop rendering those impacted with the equivalent of
being perpetually snow-blinded, Haley can see shapes, sizes,
and colors; but could discern only extremely large letters. That’s
where the Harford County Public School System and the combined Lions Clubs of Harford County came in.
“This little girl won the hearts of 60 people with her personality
and her love of learning,” said Senora Haywood, president of
the Aberdeen Lions Club, during a celebration held in the
Meadowvale Media Center last April 20th. “We knew then that
we wanted to make it possible for her to experience that joy of
reading in her home.”
So it was that Fred Guenthner of the Churchville Lions, Tom
Baine of the Aberdeen Lions (and District Vice Governor of the
35-club District 22A), and Harold Boccia of the Bel Air Lions led
the charge to have the Lions Clubs foot the bill for the home
CCTV unit. And, Mr. Boccia, past president of the Bel Air Lions
and president of the Chesapeake Low Vision firm, took it upon
Earlier last school year, a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system
himself to get the Lions a break on the price of the unit. Mr.
was purchased by the school system to allow Haley the ability to
Boccia volunteered to come to the Kane home, set up the unit,
read books and other material in school. Capable of magnifying
objects by up to 65 times, the CCTV apparatus allowed the pre- CELEBRATION - Members of the combined Lions Clubs and help the family learn ways to maximize its use.
of Harford County, the Meadowvale Elementary School
cocious youngster to unravel the mysteries of the printed word community, and the Kane family took part in a celebration “It’s absolutely liberating – the freedom to be able to read that
and develop her reading to the point she devours book after at the school last April 20, noting the gift by the Lions of a this gives Haley is something that goes beyond words,” said Mrs.
CCTV system similar to the one shown to be used at home Kane, tears welling in her eyes. “On library day, when other kids
by Haley Kane, third from left.
were checking out books to bring home to read, Haley wouldn’t
Working with classroom teacher Kimberly Jones and HCPS
check out any – now she’s bringing home books all the time and
teacher of the visually impaired Beverly Benke, Haley uses cumbersome portable magnifiers to enable her to see printed material in her classroom or at home. She comes to the reading them on her own.”
Meadowvale library where school media specialist Kathy Wheeler helps her use the
CCTV, which projects the pages of books or other material in color on a 17” monitor,
magnified many times.
With her appetite for reading whetted, the school and Haley’s parents Christina and Mark
Kane searched for a way to extend the new-found freedom to her home. But, with a retail
price tag of well over $3,500, none of it covered by insurance, it seemed the little girl’s
reading would be limited to in-school sessions.
“I’d retype material on our home computer and enlarge it to a 72 point font and print it
out for Haley to read,” said Mrs. Kane, a Cecil County 911 dispatcher and volunteer with
the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps. “That was difficult and pictures or other graphics
weren’t possible (to reproduce in an enlarged format).”
That’s when Ms. Wheeler and others at the school, knowing the Lions Clubs’ interest in
helping those with visual or auditory impairments, arranged a meeting with representatives from four Harford Lions Clubs.
Meadowvale Principal David Denton, who took part in the hour-long celebration at the
school, said he was personally touched by the Lions’ effort. “To see the community working with the school to make this possible out of the kindness of their hearts is just overwhelming,” said Dr. Denton.
Funded through the annual Christmas tree and fruit sales – along with other fundraisers –
the Lions also provide scholarships and a number of other services to the community.
Mrs. Haywood, an assistant principal at Havre de Grace High School, said the Lions are
the largest service organization in the world. There are ten active Lions Clubs in Harford
County, he said.
Mr. Baine, a former teacher at Aberdeen High School and current Lions 22A District
Governor, said the joy on the face of children like Haley when they are able to see printed material for the first time makes all the hard work in raising funds worthwhile.
Haley has two older sisters, Brittney and Caitlin, students at Havre de Grace Middle and
Meadowvale Elementary, respectively, who were 13 and nine, respectively last year.
Grothe takes first in state writing contest
Leah T. Grothe is a gifted writer. If you don’t believe it, just read the essay last year’s 13-year old, Fallston Middle School eighth grader submitted
to the Harford County Reading Council for its 2003-04 writing contest. If you’re still not sure, consider the entry won first place in the local middle school competition last year.
If you still have your doubts, take a look at the letter she received in early February from the State of Maryland International Reading Council
(SoMIRAC) informing her that she had won first place in the state writing contest for second through eighth graders. Her free verse poem, entitled
“Guardians,” called upon the forces of nature to protect her from all that would harm her.
“I like to write — it gives me the freedom to express my thoughts — especially fiction writing where I don’t have to have experienced what I’m writing about or it doesn’t have to be real,” Ms. Grothe said minutes after having been among those honored by the Harford County Reading Council
at its annual awards ceremony, held at Southampton Middle School, February 17th. “I might like to consider writing (as a vocation) some day.”
Right now the ‘Straight A’ student says she has lots of options, listing Science, English, and History as her favorite subjects. “My teacher, Ms.
(Kathleen) Mikos, inspired me,” said Ms. Grothe of her eighth grade experience. “She didn’t give us a subject to write about, she just said to write
about what we were interested in — that and growing up with my Mom (Melanie Ruckle) is what inspired me.”
Ms. Grothe and the more than 200 others who entered this year’s 23rd annual Reading Council writing contest were asked to compose poetry with
the theme of “You’re a Poet and Don’t Know It.” Twenty-eight of Harford’s 32 public elementary schools took part in the contest, with four of its
eight middle schools and four of its nine high schools also having entries. In addition, five private schools in the county participated.
Amanda Sherry was Harford Tech’s K.C. connection
Each year, students from Harford Technical High School compete in Skills USA-VICA
competitions. There is usually a regional competition, followed by a state competition.
and then the nationals which are held in Kansas City, Missouri. For the second year
in a row in 2003-04, students from Tech’s Printing and Graphic Communication class
won first and third places at state competition. Placing third was Shavon Worrell and
taking first was Amanda Sherry. With financial support from Printing and Imaging
Industries of Maryland and The Litho Club of Baltimore, Amanda was able to attend
the national competition, accompanied by her parents, instructor, and three additional students who also placed first in their contests. At Kansas City she participated in
opening ceremonies, several meetings, a day of preparation for competition, a full
day of competition and closing ceremonies. She also got to do a little shopping, as
well as watch a Kansas City Royals baseball game. Placing 14th out of 37 competitors, Amanda said she was “a bit disappointed” at the outcome. Putting it all into perspective, though, she acknowledged she was among a group of the country’s top students and was proud to represent her school and state in national competition.
‘Traveling Company’
aims to save lives
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT Amanda Sherry practices running the
Heidelberg press in preparation for the
competition the next day.
Sherry and
her instructor,
Chiveral in front of the Printing and Graphic Communication
contest area at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Even cast members of the North Harford Middle School Traveling Company are surprised at the intensity of the reaction
to what they present.
“It’s as if some of the people in our audiences see their lives being played out on stage,” said 13-year-old, 2003-04 seventh grader Ryan O’Hara. “I really didn’t expect the way we’ve connected with the people.”
Ryan was one of about 85 seventh and eighth graders who came together last school year to enter into something bigger
than all of them put together. Under the direction of seventh grade Integrated Language Arts teacher Jane B. Travis, late
in the 2002-03 school year the youngsters wrote scenes that were incorporated into an original 15-minute interactive, educational “psychodrama” about the problems and temptations faced by middle school students. Topics include insecurity,
peer pressure, and situations that test character values.
At the start of last school year, eighth graders who had worked on the play last year, augmented by a number of seventh
graders, tried out for parts in the play entitled “Why Me.” Divided into traveling troupes of from 12 to 17 players, the students have taken their performances to about 15 elementary and middle schools in Harford County and South Eastern
School District in Pennsylvania.
Playing young people who make bad choices in situations that face teens and pre-teens on an almost daily basis, the
Traveling Company invites members of their audiences to suggest how the characters could have made wiser decisions.
Mrs. Travis, who spent 30 years teaching English to juniors, directing musicals, running the school TV station, and putting
together a similar traveling company at Kennard-Dale High School in neighboring Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, said she is
thrilled to see how sincere her middle school students have been in reaching out to others their age or younger.
NHMS TRAVELING COMPANY - About 85 strong, the North
Harford Middle School seventh and eighth graders who made up the
2003-04 ‘Traveling Company’ interactive performing group, are
making a difference in the lives of elementary and middle school students in two states. Their 15-minute plays depict situations teens and
pre-teens experience regularly and attempt to have their audiences
come up with suggestions for wise choices.
“We try to help people realize that a bad decision they make now could result in a bad outcome,” said then 13-year old,
eighth grader Lauren McGehee.
Members of the troupe practice after school and, when they leave school to put on performances, are responsible to get
prior approval from their teachers and make up all missed work.
Mrs. Travis, who lives in Fawn Grove with her husband Ralph, a retired teacher, said she ends each of her Company’s performances with an admonition to the audience. “I tell them that a close friend that only listens when someone tells them
about a problem they are having is not enough. You must reach out and help that person find the assistance they need.”
Representatives of the Office of Drug Control Policy of the Harford County government attended several recent performances by the Traveling Company and have described the interactive plays as “extremely important in helping with our
prevention efforts of keeping kids from using cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs as they face challenges to their values and
self-esteem,” Mrs. Travis reported.
Mrs. Travis, mother of four grown children and with two granddaughters, said the new play for 2004-05 includes a variety
of additional situations as well as ones that were included in the 2003-04 production.
‘Buzz’ Williams’ book was released in March
‘Buzz’ Williams showed off an advance
copy of his new book, ‘Spare Parts,’ an
accounting of his experiences as a
Marine reservist called to duty in the
First Gulf War. The Bel Air High School
first year assistant principal spent 11
years at the Kennedy-Krieger School in
Baltimore providing educational services
for students with conduct disorders.
In 2003, when news reports began to fill the air waves about the Second Gulf War, Dwayne E.
“Buzz” Williams couldn’t watch, but couldn’t help from watching. The invasion of Iraq by U.S.
forces brought back painful memories of a decade before when Bel Air High School’s first year
assistant principal, in just 38 days, went from being a student teacher to a front line participant
in the 1991 conflict.
So impacted was the Baltimore County native that sleepless nights led to the need to put his
thoughts as a former Marine reservist called to active duty on paper. Now, those words have
been compiled into a book – Spare Parts — that was released in March 2004 by Gotham Books,
a subsidiary of the giant Penguin Press publishing house. Warner Brothers has already shown
preliminary interest in buying the movie rights to the book which outlines the thoughts, fears,
confusion, and anxiety that resulted as he was uprooted from a career path in the classroom and
thrust into life and death situations of war.
“Today, half of the 2.1 million men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces are reservists or
guardsmen,” said the 35-year-old father of two. “The name of the book comes from my
(Marine) drill instructor who, during basic, used that term to describe reservists, and, although he
said it wasn’t meant as a slam, it was just that.”
