Zinnel is Teacher of the Year 2019

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Chef Charlene Zinnel received accolates as 2019-20 Teacher of the Year at the April 2 awards reception.

EAST NEW MARKET — An air of anticipation permeated the room at the East New Market firehouse on April 2. Seats were filled and the crowd waited eagerly to hear who was named Teacher of the Year and who was voted 2019 First-Class Teacher of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year Program, initiated nationally in 1952 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, recognizes exemplary experienced teachers and outstanding first year teachers in Dorchester County and the state of Maryland. Individuals nominated as First-Class Teacher of the Year must be in their first year of teaching.

Mistress of ceremonies Robin Mackert, assistant human resources administrator, said about teachers: “I believe that their work demonstrates a level of dedication our teachers have to the students and the passion that they have for their profession.”

Charlene Zinnel, Dorchester Career and Technology Center, was named Teacher of the Year. An accomplished chef, Ms. Zinnel grew up on Long Island and has degrees in culinary management, and hotel and restaurant management and completed graduate work in curriculum and instruction.

She has taught culinary arts for 26 years, the last 13 of which were in the Career and Technology Center. “Chef” will represent Dorchester County in the Maryland Teacher of the Year event in the fall. She said, “I have the greatest opportunity to teach, guide, and mentor students to not only learn a valuable skill but to be successful in their communities and in life.”

Teacher of the Year candidates and their schools included: Andrew Bishop, C-SDHS; Stacey Brown, Mace’s Lane Middle School; Christie Carels, South Dorchester School; Rebecca Cullings, Hurlock Elementary School; Melissa Haugh, Vienna Elementary School; David Higgins, Choptank Elementary School; Katelyn Koch, Warwick Elementary School; Hilary Leas, Maple Elementary School; Amanda Mueller, North Dorchester High School; Katelyn Nabb, Sandy Hill Elementary School; Jolene South, North Dorchester Middle School; and Charlene Zinnel, Dorchester Career and Technology Center.

The winner of 1st Class Teacher of the Year was Kathryn Adams. Ms. Mackert said, “Ms. Adams is a teacher in training; not to keep with her first graders but to compete in the Eagleman Triathlon in June … but it will certainly help the stamina to manage a classroom of 6-year-olds.”

A Dorchester County native who graduated from Cambridge-South Dorchester High School (DSDHS) in 2012, Ms. Adams received her BS degree in elementary and early childhood education and a Masters degree in education and reading specialties from Salisbury University. Ms. Mackert quoted the winner, “I want to give my students the feeling that my kindergarten gave to me — the feeling of being encouraged and loved no matter what the circumstances.”

Finalists for First-Class Teacher of the Year included: Kathryn Adams, Sandy Hill Elementary School; Gabrielle Dolansky, Warwick Elementary School; Michael Dorrenbacher, C-SDHS; Carly Drankiewicz, Mace’s Lane Middle School; Gabrielle Harvey, Choptank Elementary School; and Tracy Mills, Maple Elementary School.

Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diane Mitchell quoted comments about the numerous qualities that make great teachers. She said, “It is the people not the program that determines the quality of the school.”

School board president Glenn Bramble noted, “Teachers mold the future of society one student at a time.” Mr. Bramble was joined at the head table by: Vice President Phil Rice; board members Laura Layton and Sheri Hubbard; Dr. Mitchell; Director of Operations Beth Wilson; Director of Schools and Instruction Regina Teat; Director of Student Operations Arcelius Brickhouse; East New Market Mayor Caroline Cline; and Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley.

Speakers included: Elizabeth Geisinger, Dr. Benedita Gomes, Evelyn Renkwitz, East New Market Mayor Caroline Cline, Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, and Delegate Johnny Mautz.

Chef Zinnel will compete in the state-wide Teacher of the Year program in the fall.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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