Four Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) teachers have won Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund, which recognizes teachers for excellence in motivating and educating students. The three Veteran Teacher Award winners now become the finalists for Montgomery County Teacher of the Year. The fourth award is given to a first-year teacher.
The teacher selected as Teacher of the Year will be surprised with the announcement at the Third Annual Champions for Children Gala on Wednesday, April 20, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel. The Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE) sponsors the event.
Winning Veteran Teacher Awards are Kimberly Oliver of Broad Acres Elementary School, Ernest O’Roark of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, and Shelly Niverth of Viers Mill Elementary School.
The fourth Greenblatt recognition, the First-Year Teacher Award, goes to Jennifer Harne of North Bethesda Middle School.
This is the 17th year the Greenblatt Awards have been given.
Kimberly Oliver – Broad Acres ES
Widely recognized for inspiring students, parents, and staff alike, Kimberly Oliver has been a kindergarten teacher at Broad Acres Elementary School since 2000. She achieved National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification last November and, through her leadership in professional development, is encouraging the 13 teachers pursuing certification this year. As team leader during the school’s restructuring process, Oliver worked with other early childhood educators on effective instructional strategies that helped result in Broad Acres meeting or exceeding all federal requirements for the 2003 and 2004 school years. She has been a teacher trainer for two years, helping others implement the new kindergarten curriculum, and a mentor teacher this year.
Ernest O’Roark – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MS
With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Ernest O’Roark is recognized as an outstanding leader and master teacher who engages his students. A leader for the seventh grade team, social studies department chair, and longtime member of the Instructional Leadership Team, O’Roark has taught at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School since 1986. He has created video productions for the school, including a presentation on Brown v. Board of Education last year, written curriculum materials, and created the “Dream Team” to recognize students who strive to do their best. O’Roark has spent the past three summers in San Diego as principal writer for the web-based World History for Us All, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Shelly Niverth – Viers Mill ES
Shelly Niverth’s work with students, parents, and colleagues is recognized as contributing greatly to student achievement gains. In December 2004, those gains resulted in Viers Mill Elementary School being named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. A teacher at Viers Mill since 1994, Niverth has taught first and second grades, been a Reading Initiative/academic support teacher, and is now a fourth grade teacher. She played a critical role in developing the school’s Reading Comprehension Monitoring Tool, which monitors student mastery of specific reading indicators. Her impact as a coach and mentor is widespread. Several of her student teachers have gone on to take positions at Viers Mill.
Jennifer Harne, First-Year Teacher Award – North Bethesda MS
Jennifer Harne, a health teacher at North Bethesda Middle School, is this year’s First-Year Teacher Award winner. Recognized as the kind of teacher that every student should have and every principal wants on staff, Harne joined the North Bethesda Middle School staff in January 2003. She quickly took on a leadership role as after-school activities coordinator, supervising activity sponsors, collaborating with parents, and working with students to make sure they get home after the activities. Harne is a member of the Guidance Advisory Committee, which advocates for student needs. Taking her own learning as seriously as that of her students, she is enrolled in the Skillful Teacher course and has taken several Praxis exams.
NOTE: Members of the news media may schedule interviews with the award winners by calling Broad Acres ES at 301-431-7616, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MS at 301-353-8080,Viers Mill ES at 301-929-2165, or North Bethesda MS at 301- 571-3883.