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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178
Dr. Maureen Montgomery, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32135

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Superintendent of Schools, Dr. J. Scott Smith, would like to announce the outstanding employees that have been recognized for their service and dedication to St. Mary’s County Public Schools.

Ms. Irene Hall, Food Service Manager at Spring Ridge Middle School, has been selected as the Educational Support Professional of the Year award winner.  The Educational Support Professional of the Year award was established in 2009 to recognize the essential role support staff has on the success of the school system by fostering a positive learning environment for students. Ms. Hall has been employed with St. Mary’s County Public Schools for ten years. 

Ms. April Ryan, Art Teacher at George Washington Carver Elementary School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary’s County Public Schools for the Maryland Teacher of the Year program.  Ms. Ryan has been employed with St. Mary’s County Public Schools for a total of six years.  She will compete against other teachers from across the State of Maryland for the Maryland Teacher of the Year Award.  Ms. Ryan holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree, with certification in Visual Art, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.   

Ms. Jennifer Rea, Science Teacher at Esperanza Middle School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary’s County Public Schools for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year program.  Ms. Rea has been employed with St. Mary's County Public Schools for thirteen years.  She was a finalist for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award competing against other teachers from public and private schools throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  Ms. Rea holds a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education and Literacy from Long Island University/C. W. Post Campus and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with Honors from Stony Brook University. 

Ms. Janet Fowler, Principal of Greenview Knolls Elementary School, has been selected as the representative from St. Mary's County Public Schools for the Washington Post Principal of the Year program.  Ms. Fowler has been employed with St. Mary's County Public Schools for eighteen years, the last eight in the role of principal. She was a finalist for the Washington Post Principal of the Year Award competing against other principals from public and private schools throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Ms. Fowler holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership in Teaching with a concentration in Administration, Supervision and Reading from the College of Notre Dame and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education PreK-Three from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. 

Ms. Laurel Dietz, Assistant Principal of Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School, has been selected as the Leader of Excellence award winner.   The Leader of Excellence award was established in 2018 to recognize the essential role administrative or supervisory staff has on the success of the school system by fostering cooperation between the school or school system and the community.  Ms. Dietz has been employed with St. Mary’s County Public Schools for twenty years, the last five in the role of Assistant Principal.  Ms. Dietz holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Towson University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7, 2021, we not only thank our teachers, but principals, administrative and support staff as well.  Every employee makes an important contribution to the success of our students.  Ms. Hall, Ms. Ryan, Ms. Rea, Ms. Fowler and Ms. Dietz will represent the school system along with all nominees for the Educational Support Professional of the Year and Outstanding Educator, and other St. Mary’s County Public Schools’ staff at a virtual Staff Recognition Ceremony on May 13, 2021.