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Teacher of the Year

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Each year, City Schools celebrates its great teachers with the Teacher of the Year award. Through a competitive process that includes applications, essays, and recommendations followed by interviews and classroom observations of the finalists, the candidate pool is narrowed until one teacher is surprised by district leaders in the classroom with the announcement of the winner. 

The finalist will be announced in mid-April. 

Meet the Teacher of the Year finalists

Kyair Butts is passionate about student achievement and equity in education. In addition to teaching 6th-grade English language arts at Waverly Elementary/Middle School, "Mr. K" coaches the school's debate team, volunteers with students on weekends, and has served as a lead facilitator for both City Schools and Urban Teachers. He holds a master's degree in elementary education and special education from Lesley University and has been recognized as Coach of the Year by the Baltimore Urban Debate League and as Most Valuable Urban Teacher.

Meghann Harris is dedicated to creating a more diverse and woman-accepting graphic design profession through education. Ms. Harris received both her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and her Master of Art in Teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a member of the leadership team at Baltimore Design School and runs the Graphic Design/Interactive Media Production program, in addition to sponsoring the National Arts Honor Society, with which she started the school’s annual coffeehouse. Ms. Harris speaks about her curriculum across the country and in 2018 was nominated for Maryland Art Educator of the Year.

Rebecca McClure teaches 5th-grade English language arts and gifted and advanced learners at Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School. She infuses service learning into her instruction, coaches debate through the Baltimore Urban Debate League, and co-directs the choir. Outside the classroom, she supports her school's instructional leadership team, serves on the School Family Council and restorative practices team, and represents teachers on the PTO board. Ms. McClure holds GT certification from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a master’s degree and reading specialist certification from Loyola University of Maryland. She has been recognized as her school's teacher of the year, a past semi-finalist for City Schools Teacher of the Year award, and a Maryland State Department of Education Outstanding Educator in GT Education.

Meet the Teacher of the Year semi-finalists

Brianna Carter is committed to preparing students to be actively engaged participants in society through advocacy and voting. She holds degrees in psychology, African American studies, secondary teacher education, and administrative leadership. Currently in her 11th year with City Schools, Ms. Carter loves encouraging her students at Digital Harbor High School to enjoy the American Government and AP Psychology courses she teaches. Additionally, she serves as the faculty adviser for the student organization promoting youth political efficacy, a member of her school’s instructional leadership and culture and climate teams, and a member of the district government assessment revision team.

Ashley Demski has been a City Schools pre-k teacher for nine years, currently serving at Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School. She has developed science and social studies curriculum for the district's Early Learning department, creates professional development programming for STEM, and is involved with her school's leadership team. Ms. Demski has worked with community partners to increase STEM and Makerspace opportunities for students. She is a Teacher Forum member and co-leader for a STEM Challenge Project Team with 100Kin10 and assists with other STEM initiatives with Notre Dame of Maryland University.  She holds a master's degree focused on leadership in teaching STEM and is working on an additional certification in administration and supervision.

Susan Moore is committed to closing the achievement gap. She is currently English language arts department chair, mentor teacher, and 7th-grade classroom teacher at Baltimore International Academy, where she serves on the instructional team and the GAL committee, conducts professional development, and coaches the National Academic League. She holds doctoral and master's degrees in education from the University of Phoenix and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Michigan. Dr. Moore was also recognized as an Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education – Teacher as a Leader by the Maryland State Department of Education.



Wyatt Oroke has been recognized both in Maryland and nationally for his work around social justice and promoting literacy. Mr. Oroke currently teaches 7th- and 8th-grade English language arts at City Springs Elementary/Middle School, where he serves as the middle school team leader, the girls volleyball coach, and the boys basketball coach. He holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and last year was featured on the Ellen Show, where he won the Superhero Award.



Katie Scotti is passionate about setting high expectations for all students, and supporting students in meeting those expectations through engaging instruction and relationship building. Currently an English language arts teacher at Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School, she leads academic planning, is a member of the instructional leadership team and a restorative practices champion, and serves as advisor for the National Junior Honor Society. Ms. Scotti is also a Wit & Wisdom Fellow, helping to provide professional development to teachers implementing the curriculum. She holds a master’s degree from The University of Buffalo and earned certification in administration through New Leaders.

Sidney Thomas is a devoted advocate for improving literacy among students through equitable and culturally relevant curriculum, as well as inclusive literature. She currently teaches middle school English at Holabird Academy, where she is chapter leader of Holabird Project LIT, a grassroots literacy initiative meant to empower students through reading. She is a member of the Baltimore One Book Selection Committee, which joins students and other community stakeholders as they participate in discussions and programming centered on a shared book. She has facilitated multiple professional development sessions and written literacy curriculum for the district, and she holds a Master of Arts from Jackson State University.

Natasha Thurmon is committed to her students’ education and prosperity and firmly believes that “one person can make a difference, but together we can create real change.” A 7th-grade English teacher at Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School, she also coordinates the Mindful Mentors Program, an initiative to increase academic achievement among more than 75 student-athletes per year. Ms. Thurmon is the middle school team leader, coached volleyball and basketball teams to three consecutive championships, and was recognized as an NAACP and Fox 45 Hometown Champion. She has a master’s degree in education from the Johns Hopkins University.  

Meet Ms. Hall

LaQuisha Hall

2018 Teacher of the year

Meet Mr. Holbrook

Justin Holbrook

2017 Teacher of the year

Meet Ms. Kyriakokos

Sia Kyriakakos

2016 Teacher of the year

Past Winners of the Teacher of the Year Award
  • 2017    Justin Holbrook* 
    Roland Park Elementary/Middle School
  • 2016    Sia Kyriakakos**
    Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School
  • 2015    Ryan Kaiser**
    The Mount Washington School
  • 2014    Elizabeth Barletta
    Barclay Elementary/Middle School
  • 2013     Ketia Stokes*
    Green Street Academy 
  • 2012    Bradley Nornhold
    KIPP Ujima Village Academy
  • 2011    Margaret May
    Mount Washington Elementary School
  • 2010    Brian Rainville
    Maree Garnett Faring Elementary School
  • 2009    Nicholas Greer*
    Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
  • 2008    Kristin Covaleskie
    Northwood Elementary School
  • 2007    Leah Waller
    Maree G. Faring Elementary School
  • 2006    Andrea Jackson
    Northwood Elementary School
  • 2005    Dennis Jutras
    Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
  • 2004    Catherine Gearhart
    Roland Park Elementary/Middle School
  • 2003    Monica Carr
    Liberty Elementary School
  • 2002    Camille Basoco
    Baltimore School for the Arts
  • 2001    Linda Eberhart**
    Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School
  • 2000    Melanie Rasmussen
    The William Baer School

* Maryland State Teacher of the Year Finalist
** Maryland State Teacher of the Year Winner