Brian Folus had work
published nationally
The way Brian H. Folus figures it, if his arrangement of William Boyce’s
Symphony #1 is purchased by one music teacher, his ten percent royalty will get
him a meal at McDonald’s. If two teachers buy it, then he can include his nine
year old daughter, Sarah, in the feast.
Mr. Folus, a 20-year Harford County Public School instrumental music teacher –
the last 11 at Fountain Green Elementary School – had his treatment of the 18th
century English composer’s work published this past summer in the Alfred international catalog, one of the world’s most respected publications of band and
orchestral music for purchase by those who conduct musicians from elementary
school to adults. The 47-year-old Randallstown native arranged the eight-minute,
three movement piece during the summer of 2002 for the middle-school-aged
students in his Harford Strings Orchestra, a group he founded five years ago
which performs critically acclaimed concerts each November and April to sold out
One of only about ten to 15 composers/arrangers to have been chosen by the
California-based publishing company for inclusion in the 2004 catalog, Mr. Folus
said the circumstances under which his work was selected represent a series of
happy coincidences.
“I sent a tape of the Harford Strings Orchestra performance of the piece along
with the score to Richard Meyer, the strings editor of Alfred,” said Mr. Folus of the
fall 2002 submission. “Later, I received a communication from Mr. Meyer saying
I had ‘made the first cut’ but I had to wait till July (2003) to find out if I had been
accepted for publication.”
Then came the call from Mr. Meyer on July 22, 2003 with good news that Mr.
Folus’ work would be made available for purchase through the catalog and related outlets, along with other top musical compositions/arrangements next summer.
Mr. Williams, who was paid a $175,000 advance for the book, was on leave two weeks in March
on a nationwide book tour to promote the publication.
Mr. Williams – known as ‘Buzz’ since 1975 when he was seven-years-old and had his hair
cropped close to his head to match his 18-year-old Marine Corps brother’s look – said he was so
disillusioned by his and other reservists’ lack of readiness for combat that, when he returned to
America in April of 1991, he was allowed to make changes in the Marines’ training of its
“I was in the middle of my student teaching assignment when I was called up on November 18th
and told to go home and get ready to be mobilized,” Mr. Williams said. “Thirty-eight days later,
our unit – the 2nd Light Armored Battalion, D Company — was on the way to the Persian Gulf.”
Mr. Williams, a vehicle crewman, served on the eight-wheeled armored vehicle that was used to
help form the razor thin line that acted as a deterrent against Hussein’s forces invading Saudi
Arabia once the air bombardment of Baghdad began on January 17th. “When the Scud missiles began to be fired by the Iraqis, each time we had to get in our chemical/biological/nuclear
protective clothing, just in case, and pray that they didn’t leak,” he said of the harrowing days
prior to the order being given to invade by land. “We crossed the border into Kuwait on
February 24th as part of the third wave to liberate Kuwait.”
The 2nd Armored Light Battalion’s major role was to intercept fleeing Iraqis, seeking to get back
across the Kuwait border to join up with Iraqi forces. They were also called upon to eliminate
threats from Iraqis and Palestinians — who had been compelled to work for the Kuwaitis, many
of whom were openly sympathetic to the Iraqis.
Though the “official” war lasted just 100 hours, Mr. Williams’ unit was still taking and giving fire
through April when they were finally sent home.
Returning to finish his degree, he found no Physical Education teaching jobs open in regular
public or private schools. Instead, he took a job at the Johns Hopkins-based Kennedy-Krieger
special school in Baltimore City to begin a Physical Education program for middle-school aged
children with “conduct disorders.”
“I couldn’t be happier here at Bel Air,” he said. “I plan on a long career in administration in the
Harford County Public Schools.”
Smalley reaches out to youth in an effort
to get them excited about potential
futures as scientists. The Nobel Prize
winner addressed C. Milton Wright High
school students last year.
The music teacher, who holds the distinction of having replaced legendary
Harford County Hall of Fame educator Ray Dombrowski as orchestra leader at
Bel Air High School in 1985, said he spent eight or nine weeks, two-to-three
hours a day arranging the Boyce work. Much of his efforts went into changing the
key of the original work from B flat to G, simplifying the rhythms without compromising the intent of the composer, and converting the second movement from
featuring oboes to highlighting fist violins.
Seven years ago, the Bel Air-area resident had teamed with C. Milton Wright High
School orchestra teacher Sheldon Bair and former HCPS Music Supervisor Bruce
Kovacs (current North Harford Middle School principal) to organize the Harford
Youth Orchestra, a group for high school students associated as a non-credit offering of Harford Community College. At the same time, when it became apparent
there was an interest among serious musicians of middle school age for a similar
group, he founded and has directed from the outset of the Harford Strings
Orchestra, a group that has grown to 65 members. The group practices ten to 13
times in preparation for its two concerts presented at the William H. Amoss Center
at Harford Technical High School.
When Fountain Green Elementary was getting set to open in 1993, Mr. Folus
made the decision to team with the school’s first principal, Marlin Dellinger, in
organizing a new program. “It was like starting with a clean slate – building a program, literally, from a pile of dirt,” said Mr. Folus of the challenge. “You get fourth
graders, many of whom who have never played before, but, by Christmas, they
are making real musical sounds.”
ROBERT PECK (center) - enjoys a few minutes
with media specialists from Harford County
Public Schools. From left to right, Terry LaPorte,
Supervisor of Library Services; and media specialists Emily Andrews, YBES; Jane Ennis,
Jarrettsville; Melissa Friedman, Wm. S. James;
Joanne Slagle, Magnolia Elementary; and Debbie
Kinsler, Havre de Grace High. Mr. Peck is a
renowned author who visited the Harford County
Public Schools last year.
Lin James won career number
When Linda A. “Lin” James began coaching high school basketball, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House, America
was in the beginning stages of war in Vietnam, and the Orioles were a year away from winning their first World Series. It
was 1965, and the North Harford Lady Hawks basketball coach was winning her first game as coach of the Langford High
team in Augusta, Georgia before moving to Harford County and starting a sterling 36-year as teacher and coach
Now, following North Harford’s January 29, 2004, 61 to 46 victory over the visiting C. Milton Wright Mustangs,
Lin James had reached a milestone no other coach in the history of high school sports in Harford County had
ever achieved – her 500th career win in a single sport.
“It was both a relief and a feeling of euphoria,” said Mrs. James the morning after the milestone win. “I never
mentioned it to my players – I didn’t want it to become a distraction to them or put added pressure on them – but,
they really stepped up (against C. Milton Wright).
“They always play hard, but it was a special night,” said the coach whose record stood at 500 wins and 226 losses following the Upper Chesapeake Athletic Conference—Chesapeake Division win.
One of the Lady Hawks’ 2003-04 tri-captains, senior Christina Gibson, who led her team to victory with 17 points
against the Mustangs, agreed.
“The intensity really came out, it was really kinda scary,” said the then 18-year-old star guard. “It’s a great feeling to be part of the team that helped her win her 500th – it’s something I’ll carry with me always – I’ll never forget the look on her face at the end of the game.”
Fran Mathews, now retired North Harford High Athletic Director and Coach James’ colleague for 34-years, said
racking up number 500 in front of a large and raucous crowd with many of her former players present made the
night extra special. “Our fans were on their feet at the end of the game chanting ‘That’s 500,’ and even Lin, who has
been trying to downplay the whole thing, had a tear in her eye and gave the thumbs up sign,” Mrs. Mathews said. “It is
a significant lifetime achievement and is certainly a feather in her bonnet as well as for all those young ladies who have
played for her over the years.”
It’s been that way since Lin James, as a player, helped her Elbert County (Georgia) High School team to 100 straight wins
and three consecutive state championships. And, the intensity continued during her college days playing for Anderson
College in her native state and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
INTENSITY - North Harford Lady Hawks basketball coach Lin James,
here exhorting her players during a timeout in their game against C.
Milton Wright January 29, picked up her career win number 500 that
night, tops among active or retired coaches in the state. Sisters Christina
Gibson (4) and Emily Gibson (3) are among the players heeding their
coach’s advice as assistant coach Walt Bogarty looks on.
After compiling her initial wins with Langford High, she met and married her husband of 37 years, Jim James, a native
of the northern Harford area who was then stationed in Georgia while in the Armed Service. The family came to Harford
County in 1967 where Lin James found a job teaching special education at Forest Hill Elementary School. But, the lure
of coaching and teaching Physical Education in high school led her to accept a job at her husband’s alma mater, coaching a variety of sports including gymnastics, but highlighted by her role as girls basketball coach.
“The last couple of weeks have been tough,” said Coach James just before her team took the floor versus C. Milton Wright,
a team they had beaten on the Mustangs’ home floor earlier in January. “I wanted to keep it (impending 500 wins) quiet
and get it over with, but the word got out, so we’ll deal with it the way it is – I just want our players to play some basketball tonight — it’s not about me, it’s about them and what we do as a group.”
Coach James – whose 1983 team went 22 and 1, losing in the state semi-final game - said she never really thought about
going anywhere other than teaching and coaching at North Harford. “It’s just wonderful here, friends I’ve made forever;
and, when I look around, I’ve coached a lot of these people – parents of the kids I’m coaching now,” she said. “It’s just
a community that I’ve liked to serve.”
Coach James said she prides herself in spending some of her spare time watching girls playing in the recreation leagues in northern Harford. “I want to make sure the young kids realize
I’m concerned about them – establish that contact before they even come to the high school,”
she said. “It’s a lifestyle for me.”
Coach James’ daughter Carie – who played basketball for her mother several years ago – and
Carie’s daughter Kayla (K.W.), three, were among those who swept from the stands onto the
floor at the end of the game to congratulate the Hawks’ coach on the big win. Mr. and Mrs.
James also have a son, Jay, who is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and was a lieutenant
in the US Navy stationed in Virginia Beach last February.
Jim James is a retired Baltimore County fireman and, for the past two years, has driven a
school bus in his native area.
How about the future for Coach
“I really don’t know – we just take
it from year to year – I look down
and I’ve got kids that are young
and they’re kids I certainly want to
work with – it just seems it never
ends,” she said last year.
Coach James has more wins in a
single sport than any active or
retired coach in the Baltimore
metropolitan area, passing the
previous record holder in 199899. After the 500th win (combined at Langford and North
Harford highs), she stood 43 vicTENSE - Coach Lin James and Assistant Coach Walt Bogarty share tories ahead of her closest rival in
the tension during a key part of the Lady Hawks versus Lady the Baltimore area.
Mustangs game January 29 at North Harford High School.
Leff honored for academic excellence
RadioShack Corporation presented a 2004 RadioShack National Teacher Award
to Joel Leff, a math teacher at Aberdeen High School. Mr. Leff was among 110
educators receiving RadioShack National Teacher Awards last year for demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence in mathematics, science or technology. He received a $3,000 cash award.
