Six Baltimore County Public Schools teachers and one principal have been recognized with district awards from the BCPS Office of Visual Arts through the Maryland Art Education Association (MAEA). In addition, two BCPS visual arts teachers have been nominated for state recognition.
Since they cannot be honored in person at this time, the Office of Visual Arts surprised the honorees with the news during virtual faculty meetings, classroom pop-ins, and post-observation meetings. The award recipients will be formally honored by MAEA at event to be held in 2021.
“We are honored to recognize these amazing educators for their service and dedication to their students, schools, and field of art education,” said Sherri Fisher, BCPS coordinator of visual arts. “Each of them truly understands the power of art to shape human potential.”
A list of BCPS teachers to be honored with district recognition follows – along with comments about them from Fisher and BCPS visual arts supervisor Ryan Twentey:
BCPS Career Art Teachers of the Year
Marta Biddinger, Deer Park Elementary School
“Always a step ahead, Marta Biddinger has recreated her entire teaching process in this virtual environment but did so without changing any of her style! … Marta’s leadership in her school and throughout the visual arts education community has been crucial this year, testing software and developing video tutorials and universal classroom management tips and techniques for new and veteran teachers alike.” – Twentey
Molly Schappel, Perry Hall Middle School
“Molly makes things happen! For the past seven years, she has championed and developed one of the most beloved service-learning programs in BCPS art classes, Kindness for Paws. Through Molly’s partnership with the MDSPCA and leadership, students throughout BCPS and beyond submit artwork of adopted animals. Last year over 4,000 student artworks were donated. … She is a true champion of the power art has to inform and improve the lives of others.” – Fisher
Ginger Cain, Kenwood High School
“As department chair of a large department…, Ginger manages a multitude of tasks with grace and respect, directing objectives while encouraging and motivating others to go beyond what they thought they could do. … Ginger has brought the same thoughtfulness and dedication to curriculum writing, having built a significant part of this year’s remote learning units to compassionately connect with students … regardless of the situation they may be in.”– Twentey
BCPS Novice Art Teachers of the Year
Natovian McLeod, Colgate Elementary School
“In her first five years with BCPS, she has quickly become a model teacher, working as a curriculum writer and leader in incorporating contemporary art in the elementary art room. This year she launched B.A.T.A., an affinity group for art teachers of color in BCPS. Natovian has presented on anti-racist and culturally responsive practices in art at the district and state levels to resounding praise.” – Fisher
Christina Snyder, General John Stricker Middle School
“Her classroom manner with students is honest and engaging. She helps students find their voice in the art room, honors their differences, and makes learning fun. She brings this knowledge and connectedness to her work in curriculum development and mentorship. In her first five years with BCPS, her joyful work ethic has made her a tremendous asset to our community.” – Fisher
Ariana Mygatt, Parkville High School
“Bringing new views to students and opening the way they perceive the world around them has been at the forefront of Ariana’s teaching ever since she came to BCPS. Her commitment to her students’ ability to be independent artists flows through every interaction, giving them the knowledge and skills they need to see hidden messages and contexts that truly direct and guide their lives.” – Fisher
BCPS Administrator of the Year
Dwight (Jerry) Easterly, Battle Monument School
“The challenges of leading a public special needs school this year are more intense than ever, asking administrators to make informed decisions on topics never before considered. Dwight “Jerry” Easterly takes on these challenges with years of experience, but also an instinctive ability to connect with the students and families of Battle Monument School to what they need most. This understanding recognizes that all K-12 students at Battle Monument need art and the tremendous impact it brings to their happiness and skills development.”– Twentey
Two other BCPS teachers— Taylor Boren of Logan Elementary School and Lindsay Miller of Towson High School – have been nominated by the Visual Arts Office for state awards. Recipients of those awards will be notified in December.