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Finalists Named for 2018-2019 Maryland Teacher of the Year

Statewide Winner Announced in October

BALTIMORE – Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, today announced the names of seven finalists for 2018-2019 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

“Maryland’s teachers play a vital role in the lives of our students—educating, encouraging, and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow,” said Governor Larry Hogan.  “Being chosen as a Teacher of the Year finalist is a tremendous honor and a testament to the quality of teachers we have here in Maryland. I offer my sincere congratulations to all nominees.”

Dr. Salmon agreed that being a finalist is an exciting honor for each one of the teachers.

“These seven outstanding educators and role models exemplify the excellence displayed by teachers throughout Maryland,” said Dr. Salmon. “Our State’s educators surpass expectations by building personal connections with our students to help ensure success both in and out of the classroom. We applaud our finalists for going above and beyond their duties.”

The finalists are: Heather Carnaghan, Anne Arundel County; LaQuisha Hall, Baltimore City; Tina Thomen, Carroll County; Staci Lamb, Cecil County; Dr. Richard Warren, Jr., Somerset County;  Reneé Warfield, Talbot County; Jeanine Horst, Washington County.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from a number of key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. All finalists were chosen based on a rigorous set of state and national criteria that include teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement. The finalists were selected from a group of 24 local teachers of the year, representing the 24 Maryland school systems.

The 2018-2019 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore on October 12, 2018. The winner will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.

Joshua Carroll, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher at Anne Arundel County’s South River High School, is the current Maryland Teacher of the Year. Maryland has celebrated its Teachers of the Year Program and participated in the National Teacher of the Year Program for over 28 years.  In the last 10 years, Maryland has had five national finalists, with three going on to become National Teachers of the Year.

Presenting sponsors of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program are Comcast, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonald’s Family of Maryland and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors are BGE, Lockheed Martin, Maryland Public Television, NTA Life and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

The selected Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, to be announced next April. Maryland’s Teacher of the Year will also spend the coming year as an educational speaker and advisor in Maryland and will be honored by the President at the White House next spring. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will also participate in several national meetings and conferences.

Additional information on the seven 2018-19 finalists:                       

Anne Arundel County – Heather Carnaghan, Monarch Global Academy, Social Studies, Grade 8

Heather Carnaghan is a National Board Certified teacher with thirteen years of experience. She holds a Bachelor’s from West Virginia Wesleyan, a Master’s from Loyola and an Administrator certification from McDaniel. Heather began teaching in a Title I school. She currently teaches and designs curriculum for 8th grade Collaborative Student Inquiry, a project-based learning class that is unique to Monarch Global Academy. Heather coordinates the AVID program, leads the hiring team, and is a member of the Leadership Team. She is committed to building a culture of kindness and growth within her classroom and school community.


Baltimore City – LaQuisha Hall, Carver Vocational-Technical High School, English Language Arts, Grades 9 – 12  

LaQuisha Hall has dedicated 15 years to teaching English in Baltimore City. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Elizabeth City State University and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Morgan State University. LaQuisha mentors, via Queendom T.E.A. (The Etiquette Academy), a program she founded to empower young ladies. An award-winning, best-selling author of multiple books, LaQuisha facilitated publications of over 70 scholars in anthologies, including One Nation, One Heart—winner of the national Indie Authors Legacy Award for Youth Authors of the Year. LaQuisha encourages educators to practice self-care because they cannot pour into students from an empty cup.


Carroll County – Tina Thomen, Manchester Valley High School, English, Grades 9 – 12

Tina earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from UMBC in 1992. In 2006, she earned a Master of Science in Education and in 2015 a Master of Liberal Arts, both from McDaniel College. Tina, a National Board Certified Teacher, worked in the finance industry before discovering a genuine passion for teaching. She has served as English Department Chair, lead curriculum writer, AP Language and Composition Reader, and advisor for the Newspaper Club and National English Honor Society. She mentors student teachers and is a lead professional developer. Tina has the rare gift of providing support and high expectations for all levels of students.


Cecil County – Staci Lamb, Elkton High School,  Language Arts, Grade 9

Staci Lamb is committed to engaging students, sparking creativity, and empowering other educators. She is the Freshman Class Advisor and coordinates the Elkton High House System, an initiative designed to promote student leadership, positive behavior, and school culture. She is a member of the school improvement team, presents school and county professional development on topics such as engagement and classroom management, and shares her innovative strategies on her teacher Instagram page.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education from University of Delaware and is pursuing her master’s degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University.


Somerset County – Dr. Richard Warren, Jr., Crisfield High School and Academy, Science and S.T.E.M., Grade 8             

Dr. Richard Warren is passionate about inspiring, connecting, and helping students stretch their potential in unimaginable ways! By applying technology and real-world learning experiences his students are engaged in amazing learning environments. He has yielded record breaking gains on state assessments and was a state finalist in the Samsung STEM contest. He is a member of the PBIS committee and the Academy for Leadership in Education. Dr. Warren is an expert in teacher retention, working closely with his district’s teacher mentoring program. He holds a B.S in science, M.A in teaching, and Ed.D in educational leadership from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.


Talbot County – Reneé Warfield, Easton High School, ESOL/Spanish, Grades 9 – 12

Renee Warfield is a relentless student advocate who launched the sheltered and dual language curricula at Easton High School. She was a Fulbright-Hays recipient, MSET presenter and is currently a Discovery Education Leader and Dorchester Library Board Trustee. Her mission is to promote community collaboration and mutual advocacy among language students, to incite their continual inquiry and civic engagement. Renee founded a student language service club and facilitated a bilingual graduation preparation program. She has a B.A. in Spanish, M.A. in TESOL, and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Salisbury University. She leads county-wide PD for ESOL and writes bilingual curricula for Algebra, Spanish, Biology, Government and English.


Washington County – Jeanine Horst, Cascade Elementary School, Grade 5

After three decades in a family business, Jeanine Horst embarked on a new career in teaching. She earned an Associate’s degree from Hagerstown Community College, Bachelor’s degree in Education, Master’s degree in Education, and Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Frostburg State University. Currently a 5th grade teacher at Cascade Elementary School, she coordinates STEM education to advance the next generation of innovators. She coaches Battle of the Books and Math 24 clubs to heighten student’s knowledge. Jeanie is a member of the School Improvement Team, Health and Wellness Committee, a National Honor Scholar and Teacher of Promise awardee.