“I studied to be an engineer,” said Mr. Leff. “However, after getting some jobs
that just happened to involve kids, I decided that teaching was what I really wanted to do.
“I’m honored to be among other math, science and technology teachers who are
considered to be outstanding,” he added.
Mr. Leff, who has been in the classroom for 26 years, teaches algebra, advanced
algebra, and pre-calculus with discrete math. He earned a bachelor of science
degree in industrial engineering in 1971 from Lehigh University. He completed a
certification program in education in 1976 from San Jose State University. He
received a master of education degree in 1985 from Towson University.
“The RadioShack National Teacher Awards program is RadioShack’s multi-year
corporate citizenship effort to improve math, science and technology education,”
said Leonard Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of RadioShack
Corporation. “By investing in teachers, RadioShack is strengthening communities and ensuring that more American youth prosper. We are committed to
rewarding and retaining quality teachers, which is essential to the continuing
growth and prosperity of our nation.”
The National Teacher Awards program is funded by RadioShack Corporation.
The program is open to all accredited public and private high schools. Award
recipients are selected from a nationwide competitive call for applications. The
selection process includes judging applicants on their commitment to education
and their implementation of innovative classroom teaching methods. A panel of
educators selects the honorees.
HCPS Educator Hall of Fame Class of 2003-004
September 2003
WILLIAM B. SECCURRO—Dr. Seccurro, 60, was born and educated in West Virginia, the first
in his extended family to attend and graduate from college. After college, he took a job as a
supervisor in a coal mine, but was laid off and in need of a job. He heard about a chance to
teach Industrial Arts in the Harford County Public Schools without having a teaching certificate
to start and took a job at Bel Air High School in 1966. He quickly realized that working with students in helping them to create projects was his calling. Dr. Seccurro returned to college in the
summers to earn his teaching certificate, and, eventually, a masters and doctoral degrees. He
was named an assistant principal at Aberdeen High School in 1973 and then tabbed to be principal of the Harford Vocational-Technical Center in Joppa Hall on the campus of Harford
Community College in 1976 where he planned and eventually helped open Harford Vocational-Technical High
School in 1978. Four-years later he was named supervisor of vocational-technical education for the school system,
the position from which he retired in 2000 prior to being named president and chief operating officer in the Harford
County Chamber of Commerce, the job he now holds. During his time with the school system, Dr. Seccurro was
known as a tireless advocate of vocation-technical education and career preparation. He was a moving force behind
the development of the cooperative work studies program and a leader in the administrator’s employee association.
He retired with 34 ½ years of service to the school system.
J. WALTER POTTER—Mr. Potter, 75, came from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to be a Core/POD
teacher at Aberdeen High School in 1950. A star athlete at Salisbury State University (eventually
being named a member of that school’s athletic hall of fame), Mr. Potter coached varsity soccer at
AHS during his short three-year teaching career there prior to being named principal of Jarrettsville
Elementary School in 1953. After a succession of administrative posts over the next three years,
he was named principal of Aberdeen High School in 1957, a position he held for the next 26 years
as the school went through many changes both instructionally and demographically. Mr. Potter was
described as a calm, cool, and collected leader through any crisis and was known as a firm but supportive principal who supported his staff consistently while demanding excellence. He rose to serve
in state and national leadership roles with the secondary principals associations at both levels. Following his retirement
in 1983, Mr. Potter was the executive director of the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals for nine years.
Mr. Potter was credited with many innovations during his time as principal including flexible and computer-aided
scheduling, and programs in art, music and drama.
October 2003
DONALD A. FASSETT—Mr. Fassett, a native of the anthracite coal region of northeastern
Pennsylvania, was hired as a biology teacher at North Harford High School in 1954. The veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict developed a love for teaching through his work in
helping comrades prepare for a test to qualify for promotions. After three years at North Harford
High, his concern for his students who could not read well influenced him to begin a program of
reading remediation which developed into one of the county’s first programs for students with
special needs. He later transferred to Bel Air High in the early 1960’s in order to be able to assist
with the school’s football program. Mr. Fassett coached football and basketball for two decades
at Bel Air where he met and married the former Connie Whaley. Mrs. Fassett, a psychology
teacher and legendary softball coach at Bel Air High, was inducted into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame last year.
Mr. Fassett is credited with nurturing young people both in the classroom and on the athletic courts/fields, serving as
a pioneer in the area of special education. He took an interest in all students at the school, especially those who
needed an advocate. Mr. Fassett retired in 1985 but continues to follow local student-athletes closely.
CAROL L. BARKER—Ms. Barker grew up in the Edgewood area where she was an outstanding
athlete at Edgewood High School, helping that school to win its first ever county athletic championships in the 1959-60 school year. A young woman with strong faith, she considered going
into youth ministry before opting for a career in education as a social studies/physical education
teacher and coach. Ms. Barker began as a sixth grade teacher before being hired to teach history and physical education as well as coach several sports at her alma mater. She remained at
Edgewood High through 1984, volunteering to sponsor many school clubs and organizations in
addition to her teaching responsibilities. Ms Barker became a full-time physical education teacher and department chair at Edgewood High. In 1984, she opted to transfer to Bel Air High in
order to return to her first love—teaching history—continuing as a field hockey coach while taking on a new sport,
lacrosse. Ms. Barker continued her advocacy for young people, getting involved not only in their academic preparation but their social and psychological development. Throughout her career as an educator, she continued her close
association with Mountain Christian Church, serving in many capacities, especially in working with youths. Ms.
Barker retired after 31 years as a teacher/coach in 1995.
November 2003
SHIRLEY J. ROSE—Mrs. Rose served the Harford County Public Schools as a teacher, assistant
principal and principal for 35 years, starting her career as a Physical Education teacher at Central
Consolidated School in 1956 and retiring as principal of Aberdeen Middle School in 1991. Mrs.
Rose came from humble beginnings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, attending Morgan State
College on scholarship where she entered the teacher preparation program because the school
did not have a nursing program. Mrs. Rose came to Aberdeen Junior High in 1965 with the end
of racial segregation in Harford County Public Schools where she taught Physical Education
there and at Aberdeen Middle School when it opened in 1973. She was named assistant principal there the next year and principal in 1978, a position she held until her retirement 13 years
later. Mrs. Rose was known as a compassionate child-centered teacher and administrator.
LlOYD C. FRY—Mr. Fry was born in Frederick County, coming to Harford County from
Salisbury State Teachers College where he “drifted” into the field of education as a sixth grade
teacher at Havre de Grace Elementary School in 1953. He taught only several months before
being drafted into the US Army and serving until 1955, returning to teach fifth grade at Havre de
Grace. The next year, he was tapped to be a teaching-principal at Youth’s Benefit Elementary
School where he served for two years before moving to Jarrettsville Elementary as full-time principal for five years. He was principal at the now-closed Aberdeen Elementary for nine years and
spent the final 16 years of his 34 ½ year career with the Harford County Public Schools as principal of Bakerfield Elementary School. Mr. Fry was known as a kind and gentle leader with a
passion for details and a stable presence that served as a model for dozens of future HCPS administrators. Retiring
in 1989, Mr. Fry was recognized as the unofficial “historian” of the elementary schools, having accumulated and
neatly filed directives throughout his tenure, often providing guidance to his supervisors in offering consistency in the
school program.
December 2003
THOMAS E. OWEN—Mr. Owen spent 18 years in the Harford County Public Schools as a teacher, supervisor, and the system’s first Human Relations coordinator; and another six years after
retirement in a variety of counseling and administrative roles. The Louisville, Kentucky native
was touched by the racial separation he saw a young person; and, building on the lessons he
learned as an Eagle Scout, “drifted” into teaching after a positive experience as a student teacher. He taught Core in Baltimore County for five years and became a counselor for an additional five before turning to school administrative as an assistant principal in that county in 1970. On
course to become principal, Mr. Owen’s social conscious was awakened by a human relations
course he took in 1972, eventually being named to organize the human relations office in the
Harford County Public Schools. He taught a human relations course to thousands of HCPS educators, ushered in
Title IX equality for girls in academics and athletics, and dealt with Office of Civil Rights issues. He also served as a
building level instructional supervisor at four schools, coordinated countywide staff development and handled summer school responsibilities. After his retirement in 1992, he has served on many local, state and regional human
rights groups.
JOSEPH M. DESCHAK—Mr. Deschak the son of the first generation Polish coal miner in northeast Pennsylvania, spent 37 ½ years as a teacher and administrator in the Harford County Public
Schools, combining his unfailing sense of humor and “old school” belief in discipline to be one
of the most revered leaders in the history of the school system. Mr. Deschak came out of the
Navy to finish college and to be recruited to teach elementary school at the old Slate Ridge
School in northeastern Harford in 1952. The next year, he moved on to Aberdeen where he and
others taught elementary school in one wing of the then new high school. While there, he was
named assistant principal in charge of the elementary wing before moving to a similar position
at the new Bakerfild School in 1961. He became a principal the following year assigned to Slate
Ridge, then Deerfield, and Oakington (now Roye-Williams) elementaries. After 19 years at Oakington, he closed out
his career in 1989 after a five year stint as principal of Havre de Grace Elementary. Mr. Deschak, who now volunteers in many venues including acting as “Accordion Joe” in a playing and singing effort at a local nursing home,
never forgot his humble beginnings nor the joy in his hardworking community shared with family and friends as he
used humor to build a positive atmosphere at each of his school assignments.
January 2004
JAMES G. SMITH—Mr. Smith, a decorated World War II hero where he won the Silver Star and
fought valiantly at the Battle of the Bulge, taught Physical Education, coached, and was an
administrator for 30 years in Harford County Public School System. Mr. Smith is perhaps best
remembered as the fiery and highly successful coach of the Aberdeen High School football team
for 15 years, a span during which his teams compiled a 101-39-1 record including an undefeated season in 1960. He began his teaching career at North Harford High School in 1950 where
he coached soccer, basketball and boys’ softball as well as starting a track and field program. He
was at Aberdeen from 1955 until 1970 where his teams won back to back state track and field
titles in 1957/1958. Mr. Smith’s students and athletes revered him, but he was just as highly
respected by many of his peers for whom he was a role model. He spent five years as an assistant principal at
Edgewood Middle School and finished his career as a supervisor in the school system’s Transportation Office, retiring in 1980. Mr. Smith, his wife Beth, and their two daughters, Allyn Watson and Sue Hopkins, have compiled 105
years of service to the Harford County Public Schools. Mrs. Watson is the state’s Distinguished Elementary School
Principal for 2003-04, and Mrs. Hopkins is a Bel Air Middle School English teacher.
