Delaware’s 2021 Teacher of the Year will be named Oct. 13

Twenty of the state’s top teachers will be honored at a celebration next month, when one of them will be named Delaware’s 2021 Teacher of the Year.

The winner will be announced virtually on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. Watch on Comcast Channel 28 or online via DETV and Delaware Department of Education’s social media channels. Funding for the award ceremony is provided by a grant from Voya Financial. The announcement of Teacher of the Year will come at the end of the night.

The candidates were nominated by their districts or the Delaware Charter Network during the 2020 calendar year because of their superior ability to inspire students with a love of learning, exemplary demonstration of professional traits and strong sense of dedication and devotion to teaching.

Each nominee submitted a detailed online application exemplifying his or her teaching philosophy. Five Delaware Department of Education staff members independently evaluate each application. 

Because COVID-19 prevented the typical classroom observations that are part of the process, the teachers instead were interviewed by a panel of former State Teachers of the Year and department staff members. Taking into consideration the ratings from the application review and interviews as well as a recorded presentation by the nominees, another independent panel of non-department judges then selects the one teacher who will serve as the 2021 Delaware Teacher of the Year.

The teacher chosen to become the State Teacher of the Year will become Delaware’s nominee in the national program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation.

By action of the General Assembly, the Delaware Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of his or her students, as well as a personal grant of $3,000. Additionally, all nominees will receive a $2,000 grant from the state.

The 2021 District/Charter Teachers of the Year are:

Appoquinimink: Karen Speciale of Brick Mill Elementary (Spanish)

Brandywine: Judson Wagner of Brandywine High (physics and engineering)

Caesar Rodney: Beth Schmidt of Stokes Elementary (First grade)

Cape Henlopen: Jorge Moreno Jaen of Milton Elementary (First grade Spanish immersion)

Capital: Julie Eaby of Booker T. Washington Elementary (Fourth grade)

Charter Network: Melissa Tracy of Odyssey Charter (high school social studies)

Christina: Jeffrey Dombchik of Christiana High and MSHA (instrumental music/grades eight to 12)

Colonial: Khayree Bey of McCullough Middle (health/ physical education)

Delmar: Kate Hakeem of Delmar Middle (English learner)

Indian River: Brandon McCabe of Sussex Central High (agriculture structures and engineering)

Lake Forest: Amber Hobbs of North Elementary (kindergarten)

Laurel: Lindsay Parsons of North Laurel Early Learning Academy (prekindergarten)

Milford: Kimberly Webb of Lulu Ross Elementary (fourth grade)

New Castle County Vo-Tech: Anthony Reid of Howard High School of Technology (mathematics)

POLYTECH: Cameron Sweeney of POLYTECH High (social studies)

Red Clay Consolidated: Kimberly Stock of McKean High (English/English learner)

Seaford: Kathi Adams of Blades Elementary (kindergarten immersion)

Smyrna: Holly Hufford of Smyrna Middle (agricultural science)

Sussex Tech: Kelli Gehrke of Sussex Tech High (digital publishing/design)

Woodbridge: Jessica Leone of Woodbridge Middle (agriculture)