HUGHESVILLE, Md. – Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) worked with the school systems of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties to select and honor 24 educators with Outstanding Teacher awards for their leadership in the fields of mathematics, science, technology, and engineering.

Receiving awards this year were eight math teachers, nine science teachers, and seven STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers from schools in three counties. The teachers were chosen for their outstanding performance in the areas of creativity, rapport with students, enthusiasm for teaching, professionalism, and innovative teaching methods. Each teacher receives a plaque and a cash award. In 30 years, SMECO has recognized 435 local math and science teachers.

“We’re honoring some extraordinary teachers. We usually host a dinner for our award recipients, but the fact that we are able to celebrate via Zoom, using cell phones, mobile devices, and the internet, shows how important science and technology are to our lives,” explained Sonja Cox, SMECO president and CEO.

“We are recognizing these teachers for their accomplishments because their contribution to educating students is important to SMECO. Our cooperative and our community benefit from the solid foundation these teachers provide.” Cox continued, “Whether they are teaching students in person or online, educators must be resourceful, flexible, and caring. These qualities have become even more essential because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as we have learned over the past year, a good education and experienced teachers have never been more important.”

SMECO’s Outstanding Mathematics, Science, and STEM Teachers of the Year are listed below.

Calvert County

  • Linda Bailey, Windy Hill Middle School, STEM
  • Jennifer Bodden, Huntingtown High School, Science
  • David Goodrich, Patuxent High School, Mathematics
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Mount Harmony Elementary School, Mathematics
  • Sarah Legge, Windy Hill Middle School, Science
  • Michelle O’Donnell, Northern High School, Science
  • Karen Pirchio, Windy Hill Elementary School, Science
  • Karl Sturge, Calvert High School, STEM

Charles County

  • Carrie Heard, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, Mathematics
  • Joanna Olson, Henry E. Lackey High School, Mathematics
  • Natalie Gilliom, Milton Somers Middle School, Mathematics
  • Megan Swinea, Indian Head Elementary School, Science
  • Julie Andrews, La Plata High School, Science
  • Jessica Roberts, Malcolm Elementary School, STEM
  • Shawn Starcher, La Plata High School, STEM
  • LoWanda Buck, Mattawoman Middle School, STEM

St. Mary’s County

  • Ashley Kurtz, Chesapeake Public Charter School, Mathematics
  • Jasmin Thompson, Leonardtown High School, Mathematics
  • Paul Quade, Esperanza Middle School, Mathematics
  • Jennifer Venendaal, Hollywood Elementary School, Science
  • Lindsay Healy, Leonardtown High School, Science
  • Nennah Byle, Leonardtown Middle School, Science
  • Erin Mallory, Chesapeake Public Charter School, STEM
  • Nora Blasko, Great Mills High School, STEM

The webpage at the link below features photos of the teachers and a video:

SMECO – The Cooperative Difference –
SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 169,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County.

Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers.  Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.

At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins (profits) are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. SMECO uses its profits to invest in new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. The Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the co-op and determines when members will receive a refund. Since 1937, SMECO has refunded more than $110 million.

As a cooperative, SMECO will always put its members first and be responsive, reliable, and resourceful—the power you can count on.

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