JACK E. McCRACKEN—Mr. McCracken pitched in the minor leagues for five seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies
farm system, reaching Triple A before a back injury forced him to seek an alternate career. The
native of northern Pennsylvania had earned a Physical Education degree at Gettysburg College
and responded to a job posting announcing an opening for a teaching job at Bel Air High that
included coaching three sports for no extra pay. In 1965, Mr. McCracken began a 35-year streak
of reporting for work every day on time without calling in sick once. He taught and coached at
Bel Air High for 15 years, once winning 33 consecutive league baseball games and capturing 12
county titles. He fulfilled a childhood dream when he was named Athletic Director at the new
C. Milton Wright High School. He was also Physical Education Department Chair and coached
two sports there before being named Supervisor of High School Physical Education, Health and
Interscholastic Athletics programs, building partnerships with area businesses to expand the program. He also made
significant improvements in the number and quality of sports offered to local students while overseeing the move
toward lifetime activities as the staple of Physical Education. Mr. McCracken retired in 1999 and continues as an avid
February 2004
JUNE W. ATKIN — June Williams Atkin spent her entire 33-year Harford County Public School
career at North Harford High School as a Core and English teacher, inspiring two generations of
young people to be the best they could be. Mrs. Atkin, a no-nonsense, pint-sized task master
had a reputation for being able to wilt a non-compliant student with a steely-eyed stare, but she
also became one of the most beloved and highly respected teachers in the history of the school.
Mrs. Atkin taught at North Harford High from the year it opened in 1951 through her retirement
in 1986, interrupted only by a three-year period when she lived in Germany with her husband
who was stationed there while in the Army. She was a stickler for grammar and insisted her students memorize important literary concepts. A native of the Whiteford area, Mrs. Atkin came
from modest circumstances but, with the support of her family, found a way to complete her studies at Washington
College, graduating a semester early and filling a mid-year vacant teaching spot at North Harford High at the age of
20, teaching some students who were barely two years younger than she. She subsequently earned her masters
degree from Johns Hopkins University and became a staunch advocate for minority rights.
LESLIE G. LAWSON — Les Lawson compiled an extraordinary 33-year career with the Harford
County Public School System that lasted from 1965 through his retirement in 1998. Aspiring to
be a dentist, he switched to a biology major in secondary education as a sophomore at Bethany
(West Virginia) College. Recruited to teach in the Harford County Public Schools, he found there
were no secondary jobs and was assigned to teach fifth grade at Jarrettsville Elementary School.
Later, he was named to be teaching-assistant principal at Edgewood (Cedar Drive) and Churchville
elementary schools, before returning to his first love as a biology teacher, first at North Harford
Junior-Senior High School and then at North Harford Middle School when it opened in 1976. Mr.
Lawson and fellow NHMS life sciences teacher Edward V. Goetz (see June 2004 Hall of Fame)
combined to create an series of environmental studies programs at the school ranging from a remote collection center
for the county’s recycling effort to a wetlands project, to a Deer Creek program culminating in a year’s end program in
which about 140 students were taken through a week-long ecological study series taught be experts in a variety of environmental fields. He and another of the school’s biology teachers, Megean Garvin, organized a student-led Ecology
Club. Among Mr. Lawson’s awards was the 1993 Harford and Maryland Soil Conservation Teacher of the Year, the
Maryland Department of the Environment’s Excellence award, and a co-runnerup for the Tawes Award for the
Environment. He was also named the Susquehanna Environmental Center’s Educator of the Year in 1997 and was a
finalist for the Harford County Public School Teacher of the Year award in 1998.
March 2004
SUEANN J. WEST—Ms. West a native of southwest Pennsylvania, spent 35 years as an educator – 30 of them in the Harford County Public Schools as a guidance counselor in the elementary and middle schools. Ms. West used a combination of her naturally caring spirit and a burning desire to provide assistance to young people in meeting the needs of their lives to make a difference for establishing career education as a component of the program. In the middle schools,
she made outstanding contributions as an early proponent of peer mediation and the peer helper
program. Ms. West, who volunteered outside the system with spouse abuse and rape centers,
now, heads a pre-school program at a local church/school.
A.A. ROBERTY—A.A. Roberty came from the coal region of West Virginia to serve his country
in combat during World War II and then found his life’s career as an educator in college. After
a year as a science teacher in Cambridge, he came to Harford County where he was recognized
as an outstanding science teacher during his five years at Bel Air High School in that position.
He also ran the county’s adult education program during three of those years, a position for
which he was tabbed by then Superintendent Charles W. Willis who was so impressed that he
brought Dr. Roberty to the central office in 1956 to create a purchasing office for the school system. He rose quickly to be the system’s first Business Manager, and, in 1962, was named
Assistant Superintendent, a position he held until being named Superintendent in 1970. Dr.
Roberty led the school system through turbulent times for the next 18 years, building and renovating several schools and driving the Harford Public schools to be among the best in the state. He retired in 1988
after 38 years of service, 37 of those years in the Harford County Public Schools.
April 2004
BENJAMIN S. CARROLL— The late Mr. Carroll, a native Eastern Shoreman, began his service
to the Harford County Public Schools in 1938 as Principal of Bel Air High School. In 1942, the
quietly effective school leader was promoted by then HCPS Superintendent C. Milton Wright to
be the system’s only assistant superintendent in 1942. He held that position, overseeing, among
other duties, the buildings and property assets of the school system through his retirement in
1962. Mr. Carroll was also given the responsibility by then Superintendent Charles W. Willis to
take leadership in the creation and opening of Harford Junior College (now Harford Community
College) in a wing of Bel Air High School in 1957. Mr. Carroll was an accomplished poet and
musician who made many contributions to the school system during a time of great growth after
World War II. Mr. Carroll passed away in 1968.
GEORGE J. MAKIN, JR. — The late Mr. Makin was a World War II B-24 bombardier who took
part in 28 missions over Europe, several of them considered near suicide ventures. The native of
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania came to Harford County as an industrial art/auto shop teacher at Bel
Air High School in 1951, a job he held through 1956 before being brought to the second system’s
central office where he worked as a supervisor in the maintenance department. Mr. Makin took a
fierce pride in his teachings and his preparation of students to find meaningful jobs as adults. He
carried that pride with him to his work as a maintenance supervisor where he had responsibility for
budget preparation, planning and execution of the maintenance for more than 50 school buildings
with a combined value of over $400 million, and did contract inspections. Mr. Makin retired in
1988, but remained active in the community until slowed by failing health. He passed away in 1999.
May 2004
PAUL E. BOWMAN, JR.—Mr. Bowman was an elementary teacher, elementary and secondary
school supervisor, associate assistant principal, and supervisor in the school system’s Human
Resources office during a brilliant career that spanned 33 years from 1966 through his retirement
in 1999. Mr. Bowman, a native western Marylander, used his natural good nature and self effacing humor to endear improvement of instruction led him to be the ideal mentor for two generations of young teachers and veteran instructors alike. Mr. Bowman worked his magic through
use of a low key approach that put those under his leadership to ease. During his last three years
with Harford County Public Schools, he became a valuable member of the Human Resources
office, helping to recruit and maintain a viable elementary school teaching force. A humble man
who consistently downplayed his own accomplishments so that other could take credit, Mr. Bowman was, nonetheless, a man of high principles who would not compromise the excellence to which he was dedicated.
DORIS L. WILLIAMS—Mrs. Williams, a native Virginian who grew up in segregated Richmond,
found her calling as educator after she found her first ambition, public relations, was unfulfilling.
Mrs. Williams gained an appreciation for hard work and perseverance from her father, a union
organizer who helped meld white and black labor organizations in the tobacco industry, and from
her mother who was a practical nurse. She answered a newspaper ad for a teacher at Dunbar
High School in Baltimore City where her first experience was in teaching a class that had succeeded in “chasing off” two teachers prior to her accepting the position. Mrs. Williams came to
Harford County to begin an extraordinary 26-year career in 1974, serving as an English teacher and Department Chair at Bel Air High, named to the leadership position in just her second
year. She also served as a writing specialist for a year with the Maryland State Department of Education and with
the Harford County Public Schools before being named an assistant principal at Edgewood High School. In 1990,
she became the first female high school principal in the Harford County Public Schools when she was named to lead
Joppatowne High School. Later, she served as Bel Air High principal and, during the last year—1999-2000—with
the local schools, was Supervisor of English/Language Arts. Throughout her tenure, she was known as much for her
no-nonsense expectations as for her warm and caring spirit.
June 2004
MARY H. BONI—Mrs. Boni taught for 29 years, 22 of those in Harford County Public Schools,
mostly fifth grade at Prospect Mill Elementary School. The native of Minnesota is the daughter
of a Montana cowboy who grew up in the modest circumstances where neither parent had graduated high school nor none of her four siblings attended college. Heavily influenced by librarians in the public library where she worked as a teenager, Mrs. Boni graduated from St. Cloud
Teachers College in her hometown and taught in a school close to the Canadian border for three
years before meeting and marrying her late husband, David Boni, an administrator with the
Bethlehem Steel Company. The couple moved first to Pennsylvania, where she taught for several years, and then to Harford County in connection with Mr. Boni’s job at the Bethlehem
Company’s Sparrows Point plant. Mrs. Boni taught sixth grade for a year at Homestead Elementary and then fifth
grade at Harford at Hickory Elementary for two years before moving to Prospect Mill Elementary School (all because
of teacher reduction force) where she spent the final 19 years of her career prior to retiring in 2000. While at Hickory
then at Prospect Mill, Mrs. Boni initiated the “Patriot” program which had become a staple at most Harford Public
elementary schools. Students are required to memorize and recite important documents of facts about American history, achieving the status of “Patriot” if they are successful. She also used “famous quotations” as a springboard for
many of her lessons. She was a self-described “hard master,” demanding much of her students who adored her for
her caring ways. Mrs. Boni continues as an almost daily volunteer at Prospect Mill.
EDWARD V. GOETZ— Mr. Goetz – who adopted the persona of “Indiana Goetz” based on the
“Indiana Jones” film character, taught life science at North Harford Junior High and North
Harford Middle School for 25 years prior to his retirement in 1998. A native Harford County, he
became an avid outdoorsman as a child growing up in what was, at the time, a rural section of
Aberdeen. He went to college with the idea of being a Federal Game Warden, but, when there
were no jobs available after graduation, “drifted” into teaching as a long-term substitute at Bel
Air High School. He was hired at North Harford Junior in 1973 and moved to North Harford
Middle when the school was constructed in 1976. He taught seventh grade students, teaming
with his wife, ‘Artie’ Goetz, an integrated language arts teacher, on the same team to “double
team” students in making sure they felt good about themselves and to maximize their learning. Mr. Goetz parlayed
his love for the natural world into many programs at North Harford Middle that influenced students to become stewards of their environments. He began a recycling program and an “Earth Day” that quickly evolved into “Earth
Week” at the school. Students took trips to nearby Deer Creek to put what they had learned in the classroom into
action. He and colleague, Les Dawson, also an HCPS educator Hall of Fame member, combined to bring experts to
the school and to the Deer Creek and other off-campus locations, providing their expertise to students. Mr. Goetz’
classes also constructed bluebird boxes, placing many around the NHMS campus and taking some to Aberdeen
Proving Ground. Mr. Goetz passed away in 2001.
