MCPS Announces 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Finalists for Montgomery County Public Schools 2017-2018 “Teacher of the Year Award” have been named.

To qualify for the award given by the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund, teachers must have at least five years of experience in the school district and be interviewed by a panel of educators, Board of Education members, MCPS staff, the Montgomery County Council of PTAs along with members of the Greenblatt family.

Once selected, the teachers, along with other MCPS employees and partners, will be honored for their work at the annual Champions for Children Awards Celebration. The MCPS Teacher of the Year will be named during the event, which will take place on April 18, at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown.

Below are the three finalists:

Kristen Kane

Kristen Kane teaches kindergarten and first grade teacher at Forest Knolls. She is also the kindergarten team leader and PTA staff liaison. Kane is described as “a collaborative, patient and reflective teacher.” She creates a positive classroom climate and develops engaging lessons while building strong relationships with her students. Her classroom is fun, lively and interactive. She differentiates and designs instruction to promote student choice and delivers lessons that meet her diverse learners’ needs. She is skilled at working with students who have special needs, including learning disabilities, speech and language developmental delays and ESOL students.








Edwina Kollo

Edwina Kollo started her career in securities-backed lending and education sales. She moved into teaching as a long-term substitute and loved it. Kollo, who now teaches math at Shady Grove Middle School is   known for “constantly cultivating self-esteem and confidence in an effort to build relationships with her students.” She differentiates lessons, so in her classroom you might find a group of students at the board, another group creating a math problem and a third group listening to instruction on Chromebooks. Students say she always finds a way to help them understand; she never gives up. She believes that “students not only need to understand the processes for solving problems, but they need to be able to connect their learning with prior learning and real-world experience so they are able to apply the math.” Colleagues call her an enormous positive influence and a change agent. She has authored successful grant applications and pioneered an online summer school math class at Shady Grove Middle School. She implemented an after-school program to help algebra students prepare for the final exam; she also planned and facilitated an Algebra Town Hall to inform students about the upcoming exam and preparation opportunities.






Janet Gallagher

Janet Gallagher has served as the resource teacher for the math department at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School since 2015. She is described as an “exceptional leader, organized, flexible and innovative.” Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Principal Donna Redmond Jones calls her “an unsung hero in the math classes where exceptional teaching matters most.” Nearly 30 percent of the students in her 2016–2017 Advanced Placement statistics course were African American or Latino. She has also taught math to students in the METS program, which serves students learning English with interrupted educations. Her success with the most vulnerable students serves as a model for the 19 staff members she leads. She has a deep commitment to leading for equity. She regularly studies current research and often adopts new strategies to help students learn. She has written curriculum and routinely identifies professional development opportunities. She facilitated a STEM initiative to encourage rising freshmen to take higher-level math and science courses. She visited a local middle school and engaged dozens of eighth grade girls in hands-on math and science tasks. She also helped organize the Principal’s STEM Advisory Board, which brings together community members in STEM fields to generate ideas to engage students in problem-solving and teamwork.

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