Rob Honer was named the 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year, and Sheldon Neal the 2023-2024 Support Employee of the Year for Caroline County Public Schools.
The announcements were made at a reception for finalists on April 20 at Cow Barn Events in Ridgely. All teacher and support employee finalists were in attendance along with their families, co-workers, and friends.
“On a daily basis, Mr. Honer and Mr. Neal demonstrate a passion for their respective professions as seen by their interactions with colleagues, staff and students,” Dr. Simmons said. “Both of these individuals are perfect examples of what it means to be a member of the Caroline Schools’ family, and we are proud to have them represent our school system.”
2023-2024 Teacher of the Year Rob Honer
Mr. Honer is a science teacher at Colonel Richardson Middle School (CRMS). He began his teaching career with Caroline 24 years ago after earning a degree in education at Towson University. He is passionate about the use of technology in education and has served in many roles that support staff use of tools and technologies. Mr. Honer also serves as the coach for the CRMS First Lego League Team. In addition, he is a talented musician who shares his expertise with current and former students through projects like the Young Musicians Summer Academy and the Courthouse Community Band.
Mr. Honer’s nomination stated, "Mr. Honer makes a difference and sets the tone for student days. Teachers can either make or break make a student. My daughter looked forward to science and loves Mr. Honer. She had some really rough years in elementary school and for her to love middle school was an amazing turn around. Mr. Honer was a big part of the reason why. I’m certain my daughter is not the only one! All teachers should have the passion and sincerity that Mr. Honer possesses."
This year’s nominations resulted in four exceptional finalists. The judging committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists, which also included Jodi Callahan, Agriculture teacher at Caroline Career and Technology Center; Todd Nichols, fourth grade teacher at Denton Elementary School, and Stephanie Verdery, Physical Education and Teacher Academy of Maryland teacher at Colonel Richardson High School. Once finalists were chosen, interviews were conducted to decide the teacher of the year.
Mr. Honer will now go on to represent Caroline County in the Maryland State Department of Education Teacher of the Year program.
2023-2024 Support Employee of the Year Sheldon Neal
Mr. Neal began his career with CCPS in 2013 as a Maintenance II employee. Although the issues he encounters cover a wide range, Mr. Neal is commonly known as the “HVAC Expert.” His responsibilities take him to all schools and buildings in the district.
Mr. Neal’s nominations stated, "Sheldon is always quick to help when we're having any issues with our heat or air conditioning. He always has a smiling face. We appreciate everything he does!"
"Sheldon constantly displays a can-do approach in his job. He's a problem-solver, a professional who is willing to put in the time it takes, even in the off-hours, to resolve issues."
"Sheldon is the ultimate make-it-work guy who inspires confidence. He's has a positive attitude, an enormous amount of integrity, and truly cares about the people he's helping."
As with the Teacher of the Year award, support employees also had a high number of nominations. In addition to Mr. Neal, two exceptional finalists were named: Amy Barnes, secretary at Denton Elementary School and James Jackson, coach and permanent substitute at Colonel Richardson Middle School.'
Event photos may be viewed on the Caroline Schools Flickr page.