WALL OF FAME - Portraits of each Hall of Fame member are on display in the Harford County Board of Education
meeting room located at 45 East Gordon Street in Bel Air, Maryland.
County’s most
recent National
Board Certified
teacher, the will
to see the threeyear
through to its
conclusion may
have come from
her parents.
Edith D. “Edie”
Smith, 27-year
Aberdeen Middle
School art teacher, found out
December, 2003
that the last of CERTIFIED - Edie Smith, a 26-year art teacher at Aberdeen Middle
School, used the National Board Certification process to validate her
portfolio instruction techniques and to prove a forum as a supporter of art educaentries had been tion in the learning process.
approved by the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), becoming the
sixth active Harford County Public School teacher to have achieved the status.
The final endorsement served as validation for a personal staff development process the 59-year-old native of the Netherlands had begun in 2000.
Looking back, the stories her parents told being part of the Dutch resistance during World War II, helping to get downed Allied fliers back to England through a
maze of transfer stations while avoiding Nazi capture, may have helped to sustain
her through the moments when she felt giving up was the more logical course in
her efforts at National Board Certification. To avoid capture themselves, her family had to go into hiding late in the war, risking their lives for the Allied cause.
“My father was a carpenter and he immigrated with our family to New York in
1950 seeking a better life for us,” said Mrs. Smith. “Only Dutch was spoken in
our home – I learned to speak English in school.”
The National Board Certification process involves two major parts – the creation
of a series of portfolios and the taking of a day-long test involving the candidate
providing evidence of being able to apply clear and educationally sound solutions
to practical classroom problems.
Mrs. Smith was successful on the test in her first try, but three of her five portfolios had to be redone. Her final resubmission was completed last spring, leading
to the endorsement by the NBPTS of Mrs. Smith as a National Board Certified
Mrs. Smith said she could not have accomplished her goal without the active support of many of her colleagues at Aberdeen Middle – most notably Assistant
Principal Jim Fulton who provided tangible and emotional support throughout
the process. “My art teacher colleague Roxanne Dodson, Principal Gladys Pace,
Language Arts Chair Ed Mathews, my (former) Supervisor Marianne Chambers,
the computer guys here at school – they and many others gave unselfishly of their
time,” she said.
That Edie Smith became an art teacher in the first place involved a series of coincidences that built on her natural love of the subject. “As a student, I spent a lot
of my time in my regular classes drawing,” said the Darlington resident who lives
there with her husband Mark, recently retired as an Exelon electric company
employee at the Conowingo Dam. “I went to the University of Maryland in studio art with the goal of making my living as an artist.”
She worked for several years in the publicity section of a department store doing
graphics and was a free lance artist before returning to Salisbury University to
pick up her education credits and earn a teaching certificate. She taught one year
in a Milford, Delaware middle school before coming to Aberdeen a quarter century ago.
Having earned her masters degree in Art History at Johns Hopkins, Mrs. Smith
anticipated she might like to go into school administration, earning her advanced
certification in that area. “That process convinced me I wanted to stay in the
classroom – I love teaching and I love this (Aberdeen) community – I’m now
teaching the children of children I taught years ago,” she said.
National Board Certification is good for ten years after which those who wish to do
so may be renewed by completing some additional staff development exercises.
Bill Ekey is top service-learning principal
Edie Smith completes
‘Board’ certification
C. Milton Wright Principal William M. “Bill” Ekey was named the Maryland
Student Service Alliance (MSSA) Service-Learning Principal of the Year for the
2003-04 school year. Mr. Ekey, who returned to lead the county’s largest school
last year after a six-year absence during which he had been a central office
administrator, was informed by the statewide service-learning group in late
February that he had been chosen for the honor and would be recognized during a reception at the US Naval Academy on April 22, 2003.
“We received many exceptional principal nominations from local school systems, but our reviewers were extremely impressed with Mr. Ekey’s level of commitment and direct involvement with service-learning in C. Milton Wright High,
Harford County, and across the state,” said Luke F. Frazier, executive director of
the MSSA.
“The sentiment that describes the purpose of my life is best summed up in something that the British author George Eliot said, ‘What do we live for, if not to
make life less difficult for each other’,” said Mr. Ekey of his selection as ServiceLearning Principal of the Year. “I’ve tried to use the few talents I possess to
‘make life less difficult’ for the students, parents, and teachers whenever I can.
“That seems to me to be the heart of service learning,” he added. “We are
teaching our students to help others, to improve life for our fellow travelers on
this planet.
“It’s easy for me to encourage and support service activities because those are
the kinds of actions that define me,” continued Mr. Ekey. “I’m most comfortable
and receive the greatest personal rewards helping others through my role as a
school principal, but I recognize and appreciate the many ways in which service
is provided by others.”
Nominated by C. Milton Wright service-learning coordinator Linn Griffiths, Mr.
Ekey was called an “advocate” for all that is connected with the statewide program that, in Harford and other counties, incorporates the appreciation for and
application of service to others by students. “Bill continually seeks knowledge
to better understand the components, best practices, and recent research on service-learning so that he is able to better support teachers,” said Mrs. Griffiths.
“He is a vocal advocate in both the county and the state and has spoken at a
variety of functions, recognizing and congratulating teacher and student Service
Stars as well as encouraging others to be part of the program.”
Mrs. Griffiths said Mr. Ekey was instrumental in the implementation of a “matrix
system” for high schools to ensure that all students were participating in servicelearning in all of the disciplines. “He holds teachers accountable for conducting
service-learning and personally reads all of the report forms,” his nominator
said. “Several years ago, Bill was the county leader and liaison for service-learning and was directly responsible for service-learning (being instituted in the
“Under his leadership, the county has created a service-learning web page,”
Mrs. Griffiths added.
The C. Milton Wright teacher and service learning building coordinator said it
was Mr. Ekey who created a state recognized service-learning celebration for
Harford County, encouraging and recruiting teacher participation. “He has supported and preserved service-oriented teacher duty periods, therefore giving significance to these duties,” Mrs. Griffiths said. “He is a positive problem-solver
who is not easily discouraged.”
Mrs. Griffiths concluded, “From the beginning, Bill Ekey has been a strong advocate and supporter of service-learning at both the county and state levels. To
quote a Harford County Service Learning Fellow, ‘Bill cares and believes in us’.”
Mr. Ekey, 53 and a 32-year HCPS veteran, said, “When I leave this life, I will
take nothing with me, except, perhaps, my conscience. While I’m here, I can
give money, time, clothing, and food. But, in the final analysis, what I have to
give is myself.
“What I can do every day is to ‘make life less difficult’ for other people — service to others isn’t just
important – it’s all
there is,” concluded
Mr. Ekey.
SERVICE - Bill Ekey not only talks service, he pitches in. Here, the C. Milton
Wright High School principal assists in
the planting of a tree last fall on the
school campus during Beautification
Day activities. The veteran school
administrator has been named
Maryland’s Service Learning Teacher of
the Year.
. 2-5
10 -
‘Ginny’ Hinckley is 2004 Math Teacher of the Year
As a young girl growing up in Havre de Grace, Virginia M. “Ginny” Hinckley watched her
third grade teacher tear open holiday gifts from her students. It was at that moment she
remembers being inspired to become a teacher.
Now, more than 40 years later, after realizing that early dream and putting together a 31year career as a master teacher in the Harford County Public School System, the Havre
de Grace Elementary School Math Specialist has been honored by a statewide group for
helping the county’s math program reach new heights.
Last month, Mrs. Hinckley was named the co-recipient of the Maryland Council of
Teachers of Mathematics’ Outstanding Elementary School Mathematics Teacher award
for 2004. She received her award at the Turf Valley Country Club in Howard County on
September 14th. The Harford teacher was one of eight recipients of the award – two in
each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as at the college/university level.
“The award is due, in part, to the support of the staff at Havre de Grace Elementary,” said
Mrs. Hinckley of the honor which marks the third consecutive year a Harford County educator has been recognized with the elementary award.
After changing her major from mathematics to Elementary Education, Mrs. Hinckley
received her bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State College in 1974 and, later, while a
teacher at North Harford Elementary School, she earned her master’s degree at Loyola
College. While at Loyola, she came under the tutelage of Dr. John Bath. That experience, Mrs. Hinckley says, “Changed my career by demonstrating a model of math instruction using manipulatives.
“It began my desire to provide staff development for other teachers,” she continued,
adding that she received permission from her principal to do staff development for other
teachers in the school. She began her HCPS career as a fifth grade teacher at the now
closed Highland Elementary School in Street and moved with the school to North
Harford Elementary when it opened in 1993.
Following her five-year stint at North Harford Elementary, Mrs. Hinckley taught at William
S. James Elementary for two years before moving to Emmorton Elementary where she
helped pioneer the opening of that new school in 1990. While there, she became part of
the group that was commissioned to determine the math book which would be used for
instruction in the county’s elementary schools.
After volunteering to take the results to then county math supervisor, Joe Mills, she was
invited to be a part of the countywide Math Committee. The new assignment allowed her
not only to teach math, but to write math curricula and be at the decision-making level
for the program.
Nominated by her principal, Kathleen Burr, Mrs. Plotycia, 48, was observed by an
expert from the Maryland State Department of Education in September and last
month was informed that she had been chosen as a K to fifth grade recipient of the
Council’s “Excellence in Mathematics Teaching” award. She and other winners were
honored at a recent luncheon held in Gaithersburg.
Her ‘number lady’ song and dance was one of the innovative methods that convinced
the Math Council that she should be rated as one of Maryland’s top elementary mathematics teachers, marking the second straight year that a Harford teacher won the
honor. Last year, Scottie Vajda, Emmorton Elementary’s math specialist, won the
prestigious honor.
Last school year, Mrs. Plotycia received two small grants to purchase math manipulatives for all first grade classes and supplies to create take-home math kits for her
students. She also co-chairs the school’s mathematics committee and was instrumental in planning a school-wide mathematics week which culminated in a family math
In her essay written in connection with the award application, Mrs. Burr noted that
Mrs. Plotycia’s classroom is often used by supervisors throughout the county as a
place where new or struggling teachers can observe best practices in math instruction.
Abingdon Special Educator Ann Bradford worked with Mrs. Plotycia when special
education students were placed in the general first grade program as part of the
Inclusion effort last year. “It didn’t take long for me to realize team-teaching with Mrs.
Fran Plotycia beat phobia to be
Plotycia would be the highlight of my day – I couldn’t wait to go to her classroom for
math,” said Mrs. Bradford.
In her essay which was part of the application, the mother of three and husband of
Aberdeen High School Planetarium teacher Greg Plotycia, said she begins math
instruction by determining at what level her students are and how best to take them
to the next level.
She asserted that mathematics instruction should provide students with multiple ways
to see number relationships, once using the example of cutting up a pizza to determine fractions.
