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2019-2020 WCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists

Posted March 18, 2019

HAGERSTOWN, MD (March 15, 2019) – The five finalists for Washington County Public Schools’ (WCPS) 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year learned of their honor during visits by superintendent of schools Dr. Boyd Michael and other WCPS staff. One educator will be chosen to succeed 2018 Teacher of the Year, Jeanine Horst from Cascade Elementary School, and will be announced at the annual dinner and recognition at Fountain Head Country Club on April 24, 2019. The winner represents Washington County in the State Teacher of the Year program. The county program is a partnership with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Finalists for the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year:

  • Jennifer Babb – 3rd grade teacher at Jonathan Hager Elementary School: Jennifer has taught for 15 years in Washington County. She was selected to host Governor Larry Hogan, First Lady Yumi Hogan and state superintendent of schools, Dr. Karen Salmon in her classroom in 2016. Jennifer is active in her church, as a mentor and tutor for students and makes donations with her students to non-profit organizations in the community. She says, “I believe that all students can learn and achieve. I tell them frequently that they will not improve unless I push them to their highest ability. I establish relationships with my students because relationships equal engagement and engagement equals learning.”
  • Joshua Edwards – Visual Arts teacher at Clear Spring High School: Josh has taught for WCPS for 14 years. He has been nominated three previous times for Teacher of the Year and this is his third selection as a finalist. Among many professional honors and certifications locally and statewide, Josh was chosen as a 2017 Outstanding Educator Using Technology Award winner and has received multiple honors from the Maryland Art Education Association. He says, “I strive to build authentic relationships with my students where I can share my passion for art and students challenge themselves to create, reflect and even fail. It is in the process that my students discover a deeper understanding of content and push forward with their ideas and creations.”
  • Samantha Farioli – 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and Magnet Coordinator at Boonsboro Middle School: Samantha has taught in Washington County Public Schools for two years and elsewhere in Maryland for ten years. She was a previous Teacher of the Year nominee in Frederick County Public Schools. Samantha and her students have given back to the community through projects for Community Action Council, Valentines for Veterans and the Cold Weather Shelter. She says, “I value surpassing goals and lifelong learning, diverse perspectives, collaboration and making connections. Goal setting, reflection and developing a passion for learning leads to challenging students to go further than the limit they set for themselves.”
  • Kimberlie Grabenstein – 4th grade Magnet teacher at Williamsport Elementary School: Kimberlie has taught for eight years in Washington County Public Schools and an additional four years elsewhere in Maryland. She is a previous Teacher of the Year nominee and a nominee for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Outside of the classroom, Kimberlie is involved in Battle of the Books, Math Olympiad and as a Scout volunteer. She says, “I believe it is my job to instill the love of learning in every child I teach by keeping students actively involved and expecting every child to perform to the high expectations I set in order to prepare the child for real-world experiences.”
  • Ashley Vascik – Social Studies teacher at Boonsboro High School: Ashley has taught for ten years for WCPS. This is the fourth time she has been nominated as Teacher of the Year and each time has been named a finalist. Ashley has earned National Board certification in social studies and was named a Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History. Outside the classroom, her activities include managing social media for Boonsboro High and serving as an advocate for Frostburg University as a member of the school’s alumni association. Ashley says, “Teaching has given me the greatest reward I could ever ask for: a career of service to my students, school and community that reminds me every day it truly is more about what you give than what you receive.”