TCPS Announces 2024-2025 Teacher and Support Staff of the Year

Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS) announced the 2024-2025 Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year at a celebration held at the Easton Elks Lodge. 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 2024-2025 Talbot Teacher of the Year is Mr. Jeremy Hillyard, Easton High School Spanish and ESOL Mathematics Teacher. Mr. Hillyard earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Susquehanna University, as well as a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology from the University of Alabama. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and has functional knowledge fluency in American Sign Language. He has taught Spanish levels 1 – Advanced Placement at Easton High School since 2010. He has served as an Equity Summit Presenter on topics such as “Learning to Sign” and “Grading for Equity,” and is working to establish a Mentorship program for Hispanic students to support their success in graduating and beyond. He also serves as the Advisor for the Easton High Spanish Honor Society and the It’s Academic Team.
According to the colleague who nominated him, “Mr. Hillyard is the epitome of a reflective practitioner who always seeks opportunities to build on his instructional capacity for students. It is evident in the numerous professional learning courses he takes each year that he believes in educating the whole child. He willingly shares his learning with colleagues at EHS, across the district, and throughout the Eastern Shore, and his passion is contagious.”
This year, having recognized the need to support a specific population of students in mathematics, Mr. Hillyard branched out from the Foreign Language Department to teach two sections of an Introductory Algebra Course. This is just one example of Mr. Hillyard’s willingness to support student success, regardless of the extra responsibilities/work it entails for him.
Ms. Rosario Steele – Easton High School, Instructional Assistant – ESOL has been chosen as the 2024-2025 Support Staff of the Year. A member of the Easton High Staff for nearly six years, Ms. Steele has worked extremely hard to help students in mathematics, providing support as a translator and tutor, and helping newcomer students catch up to the rest of the class. She often works with students after school to make sure they have access to the material, understand it, and learn the English language along with math skills. At the same time, she has worked with Science and Language Arts classes in a similar capacity, learning the material, translating for students, and tutoring the students who need additional help on her own time.
“One of the greatest challenges ESL teachers face is that throughout the school year, we continually have new students entering our program,” shared a colleague who nominated Ms. Steele. “This is extremely difficult for students, coming into a new country, speaking a different language, and starting school partway into the school year. Ms. Steele is invaluable in helping students prepare to move into Algebra, a critical step in their educational journey. She always greets new students with a smile, making them feel welcome and comfortable, and helping them learn unfamiliar concepts. As the students grow by leaps and bounds, she is always patient, allowing me to work with small groups or the entire class, while she works with newcomers or students who are struggling.”
“These outstanding members of the TCPS team both demonstrate exemplary work ethic and commitment to ensuring student success,” said Dr. Sharon Pepukayi, Superintendent. “I congratulate Mr. Hillyard and Ms. Steele, as well as all of this year’s finalists on their well-deserved recognition.”
The celebration was sponsored by the Education System Federal Credit Union and Hertrich Chevy GMC.