“I think my negative experience as a young student in math makes me do all I can to
teach math in a better and more understandable way,” Mrs. Plotycia said. “To see
my kids get a new concept and beam when they learn it and know that they love
math really makes it worthwhile.”
And, to watch the Abingdon Elementary School second grade teacher captivate her
students during their math lessons with her combination of skill and flair for the dramatic – which often involves her singing and dancing to get across key mathematic
concepts – you’d think for all the world she was a math marvel. So convincing has
been her conquering of a math phobia which dates to her own elementary school
days that the local teacher has been chosen by the Maryland Council of Teachers of
Mathematics as one of its State Math Teachers of the Year for 2003.
While still a classroom teacher, she served as part of the Frederick Consortium, a group
of math teachers from around the state who wrote questions used in the Maryland School
Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP), becoming that group’s leader. She also
worked with the Maryland Association of Supervision and Curriculum Developers. In
1996, she was appointed countywide elementary math specialist, a position she held until
“Volunteering pays off,” she said of the lesson she learned that resulted in her being
named the county’s elementary math teacher specialist in the mid-1990s. “If you’re willing to take that step and then follow through by doing what you volunteered to do, you
find yourself involved with very fulfilling things.”
When her teacher specialist position was eliminated two years ago in the school system
leadership reorganization, Mrs. Hinckley was offered several positions at the school level.
She elected to “go back home” and serve at Havre de Grace Elementary as math specialist because of the school’s “excellent staff” and the challenges of being at a school serving a significant number of students identified with “special needs.”
Now a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Mrs. Hinckley mentors fellow teachers at Havre de Grace Elementary. Marian Stewart, a teacher of students
who are economically disadvantaged, says, “Ginny Hinckley is truly the most outstanding math teacher I’ve ever worked with. She is very generous with her time, knowledge,
and talent; not only with students, but with teachers.”
Sarah Morris, the school system’s Math Supervisor, nominated Mrs. Hinckley for the Math
Council award. She pointed out that, during model lessons Mrs. Hinckley teaches for
classroom teachers, she provides personal
attention to each student and uses visuals
to better explain lessons. The use of calculators, whiteboards, and manipulatives
plays a key role in Mrs. Hinckley’s “hands
on learning” classroom, Mrs. Morris said.
Mrs. Hinckley will retire at the end of this
school year. She and her husband, Curtis
Hinckley, instrumental music teacher at
Fallston Middle School, will move to HANDS ON - ‘Ginny’ Hinckley demonstrates a lesFlorida to begin the next chapter of their son in April Kenney’s fourth grade classroom at
Havre de Grace Elementary School.
Mrs. Plotycia, who two years ago received National Board Certification after a yearlong, demanding personal development program, said she is very appreciative of the
Math award and the validation that comes with it, demonstrating that she is, indeed,
making a difference for her students.
The oldest of the Plotycia children, Julie, will graduate this year from Nazareth
College in Rochester, New York
with a degree in physical therapy, while the couple’s twin
daughters, Rachel and Sarah,
are now ninth graders at Bel
Air High School.
2003 Math Teacher of the Year
The thought of taking a math course still fills Francine Plotycia with dread. That,
despite the fact she took a six-credit, graduate-level math recovery course in 2003
and has taken advanced algebra, statistics, and geometry as part of her 30-credits
beyond masters program.
By Joseph Gonzales
PROUD CLASS - Francine Plotycia taught the
same group of students in 2003-04 she had the
year before as first graders. The ‘looping’ process
allows her to follow up on the instruction she
provided a year ago with the current second
Lee Squillacioti’s composition had
‘world premier’ at CMW
Last year, then 16-year-old Lee M. Squillacioti, a junior at C. Milton Wright High
School, said he will never forget the day – it was December 17, 2000 – when he
downloaded his first piece of musical composition software. Last spring, less than
four years later, the young musical prodigy is about to have his three movement
composition played by his school’s 42-member eleventh/twelfth grade orchestra in
a world premier which was performed in the C. Milton Wright auditorium May
“In my 28 years as a orchestra director I’ve had students arrange music, but I’ve
never had one to compose a piece that will be performed in public,” Sheldon Bair,
who teaches instrumental music at Southampton Middle and C. Milton Wright High
schools, said last spring. “Lee has real talent and great potential – his music is what
I call ‘listener friendly’ and entertaining.”
Entitled simply Dance Suite, the 12 minutes of music will be played in Rigaudon
(moderate), Saraband (slow), and Waltz tempos. Lee Squillacioti’s composition
was to have been accompanied by an adult composer’s new work, creating two
“world premiers.”
“It’s just overwhelming – I really never thought what I composed would be played
by an orchestra so soon,” said Lee, a member of his school’s French National
Honor Society and a 3.5 GPA student who is also an All-County clarinet player. “I
guess I’ve written about 25 pieces – most of them for piano – that I’ve finished –
it’s just something I really enjoy doing.”
Mr. Bair calls young Squillacioti’s music “very advanced” and said he provided Lee
only with technical guidance in finishing the Dance Suite. “Lee is not, actually, a
student of mine,” said Mr. Bair who has more than 200 students and conducts six
student orchestras.
The young composer said he began writing Dance Suite last December, finishing it
in February, following his meeting with Mr. Bair about a month before it was completed.
Lee, a native of Massachusetts who moved to the Vineyard Oaks area near Bel Air
with his family as a third grader, said he has always loved music, though he never
gave writing music a serious thought until he downloaded that composition program as an eighth grader. He credits his third grade music teacher at Hickory
Elementary, Carole Pearce (now at Norrisville Elementary), as having inspired him
to develop that love. And, he said Jennifer Carr-Famous, former HCPS music
teacher now living in Arizona, got him interested in band instruments as a fourth
Young Squillacioti said he gets the inspiration for his compositions in a variety of
ways – from taking a long walk on a nice day to his admitted “day dreaming” during duller moments of his days in class.
“I listen to a lot of music – most classical and especially Tchaikovsky,” said Lee.
“My favorite modern composer is John Williams who did the music for Indiana
Jones, ET, Star Wars, Home Alone, Jaws, Schindler’s List, and a number of others.”
An accomplished performer himself, Lee has performed in four C. Milton Wright
musical productions and had a role in Harford Community College’s production of
Footloose. He is also a member of the CMW multi-cultural club known as Satori.
The son of APG Research Engineer Richard and Southampton Middle School
Secretary Beth Squillacioti has an older sister, Andrea, a 2003 graduate of C.
Milton Wright who was enrolled last
year at Harford Community College.
EPA honors local schools for indoor air quality program
The Harford County Public School system was among 22 school districts nationwide
selected to receive the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Indoor Air Quality
(IAQ) Tools for Schools 2003 National Excellence and Special Achievement Awards. The
award recognizes exemplary indoor air quality programs and commitment to providing a
healthy learning environment for students and staff.
The Harford County Public School System was recognized for its efforts in working in partnership with the American Lung Association to establish IAQ guidelines for team formation, walk through inspections, and reporting complaints. The system was also cited for
allowing flexibility to meet the needs of individual schools.
Steve Johnson, acting deputy administrator for the federal EPA, presented the award to
Jeffrey C. Ayers, then director of facilities management for HCPS and other members of
his department during the fourth annual IAQ Tools for Schools (TfS) National Symposium
held in Washington, DC on October 26, 2003.
In 1995, the EPA developed the voluntary IAQ TfS Kit and Program in response to government studies highlighting the deteriorating conditions of the nation’s schools and the
alarming rise in asthma cases, particularly among school and preschool age children.
Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year, an EPA official said.
“Today, one out of every 13 school-aged children has asthma,” the spokesman said. “The
IAQ TfS Kit is a flexible, comprehensive resource designed to help school staff identify,
resolve, and prevent IAQ problems and is available to schools at no cost.”
Currently, an estimated 10,000 schools and school districts across the country are utilizing
the Kit, the spokesman said.
“EPA is proud to recognize these select schools and districts for their efforts in implementing
outstanding and effective IAQ programs,” said Elizabeth Cotsworth, director of EPA’s office
of radiation and indoor air. “They made the health of their students and staff a priority.”
Ms. Cotsworth added that the programs of the winning 22 school districts can serve as a
model for other schools to address indoor air quality and provide a healthy and productive learning environment.
According to the award information, Harford County Public Schools has an effective communications plan in place which involves the school community including training on
indoor air quality and maintenance, and parent notification through newsletters, and cable
access programming. “This school district’s indoor air quality efforts have been successful due to the effective communication and partnerships within the community,” the award
documentation said.
In addition to HCPS (the only school system in Maryland to be recognized), other school
districts honored were Adams Twelve Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colorado;
Bellingham School District #501 in Bellingham, Washington; Blount County School
System in Maryville, Tennessee; Blue Valley Unified School District #229 in Overland
Park, Kansas; Cle Elum-Roslyn School District in Cle Elum, Washington; Clovis Unified
School District in Clovis, California; Millcreek Township School District in Erie,
Pennsylvania; and Perkis Public Schools in Sandusky, Ohio.
Also, Radnor Township School District in Wayne, Pennsylvania; Rochester Public Schools
in Rochester, Minnesota; Salt Lake City School District in Salt Lake City, Utah; The School
District of Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, Florida; Waterford Public schools in
Waterford, Connecticut; Westborough Public Schools in Westborough, Massachusetts; and
West Carrollton City School District in West Carrollton, Ohio.
For more information on EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program, visit
Harford wins GFOA budget
honors for second year
For the second year in a row, the Harford County Public School Budget Office earned
the prestigious Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and
Canada (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation award in 2003. The honor, presented on November 10, 2003, represents a significant achievement by the recipient,
reflecting the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting, a spokesperson for GFOA said.
The award recognized the school system’s FY 2004 operating budget, produced by former HCPS Budget Director John L. Cox, Senior Budget Analyst Jeannine Ravenscraft,
and Budget Analyst Mary Edmunds.
In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized
guidelines for effective budget presentation designed to assess how well the budget
serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide, and a communications device.
PRODIGY - Lee Squillacioti is a 16-year-old
junior at C. Milton Wright whose original
composition, ‘Dance Suite,’ was performed
by the school’s orchestra at a ‘world premier’
on May 17.
Since the inception of the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards program
in 1984, approximately 900 entities have received the honor. According to the organization, award recipients “have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting
and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.”
CMW’s Rabe is named
national award winner
Gary C. Rabe believes it’s not what students do in his
class that matters, it’s what they take out of that class to
impact the rest of their lives that makes all the difference.
For 28 years the C. Milton Wright High School
Engineering, Architectural Design, and Foundations of
Technology teacher has been laying the groundwork for
his students to help them build successful features.
