Talbot County Public Schools announced the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year with a surprise drive-by celebration at the home of each winner. The Teacher and Support Staff of the Year Program recognizes outstanding educators who have innovative ideas, focus positive attention on education, and demonstrate superior commitment to students.
The 2020-2021 Talbot Teacher of the Year is Mr. David Cherry. Mr. Cherry currently teaches Algebra II and Precalculus at Easton High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a Teaching Certificate from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Education with a concentration in Building Positive Classroom Communities from LaSalle University. He holds Advanced Professional certificates in Mathematics 7-12 and Middle School: Mathematics 4-9.
Mr. Cherry is a dedicated educator who is devoted to building positive student teacher relationships and the success of all of his students. He has an open door tutoring policy throughout the entire school day, sets weekly class and student data goals, and provides after school tutoring. He serves the school community on the Spirit Committee, the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Committee and the Textbook Review Committee. Prior to joining TCPS, Mr. Cherry taught Mathematics at Cambridge South Dorchester High School where he held many leadership roles, led professional development, assisted in writing mathematics curriculum and coached Varsity Soccer. He was nominated for TCPS Teacher of the year in 2018-2019, was a Dorchester County Public Schools First Class Teacher of the Year Nominee and a Cambridge-South Dorchester Teacher of the Month.
“Mr. Cherry has been recognized as a professional development leader and a resource for his peers and the community, and has demonstrated consistent and effective collaboration with parents and stakeholders,” Said Mr. J. Kirk Howie, Easton High Principal. “It is my sincere belief that he understands key education issues and possesses a strong working knowledge about outreach and advocacy techniques and practices that can effect real change in the K–12 education community.”
Ms. Tasha Aikens has been chosen as the 2020-2021 Support Staff of the Year.
Ms. Aikens has been a Special Education Instructional Assistant for Talbot County Public Schools since 2002, with the past 5 years being at Easton High School. A passionate and dedicated educator, she provides support to both the classroom teacher and case manager in classrooms and self-contained settings. Her work includes helping to implement plans and programs related to attaining academic and functional skills for students with mental, physical and/or emotional learning challenges. She assists students in daily specials and general education settings, helps them to develop social skills outside of classroom settings, and collects data for Individual Education Plan goals and objectives.
“To Tasha, working with EHS’ “exceptional warriors” is not just a job, it is her purpose. She has shown me what it means to truly be an advocate for the special needs community, and inspires every student, and colleague, to reach their full potential,” said Ms. Jessica Scott in her recommendation letter. “As a colleague, Tasha has been unbelievably supportive professionally and personally. Her ability to work well with a team and her respectful nature, makes her the glue that holds the classroom together. She makes every environment fun and comforting to not only the students, but her colleagues and friends as well.”
Ms. Aikens’ professional experience includes working for the Easton Family YMCA Camp Lazy Days program for children with special needs, and Easton Daycare. In addition to her full-time job, she is also very active in the community, working with youth through Building African American Minds (BAAM), and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Choptank, Youth Dance Ministry, and as a Sunday School Teacher at Emmanuel Deliverance Center. She is also certified in CPR, LAMP, and Trellis (supporting Autistic children).
Ms. Aikens has received recognition for her outstanding commitment to students throughout her career at TCPS, including the Instructional Support Staff Award, Applebee’s Support Staff of the Month, and Staff Appreciation Awards from the Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee each year during her tenure.
“Both of these individuals exemplify the heart and soul of Talbot County Public Schools,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. “Mr. Cherry is committed to innovative and diversified instruction to meet the needs of his students in a dynamic and engaging environment. Ms. Aikens has made it her lifelong mission to help students with special needs succeed in their school environment and in life,” added Dr. Griffith. “I congratulate these two outstanding educators on this well-deserved recognition.”