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Danielle Dennis, Math teacher at Colonel Richardson High School, has been named 2024-2025 Teacher of the Year, and Amy Barnes, secretary at Denton Elementary School is the 2023-2024 Support Employee of the Year for Caroline County Public Schools. 

The announcements were made at a celebration for finalists on April 17 at Cow Barn Events in Ridgely. All teacher and support employee finalists were in attendance along with their families, co-workers, and friends.

“Both Ms. Dennis and Ms. Barnes are perfect examples of what it means to be a part of the Caroline family,” Superintendent Dr. Derek Simmons said, “and we are proud to have them represent our school system throughout the 2024-2025 school year.”

Maryland State Senator Johnny Mautz attended the event and brought greetings on behalf of the Eastern Shore delegation, along with Maryland Senate citations for both the Teacher and Support Employee of the Year. Sheriff Donnie Baker also attended, as did current Caroline Board of Education members President Rick Barton, Vice President Mark Jones, and Members Troy Plutschak and Michele Wayman.  

Current Teacher of the Year Rob Honer and Support Employee of the Year Sheldon Neal joined the celebration, along with former Teachers of the Year Bernadette France, Cristi Fortner, Tamra Baurys, Missy McFayden, Jennifer Gunter, and Mirta Bradner. Former Support Employees of the Year were also well represented by Penny Boyd and Matt Sartwell.  

The event was generously sponsored by the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union and catered by the Chesapeake Culinary Center. Photography services were provided by Chris Dorr at Nerve Center Media. Event photos may be viewed on the Caroline Schools Flickr page. The event presentation is accessible here

2024-2025 Teacher of the Year Danielle Dennis

Ms. Dennis is a math teacher at Colonel Richardson High School (CRHS). She was educated in Caroline County, and is a proud graduate of CRHS. She began her teaching career with Caroline in 2015 at Colonel Middle and after a short break, rejoined Caroline in 2020 at Colonel High.

Ms. Dennis was nominated by a student who wrote, "Ms. Dennis is always there when we need her, and she always makes sure we have a good day."


This year’s nominations resulted in five exceptional finalists. The judging committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists, which included Amy Bauman, 3rd grade teacher at Denton Elementary; Faith Burton, also a 3rd grade teacher at Denton Elementary; Tom Cheezum, Director of Bands and Orchestras at Colonel Richardson Middle School and Colonel Richardson High School; and Bryan Hall, Physical Education teacher at Colonel Richardson Middle School. Once finalists were chosen, interviews were conducted to decide the teacher of the year.

Ms. Dennis will now go on to represent Caroline County in the Maryland State Department of Education Teacher of the Year program.

2024-2025 Support Employee of the Year Amy Barnes

Ms. Barnes began her career with Caroline County Public Schools in 2009 as an instructional assistant. In 2022 she joined front office staff at Denton Elementary.

Ms. Barnes’ nomination stated, "Amy embodies the essence of dedication, compassion, and excellence in her role, making an indelible impact on our school community. Her unwavering commitment to creating a nurturing and inclusive environment has significantly enhanced the educational experience for all. As the heart of our school office, Amy exudes warmth and kindness in every interaction. Whether welcoming visitors with a friendly smile, assisting parents with patience and understanding, or providing invaluable support to teachers and administrators, she consistently demonstrates a genuine concern for the needs of others.”

As with the Teacher of the Year award, support employees also had a high number of nominations. In addition to Ms. Barnes, two exceptional finalists were named: Faye Harris, Cafeteria Manager at Greensboro Elementary School, and Kali Tiley, School Nurse at Federalsburg Elementary School.