Now, the unassuming veteran teacher has won a national award of excellence, demonstrating that others outside
the county have noticed what his students and colleagues
have understood for a long time. Mr. Rabe has been
named the winner of the 2003 Iota Lambda Sigma
Grand Chapter Award for Distinguished Teaching. The
national award is given to one person in the United States
each year from nominations of chapters across the
The Technology Education teacher and
CMW Department Chair was honored late
this past spring by the honorary professional society which concentrates on
workforce development. The organization recognizes individuals for excellence
in various endeavors in workforce education and development. Nominees must
be classroom and/or laboratory teachers
who engage full time in teaching either
Technology, Technology Education, Trade
and Industrial Education, Business
Education, Home Economics, Health
Occupations, and/or other Career and
Technical Education programs and services. The teacher must provide outstanding leadership in one or more of the
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by my
peers and colleagues,” said Mr. Rabe. “I
am humbled by being in such esteemed
Mr. Rabe said that his message to students in each of his
28 years in the classroom has been the same. “I tell them
to take what you learn today and apply it to your future
and be successful,” he said. “It gives me enormous pleasure when my former students return and share the successes they have achieved both professionally and personally.”
Mr. Rabe, who has sponsored the Technology Student
Association in Harford County since 1992, has been a
consistent mentor for students entering the highly competitive Maryland Engineering Challenge. His students
have achieved at an outstanding level with eight of them
having won or placed high in the Bridge Building
Competition, enabling them to take part at the international level. Two of his students have won the Maryland
Engineering Challenge Cargo Aircraft Design competition.
In 2002, his robotics design team won the Maryland
Robotics Design competition. Three of his teams have
taken Honorable Mentions in that competition. More
importantly, as far as he is concerned, hundreds of his
students have pursued careers in technology engineering
and architecture.
Mr. Rabe was instrumental in helping persuade County
Executive James M. Harkins and the County Council to
fund a Computer Aided Design lab for C. Milton Wright
Three years ago, he was inducted into the NU field chapter of the University of Maryland of Iota Lambda Sigma.
He has taught at C. Milton Wright since 1981.
inehart named nation’s top Civil War teacher
Two years ago, Bob Rinehart’s eighth graders at Southampton Middle School raised more than $1,700 to
preserve Civil War battle sites.
But, the 2003-04 Team 8B students want a step further in piling up close to $3,000 in contributions for the effort and
even more recognition has come to them and their teacher as a result.
Early in February 2004, Mr. Rinehart was notified that he had been selected as the Civil War Teacher of the Year by the
Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), a national recognition. The tenth-year Social Studies teacher went to Nashville,
Tennessee on April 24th to pick up the award during the Trust’s annual conference.
Jennifer Rosenberry, Education Coordinator for CWPT, said the award recognizes Mr. Rinehart’s “extraordinary dedication” in protecting the country’s Civil War heritage. “You have been chosen for your outstanding efforts to get school students involved in Civil War battlefield preservation, and (for) your ongoing participation in CWPT events and projects,”
Ms. Rosenberry said.
Led by a cadre of about nine students, the more than 100 members of Team 8B took part in a series of activities aimed
at educating their classmates, parents, extended families, and the community about the need to preserve some of the fast
disappearing Civil War sites as a way of consecrating the sacrifices made by Americans more than 140 years ago.
Students reported before or after school to cut out and sell paper Lions — the school’s mascot — realizing 25 cents for
each sale earlier this winter. Students also penned and mailed letters to community leaders and elected officials, explaining the project and soliciting donations.
LEADERS Congressman Wayne
seated, and
S o c i a l
S t u d i e s
teacher Bob
some of the Southampton Middle School students who have been
leaders in the Civil War preservation project. The students are, from
left, kneeling, Michael Bishop and Troy Shaman; and, standing, Lily
Mitchell, Karat Keened, Bryan Hill, Lindsay Carpenter, Kevin Halley,
Juliana Finamore, and Megan Kennedy.
Some students — including Megan Kennedy who garnered $50 from a Haunted House in her neighborhood — came up
with other ways of spreading the word and collecting money for the cause.
Many of the letters written to elected officials and others resulted in written responses encouraging the youngsters to keep
up the effort. But, one of the letters — this one to First District Maryland Congressman Wayne Gilchrest — resulted in a
personal visit to the school. Rep. Gilchrest, a former Kent High School History teacher currently seeking his eighth term
in the US Congress, addressed the assembled 8B classes on February 27, 2004.
Bryan Hill, one of the student leaders in the preservation campaign, said he became involved because he was touched
with stories of Americans fighting each other on their home soil. “History needs to be preserved so people won’t repeat
the past,” said young Hill with wisdom beyond his years. “All kinds of students have been involved in this thing.”
Another of the student leaders, Juliana Finamore agreed, adding, “People need to see what happened and preserving the
battle sites is the best way.”
Fifty percent of the funds raised through the Southampton Middle School effort will remain in Maryland to preserve sites
in the state while the remaining 50 percent will be used in areas deem appropriate by the Civil War Preservation Trust.
Mr. Rinehart and his wife, Katharine, a former Harford County Public School math teacher, live in Forest Hill and have
one child, Hannah.
LEADERS - Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, center, visited Southampton
Middle School on February 27 in response to a letter from students
in Bob Rinehart’s 8B class about a project to preserve Civil War battle sites. Mr. Rinehart, right, has been named Civil War Preservation
Trust’s 2004 National Civil War Teacher of the Year. The two were
joined by Southampton Middle Assistant Principal David Craig,
Mayor of Havre de Grace and former Maryland State Senator.
Joan McVeigh Hayden’s eleventh grade Towson High School Home Economics teacher,
Rose Rubin, made school fun, interesting, and relevant. It was then, as a 16-year-old, the
young woman who had always wanted to be a teacher, decided she wanted to be just like
Ms. Rubin.
Last spring, 32 years later, evidence she has achieved her goal, a fact her students have
known for the 27-years she has taught middle and high school, has now become evident
to a wider audience as the Bel Air High School Family and Consumer Sciences teacher has
been chosen as the Harford County Public School Teacher of the Year for 2004-05. Mrs.
Hayden, 48, had her name called as the county’s honored teacher at the conclusion of the
Tenth Annual HCPS Teacher of the Year banquet held at the Bayou Restaurant in Havre
de Grace on Thursday, April 22nd.
Mrs. Hayden teaches child development courses at Bel Air High, providing instruction to
slightly more than 100 high school students a day as well as 16 three-and-four-year-old ‘Lil’
Bobcats’ who take part in a 2 1/2 hour rotating laboratory experience with her older students. She also oversees the school’s Future Teachers of America (FTA) chapter.
“Family and Consumer Sciences teachers are child-centered, family-oriented by the nature
of what they teach,” said Mrs. Hayden of the warm and nurturing way she goes about dealing with her students that helped win the hearts of the 14 judges who selected her from
among the 19 nominated to be next year’s HCPS Teacher of the Year. “Many of my students will become teachers, pediatric nurses, day care providers or go into other areas
where they will work with children.”
Joan Hayden is ’04-05 HCPS Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Hayden and her husband of 25 years, Dennis, have two children, both in college.
Erin, then 20, a 2001 graduate of Bel Air High, was enrolled at Harford Community
College working toward her special education teaching degree. She works fulltime at John
Archer School as an inclusion helper. Kristen, 17, a 2003 graduate of C. Milton Wright
High, was a freshman at the University of Maryland/Baltimore County where she is studying History/Political Science.
Mrs. Hayden taught Home Economics at four Baltimore County schools after graduating
from the University of Delaware as a clothing and textiles major, starting with Milford Mill
High School before moving on to Old Court, Stemmers Run, and Dumbarton middle
schools. She came to Bel Air High ten years ago when the family moved to Harford
Many of Mrs. Hayden’s students earn nine to 12 college credits for the classes they take with
her. She said only about five percent of her students are boys, a factor she attributes to the
stigma attached to males as primary care givers for children. She added that she hopes to
be able to chip away at that stereotype in the coming years.
In addition to her regular classes, she oversees several students in independent study who
work with young children.
Nominated by one of her senior students, Rachel Pardew, Mrs. Hayden was selected by the
panel of judges that included principals, former Teachers of the Year, students, parents, and
business people, to be among the top ten finalists. As a result of the vote of the judges, she
received the top average score and was announced as the Teacher of the Year by
Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas and then Board President Robert S. Magee at the conclusion of the April 22nd banquet/program.
That night, she told the other nine finalists, their guests, and others among the 175 in attendance that she was humbled by the award and honored to be considered among those
master teachers who were nominated for the honor.
“My mother graduated high school at 16 and college at 18, but she lived in an era when
you either became a secretary or a teacher,” said Mrs. Hayden of the options open to
women two or more generations ago. “I never doubted that I would be a teacher and, after
my experience with Mrs. Rubin, I knew this is the field I would be going into.”
Mrs. Hayden is the youngest of three sisters, one now a Title 1 teacher (impoverished students) in Anne Arundel County and the other an attorney in Minneapolis. Her late father,
John McVeigh, was the longtime general manager of Baltimore radio station WFBR-AM
when it was one of the dominant outlets in the region.
An avid quilter, Mrs. Hayden also
serves on the school’s curriculum
and safety committees; and is a
member of the Board of
HAPPY MOMENT - The 2004-05 Harford
County Public School Teacher of the Year,
Joan Hayden, receives the plaudits of those
in attendance during the Tenth Annual
HCPS Teacher of the Year banquet at the
Bayou Restaurant April 22. Mrs. Hayden, a
27-year teacher, has taught Family and
Consumer Sciences at Bel Air High School
for the past ten years.
Emily Schmidt’s artwork is cover for MSDE card
When State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick went
looking for artwork to grace the cover of the Maryland State
Department of Education’s 2003 annual holiday card, there was
no doubt the one it would be. In the spring of 2003, the 13-year
head of the state’s public school system saw a snowy, forest scene
done in tempera paint by then eight-year-old North Harford
Elementary third grader Emily Schmidt, and she didn’t have to
look any further.
Dr. Grasmick instructed her staff to inform the Graceton Road
youngster that her artwork, showing a forest of white birch with
cardinals and blue birds flitting from a snowman to the snowaccented trees, would be the cover for the greeting that was sent
to friends of Maryland education throughout the world this holiday season.
“I was very surprised and it made me happy,” said the daughter
of North Harford Elementary fifth grade teacher Lisa and local
businessman Jerry Schmidt. “I’ve always liked to paint and
Emily’s teacher Lisa Campbell said she could tell from the start of STATE OF ARTWORK - Emily Schmidt’s artwork was
the class project this past January that her prize pupil was creat- used to grace the cover of the official Maryland State
Department of Education’s holiday greeting card for
ing something extraordinary.
2003. Emily and her art teacher, Lisa Campbell, proud-
The project had students working 50 minutes, one-day each for ly display the work the student did last year as a third
three weeks, saw them start with a plain piece of 12” by 18” gray grader.
construction paper, use white paint with darker shading to depict
the snow on the floor of the forest, and then color in the white
birches with their darker accents and limbs. After that, students put their individual touches
on the artwork, with Emily placing a snowman to the right of her work, a birdfeeder hanging from one of the limbs and the two brightly-colored birds.
