Frederick County Public Schools announces the five teachers advancing as finalists for the 2019-2020 FCPS Teacher of the Year Award, the county’s most prestigious award for teachers. Every school in FCPS is asked to nominate at least one outstanding teacher every year to be selected as the county’s Teacher of the Year. This year, after several stages of review that included interviews and submitting essays and other materials, FCPS has narrowed the field to five outstanding finalists.
Leslie Byrd, Linganore High. In addition to teaching math, Ms. Byrd has served in numerous leadership roles ranging from chairing the math department to leading the first-year academy ninth-grade team. She mentors teacher interns and participates in the Educator Effectiveness Academy, the FCPS Vanguard Teacher Leadership Program, and her school’s Continuous Improvement Team. She has taught Algebra I and II, Advanced Algebra, Intermediate Transitional Algebra, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus.
Michael Franklin, Catoctin High. Mr. Franklin teaches physical education and chairs the department at his school. He also teaches Fitness for Life though the FCPS Virtual School, coaches baseball, coordinates the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge, and chairs the ROAR Club. He has earned numerous awards including 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.
Lydia Kowalski, Tuscarora High. Literacy specialist since 2005, Ms. Kowalski has also chaired the English department and worked as an FCPS English learner coordinator. She launched her school’s National English Honor Society in 2015 with seven students and raised enrollment to 100 students, serving as the group’s advisor. She diagnoses literacy needs, co-teaches reading intervention, recommends instructional strategies, provides professional development, and supports school-based literacy activities.
Matthew McVay, Monocacy Middle. Teaching history to sixth graders, Mr. McVay also developed Accelerated Learning Practice goals for the sixth-grade team. He mentors teacher interns and is principal of the 2019 Fun Activities in the Summertime Program at Monocacy Middle School. When teaching at Oakdale Elementary, he helped the school win $5,000 in a jingle contest to purchase chrome books and I-pads. He participates in the Vanguard Teacher Leadership Program, Educator Effectiveness Academy, and School Improvement Team.
John Yoho, Brunswick High. Since 2014, Mr. Yoho has taught career and technology education (CTE) courses such as Foundations of Technology, Foundations of Computer Science, Microsoft Certification, Introduction to Business, Management and Entrepreneurship, and Accounting I. He has chaired the department since 2018, organized the first Frederick County Millionaire’s Club, coaches basketball and golf, participates in the Vanguard Teacher Leadership Program, serves on the CTE Advisory Council, and teaches Introduction to Business through the FCPS Virtual School. [He is not related to Board of Education member Karen Yoho.]
FCPS will announce the winner of the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year award later this spring. FCPS’s current Teacher of the Year is Timothy Snyder, who teaches art at Urbana Middle School.
A list of 2019 nominees and their photos are online at www.fcps.org/toy.