Caroline Teacher & Support Employee of the Year for 2022-2023 Announced


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Mirta Valdes-Bradner has been named the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year, and Matt Sartwell the 2022-2023 Support Employee of the Year for Caroline County Public Schools.

Announcements were made at each person’s respective workplace on Wednesday afternoon in a surprise visit from Interim Superintendent Dr. Derek Simmons, Board of Education President Jim Newcomb and members Donna DiGiacomo, Mark Jones, and Michele Wayman. Spouses Ben Bradner and Michele Sartwell, school principals, and other administrators, staff and students were also in attendance for the announcement.

“Both Ms. Valdes-Bradner and Mr. Sartwell are perfect examples of what it means to be a member of the Caroline Schools’ family,” Dr. Simmons said. “They have a dedication to their respective positions and the students they serve so well. We are proud to have them represent Caroline County.”

Ms. Valdes-Bradner and Mr. Sartwell each received a bouquet of flowers and a gift basket from Shore Gourmet. In September, both will be given a new car for their use during the 2022-2023 school year.

2022-2023 Teacher of the Year Mirta Bradner

Mirta Valdes-Bradner began her teaching career with CCPS in 2003. She taught Exploratory Language at Colonel Richardson Middle School during her first year before moving to North Caroline High School to teach Spanish at all levels, including Advanced Placement (AP). In July 2021, she was awarded the Medal of Excellence by Governor Hogan for her work as an AP Advocate. Ms. Valdes-Bradner earned her National Board Certification (NBC) in 2018 and has since become a strong advocate for the program.

Ms. Valdes-Bradner’s nomination stated, “Ms. Bradner always puts in extra effort in support of her students’ learning and development. She has a deep passion for her subject, and enjoys seeing students learn and be challenged by something that is often so new to them.”

This year’s nominations resulted in three exceptional finalists. The judging committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists, which also included Erin Alexander, Greensboro Elementary; Amy Bauman, Denton Elementary; Thomas Cheezum, Colonel Richardson High; and Megan Ozman, Colonel Richardson High. Once finalists were chosen, Interviews were conducted to choose the teacher of the year.

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

2022-2023 Support Employee of the Year Matt Sartwell

Matthew Sartwell began his career with CCPS in 2014 as a playground assistant at Denton Elementary School.  He continued to serve in that capacity through the 2017-2018 school year.  In 2018, he moved over to the Transportation Department as a bus driver.

Mr. Sartwell’s nomination stated, ““Matt is someone who is the definition of what makes a great employee and person in a student’s life; he is far more than just a great driver, but a great influence on everyone he comes in contact with. He has a phenomenal work ethic, is friendly and cordial with everyone, prioritizes the safety and well-being of his students, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help out a student, staff member, other driver, or anyone else he meets.”

As with the Teacher of the Year award, support employees also had a high number of nominations. In addition to Mr. Sartwell, two exceptional finalists were chosen: Instructional Assistant Susan Long, Colonel Richardson Middle, and Security Tech Specialist Frankie Prettyman, Technology Department.