Delmar’s Shane Morton is Teacher Of The Year

Delmar Elementary School’s Shane Morton, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher, was named the 2019-20 Wicomico Teacher Of The Year on Thursday night at an annual banquet at The Fountains in Salisbury.

Morton, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher in her 23rd year, strives daily to provide learning opportunities for her 4- and 5-year-old students that engage the interest of children, involve parents and the community, and build understanding and appreciation for everyone’s cultures. Asked in her writing prompt to describe her mission as 2019-2020 Wicomico Teacher Of The Year, Morton said, “In Wicomico County we must have R.I.CE. (Recruitment, Inclusion, Community Partnerships, and Engagement)” to build a more diverse workforce in Wicomico Schools, to strengthen connections with the community, and to engage students with performance-based tasks at all grade levels, starting with Pre-Kindergarten.

“I am committed to incorporating inclusive and engaging curriculum for the students of our county. It is my commitment to the teachers of Wicomico County to become an advocate of teacher development and recruitment,” Morton wrote. “As a teacher in Wicomico County, watching my students walk proudly across the stage at graduation continues to ignite my passion for education.”

Her goals fit neatly with the goals of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, as shared by the superintendent in her “Imagine 2022” report to the community: increasing the percentage of students who enter Kindergarten ready to learn, raising the high school graduation rate, and recruiting and retaining a high-performing teaching workforce.

“It will be my goal to increase our recruitment efforts to bring teachers to Wicomico County who reflect the backgrounds of our diverse student populations. I would like to reach out to the Multicultural Affairs department at colleges and universities to establish relationships for recruiting opportunities,” Morton said.

“I aim to help drive curriculum development that is culturally inclusive and represents all students in Wicomico County,” she said. “We will train teachers to use more immersive educational opportunities. Incorporating our students’ experiences, cultures and backgrounds will create a motivated student.”

The new Teacher of the Year will begin her year in style, arriving at Delmar Elementary School shortly after 9 a.m. Friday for a school celebration. She will be chauffeured in a classic 1949 Buick provided for the occasion by Wicomico music teacher and auto enthusiast Buck Burton, and a Delmar fire truck will also accompany her as she arrives at her school to flowers, signs, a red carpet, crown, sash, cheerleaders, band and more.

Following an assembly where she will be celebrated by the school, Morton will be interviewed for a Wicomico County Public Schools Teacher of the Year special on PAC 14 by Aaron Deal, the 2003-2004 Wicomico and Maryland Teacher of the Year and a longtime member of the Wicomico Teacher of the Year Recognition Committee.

Morton, 45, received a bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University in 1996, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Sojourner-Douglass College in 2010. She was hired by Wicomico County Public Schools in September 1996 as an in-school suspension teacher at Beaver Run Elementary. In January 1997 she began teaching Prekindergarten at Delmar Elementary, where she has served students and families ever since.

She has embodied leadership as chairman of the Multicultural Committee, grade-level chairman, head cheerleading coach for Wicomico High School, and her current service as chairman of the Instructional Leadership Team for her school. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., she is actively engaged in her community through mentoring programs for young women.

Wicomico Teacher Of The Year Shane Morton represents the outstanding staff of Delmar Elementary and the more than 1,250 teachers of Wicomico County Public Schools. For the next year, she will represent Wicomico County Public Schools in the Maryland Teacher Of The Year Recognition Program, which includes the Maryland Teacher Of The Year Gala in the fall. Wicomico is proud to have three former Maryland Teachers Of The Year working in the school system on behalf of students: Aaron Deal, Bonnie Walston and April Todd.

The annual banquet spotlights not just the year’s most outstanding teacher, but all Wicomico educators who demonstrate outstanding leadership, a commitment to excellence, dedication to teaching the children of the community, and professional achievement. Many teachers were nominated for Teacher Of The Year. After rating reviews by administrators and supervisors, 25 semifinalists were selected.

Each semi-finalist interviewed with a blue-ribbon judging panel, participated in a public speaking challenge called a “fishbowl,” and completed a writing exercise. Scores from each of these steps as well as the evaluations were compiled to determine the winning finalist for each of the four school levels, with the highest-scoring finalist becoming the Wicomico Teacher Of The Year.

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