BALTIMORE —Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship, of Cecil County, was named Maryland’s Teacher of the Year Friday night during a dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore.
She is an English teacher at Rising Sun High School in Rising Sun, Md.
Christina Hammer-Atkins, Washington County's 2012-13 Teacher of the Year, was one of the seven finalists for Teacher of the Year.
Hammer-Atkins is a second-grade magnet teacher at Boonsboro Elementary School, which is a magnet school for global awareness and world languages.
“I’m completely humbled to be here and at this venue,” Hammer-Atkins said following the ceremony. “As a teacher, you don’t wake up one morning and think, ‘I want to be the Teacher of the Year.' You just think, 'I want to be the best teacher I can be,' because the students deserve that.”
Hammer-Atkins said her friends were more nervous than she was, when it came time for the announcement.
The other finalists for state Teacher of the Year were from Carroll, Charles, Howard, St. Mary's and Talbot counties.
A panel of judges from Maryland education organizations selected the finalists. The criteria the finalists were measured against included teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement.
Oral interviews with the finalists were conducted.
The winner receives cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities and a 2013 Ford Focus donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.
As county Teacher of the Year, Hammer-Atkins received $500, a $5,000 classroom upgrade package and the use of a 2012 Honda Accord for a year courtesy of Hagerstown Honda.
Hammer-Atkins had been teaching in the county for seven years, and 17 years total, when she was named county Teacher of the Year.