“We’re all very proud of Emily, it is quite an honor,” said Mrs. Campbell.
Emily, a straight ‘A’ student, is also an accomplished athlete, playing youth basketball, soccer
and lacrosse. In addition, she sings in the Jarrettsville United Methodist Youth Choir and
plays handbells there. She also plays flute and sings in her school’s chorus.
Emily has a younger brother, Kyle, who is a student at North Harford Elementary.
Aaron Nuzman, a
2004 senior at
School, was the
only college-bound
student in Maryland
and one of just 38 in
the United States to
achieve a perfect
36, the highest possible
PERFECT - Aaron Nuzman was the only stuDecember
2003 dent in Maryland and one of just 38 nationwide
national test admin- in the class of 2004 to score a perfect 36 on his
istration of the ACT ACT college entrance exam.
Assessment. About
2,000 Maryland students and more than 332,000 from across
the nation completed the ACT college entrance exam on
December 13, 2003.
Nuzman among elite to
record perfect ACT score
Mr. Nuzman, son of Dwayne and Susan Nuzman of Aberdeen,
received a letter from ACT chief executive officer Richard L.
Ferguson pointing out that he should have a choice of the
widest possible range of future educational options. ACT
scores are accepted by virtually all US colleges and universities.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and
science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. A student’s
composite score is the average of the four test scores. For purposes of comparison, the average composite score for the
national high school graduating class of 2003 was 20.8.
Planning was completed for Science/Math Academy
In the school year 2003-2004, the result of years of work and planning came together
with the Science and Mathematics Academy (SMA) established as part of the new
Aberdeen High School which opened its doors on August 30, 2004 to its first class.
Seventy three students applied to be part of that first SMA class and 50 were selected.
Eight of those chosen were provided with a summer course in Algebra so that all SMA
students would be at a level that would allow them to accelerate their mathematics
coursework. Since the students came from all eight HCPS middle schools and several
private schools, it was felt that team building would be of great value, said SMA
Coordinator, Donna Clem. Team building at Harford Glen held prior to the opening
of school helped develop bonds needed for the successful transition of the students to
the Academy, she added. In addition, lines of communication were opened with the
parents, Mrs. Clem said. The faculty was hired and immediately began the process of
developing a professional learning community to support the concepts of the SMA.
This faculty included two teachers who specialize in mathematics, two in science, two
in English, one in Social Studies, and one in the Health curriculum. During the spring
and throughout the summer, these teachers developed curricula specific to the SMA.
The SMA applied for and received full membership in the NCSSSMST which is a consortium of magnet schools specializing in math, science, and technology.
Meanwhile construction was completed so that the facility was ready for use on the first
day of school. Details for the operation and administration of the SMA were worked
out during ’03-’04. A schedule was developed to meet the demands of the program.
Orders were placed for supplies, curricular materials, furniture, and equipment which
included computers, Vernier probeware, microscopes, and TI-84 Silver Edition calculators. HCPS provided a transportation plan
that ensured that all the SMA students would
have means to and from Aberdeen High
School. Partnerships were developed with
ARL, Raytheon Corporation, and Battelle
Corporation with seeds planted for others to
eventually join Finally, through the efforts of
school system Coordinator of Partnerships,
Nancy Spence and a number of corporate volunteers, the SMA continued to develop a comprehensive marketing plan.
Zello & Fry won McNeely Award
Two veteran Harford County Public School Physical Education teachers — Karen Zello
and Bonnie Fry – were recipients of the 2003 Simon McNeely Award, emblematic of
“consistent dedication and leadership to the profession.”
The awards were presented on October 31, 2003 by the Maryland Association of Health,
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Association during the group’s annual convention in Ocean City, Maryland.
In 2003, Ms. Zello, a 23-year teacher in the local system, had been at Bel Air Middle
School for 14 years, serving the previous seven as assistant intramural director at the
school. She began her education career at Edgewood Middle School where she taught
for five years before moving to Edgewood High for the next nine, serving as department
chair there for six years. She was also varsity lacrosse coach at Edgewood High for 12
years and varsity field hockey coach for eight while coaching cross country for a year.
The graduate of Frostburg State University has her masters from Towson University, specializing in health education. She has won many awards during her career including the
Governor’s School and Family Fitness Award. Her work with Bel Air Middle School’s
Hoops for Heart program has brought the school top fundraising honors for several
years. And, she won secondary curriculum awards in 1999 and 2001 for developing
positive attitudes & perceptions in the gymnasium group project as well as Hoops for
Ms. Zello has also netted the President’s Council of Physical Fitness & Sports recognition
in 1993-95 and 1995-97; as well as the MAHPERD award for exemplary program –
National Honor Roll Demonstration Center in 1995-97.
She is a mentor for the Harford County Public Schools Physical Education program and
participant in statewide physical education study circles held in the county.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Fry had taught for 27 years in the Harford County Public Schools – two
at Havre de Grace Middle, two at Bel Air High, and the past 23 at C. Milton Wright High
School. She has a masters plus 30 credits beyond from Towson University.
Mrs. Fry had been named Outstanding Female Athlete while attending Harford
Community College, has been awarded the Bel Air Athletic Club Community Fitness
Award, the MAHPERD Merit Award, and is a member of the HCC Sports Hall of Fame.
At C. Milton Wright High, she has worked on development of the Unified Sports Program
(where students in the regular education program work with those who have special
needs) and has created a semester course in Exerobics, in addition to putting Wellness
Walking into the curriculum. Mrs. Fry also initiated the first Varsity Club at the school.
Minnesota children endured 29 hour bus ride to visit Church Creek
When Abby Schulltheis sent a birthday party invitation to her friend Katelyn Westlund last spring, she had no idea the chain of events
she would set in motion.
Abby and Katelyn are second grade pen pals, having corresponded for most of this school year from Abby’s home school of Church
Creek Elementary in Harford County to Katelyn’s Cass Lake/Bene Elementary on the Leech Lake Ojibwa nation Indian reservation
in northern Minnesota. While Katelyn lives just outside the huge reservation, 82 percent of the children who attend the kindergarten
through fourth grade school are Ojibwa. Most have never been off the reservation and even fewer had ever set foot outside the state
of Minnesota.
But, Abby’s invitation for her May 24th birthday party at “Chuck E Cheese” set Katelyn’s teacher Roxanne Wimme and dozens of others at Cass Lake/Bene to thinking, “what if?” The simple question, followed by dozens of fundraisers and a gift of $6,195 from the
Tribal Chairman Peter White, made it possible for Abby and nine of her classmates to accept the invitation.
Tuesday, June 1st, the students and their eight adult chaperones arrived in Harford County at 5:00 a.m. after an exhausting 29 hour
bus ride. Three hours later, with no sleep and only a quick refresher at a local motel, the group arrived to a tumultuous welcome by
Abby’s teacher Debbie Robinson and her class along with Principal Mike Steeg and others from the school.
In all, the trip cost the Cass Lake/Bene contingent $10,000, but Mrs. Wimme says the investment will be well worth it.
“Our kids go to a school that is the poorest, economically, in the state, where 50 percent of them dropout, and live in an area where
crime is the worst in the state,” said Mrs. Wimme. “I’m hopeful that this trip will show our young people the possibilities that exist outside the reservation.”
As for Mrs. Robinson, she said the impact of the visit from the
Ojibwa children is one that cannot be calculated. “This is one of
those school experiences I know I’ll never forget, and I’m sure our
students won’t either,” said Mrs. Robinson.
DANCE - The Ojibwa children showed their
ceremonial dancing dress and performed one
of the dances they do at pow wows. Sharon
Northbird helps her daughter Kristie
Northbird, eight years old, explain the significance of the dance.
GIFTS - Following the traditions of the Ojibwa Nation, the
children from Cass Lake/Bene Elementary School brought
gifts to their hosts at Church Creek Elementary. Teachers
Sue Nelson, left, and Debbie Robinson, joined by Mike
Steeg, accepted the gifts from, left to right, Terri Jo Adams,
Jasmine Morris, Trisha Chastek, Kimberly Howard, Kristie
Northbird, Katelyn Westlund, Nicolas Rairdon, Dylan
Chase, Angel Rosillo, and Amber Guinn.
Being the only two people to help the President of the United States and the First Lady light the National Christmas Tree would
be a big deal for anyone at any age. But, when you’re ‘just a regular kid’ and you’re ten years old, the chance to be the featured children to join with the most powerful man in the world and his wife in throwing the switch is just about as good as it
Edgewood pair helped light National tree
That’s exactly what happened for then Edgewood Elementary School fifth graders Andre’ Joyner and Maggie Stuempfle
Thursday night, December 4, 2003 as they teamed with George and Laura Bush to light the country’s most prestigious holiday tree. The two, members of the Edgewood Boys and Girls Club, had won an essay contest through the nationwide organization to secure the invitation to take part in the lighting ceremony.
“It was very exciting,” both youngsters said in unison about the experience which began days before their trip with the news
their essays had been chosen as winners.
“I was so excited and laughing so hard that I almost tripped over the brick wall around our carport,” said Maggie after being
told by Edgewood Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Michelle Crawford of her good fortune.
It was only when they got to the White House and met Mr. and Mrs. Bush that the two, their families, and the Boys and Girls
leaders realized Andre’ and Maggie would be the only two young people to help light the famous tree. Each had been allowed
to take five people with them on the trip by van to Washington, D.C. from the Aberdeen Boys and Girls location. Maggie took
her mother and father, sister Katie and two of her grandparents; while Andre’ took his mother, father, sisters Ashley and Janell,
and his uncle.
The “Pageant of Peace” ceremony marked the 80th anniversary of the lighting of the National Christmas Tree with every president since Calvin Coolidge in 1923 having presided over the ceremony. Andre’ and Maggie came forward at the conclusion
of the December 4th ceremonies with President and Mrs. Bush to press the button that turned on the 13,000 colorful lights of
the tree. The program was broadcast live nationwide on the C-Span cable network and will be rebroadcast on Christmas Eve.
Maggie’s winning essay centered on the free choices she has at the club she attends regularly adjacent to the Cedar Drive
school in Edgewood. Andre’ discussed how everyone is treated with respect at the Edgewood Boys and Girls Club and all are
encouraged to live by the ‘Golden Rule.’
“Andre and Maggie were chosen for this event by the White House staff because of their outstanding participation as Club
members of the Boys & Girls Club in Edgewood,” said Darlene Lilly, director of program operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs
of Harford County.
Both students received personalized gifts — a Jacob Lawrence Art Kit with mixing palette, tubes of paint, brushes, a book on
Jacob Lawrence, an activity book, paper, and a picture frame — in special White House wrapping paper as a reward for having taken part in the ceremony. The gifts were wrapped in gold paper with the Presidential Seal.