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MCBRE names Champions for Children

The Montgomery County Business Roundtable (MCBRE) annually distinguishes nine Montgomery County teachers who have gone above and beyond in the classroom. MCBRE, a non-profit organization whose goal is to solve educational problems and lead students into meaningful careers, recently selected the Marian Greenblatt Fund Winners/MCPS Teachers of the Year, Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher, MCPS Volunteer Champion, and MCPS Rising Star Teacher of the Year for 2013.

The teachers selected came from diverse backgrounds: elementary school teachers, high school teachers, humanities teachers and science teachers were represented, among others. However, their unifying factor was their commitment and dedication to their students and their contributions to the education, parent, and business communities of Montgomery County.

The teachers selected as the Marian Greenblatt Fund Winners and MCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists were Dawn Charles, an English teacher from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Steve Katz, a math teacher from Westland Middle School, and Cristina Ulrich, a Kindergarten teacher at Brookhaven Elementary School. The honorees received funding for their respective schools from the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund and Cristina Ulrich was further honored as the MCPS Teacher of the Year in April.

Dawn Charles, one of this year’s MCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists, was given this honor because of her work with new teachers. In an interview with the Gazette, Charles says “[she tends] to be the person asked for help” by new teachers because “[she’s] taught ninth grade since 2005.” Charles enjoys her role as a mentor for the teachers at Bethesda-Chevy Chase, but her favorite part of her job is the “fabulous kids” she teaches.

The Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award (sponsored by the Washington Post) was given to twenty exceptional teachers in the DC Area who create outstanding educational environments for their students. One of the honorees, Jacqueline Fludd Peng, teaches in our very own Montgomery County in Paint Branch High School. Peng, a veteran social studies teacher, noted her students’ apathy when it came to dense subjects like the French Revolution. In an interview with the Post, Peng states her belief that “learning must be relevant, instruction must be engaging and achievement must be attainable.” By using innovative and inclusive approaches, Peng sparked the interest of her students and the attention of her colleagues at Paint Branch, who nominated her for the award.

The 2013 Volunteer Champion for Children is Susan Burkinshaw from the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Association. Burkinshaw serves as the MCCPTA Treasurer and MCCPTA Healthy and Safety Committee Co-Chair.

Finally, Adam Stephens was honored as the MCPS Rising Star Teacher of the Year for his work as a music teacher in Montgomery Blair High School. While Stephens is only in his second year as an instrumental music teacher, he has already created and implemented a new course about world drumming.

By distinguishing these Montgomery County teachers, MCBRE encourages an educational environment that is dynamic and strives for excellence. Every year, MCBRE moves one step closer to fulfilling their vision of an educational system where “all students graduate prepared and inspired to thrive in college and in careers” with these awards and the hardworking teachers who have earned them.

Article by Sharika Dhar, SAC press correspondent.

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