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MDCSS is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2023 Social Studies Professional Awards!

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Dr. Stephanie Schoppert

Dowell Elementary School

Calvert County Public Schools

Dr. Stephanie Schoppert is a 5th-grade teacher at Dowell Elementary in Calvert County, Maryland. Her 30+ years of teaching have included grades 3rd-8th and a brief dabble as a Computer Science teacher. She is a lifelong learner and aspires to create the same passion for learning in her students. Stephanie believes that Social Studies education is an amazing gift that prepares our students for their future.



Nicole Penix

Social Studies Learning Specialist

Calvert County Public Schools

"Dr. Stephanie Schoppert is held in high regard by her colleagues, students, administrators, and parents...Her optimism and enthusiasm are infectious. She is a role model to both new and tenured teachers."

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Ms. Gloria Darlington

Buck Lodge Middle School 

Prince George's County Public Schools

"Ms. Darlington is a phenomenal Social Studies teacher, in turn I consistently use her a mentor teacher to work with our UMD student teacher interns. She is a model of strong Social Studies pedagogy, a healthy classroom culture and a commitment to the individual student. Our interns thrive in her classroom and consistently launch into a successful teacher career themselves."


Alison Leigh Jovanovic

Social Studies Program Coordinator & Professional Development Site Coordinator for Social Studies Education

College of Education - University of Maryland

Gloria Darlington is a middle school social studies teacher at Buck Lodge Middle School in Prince George’s County Public Schools. Ms. Darlington is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Geographic Certified Educator and is certified in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She loves teaching social studies because she believes it is so important to prepare the next generation to be informed civic leaders and positive members of their communities.  Her hobbies include photography, crafting, crocheting, and training for half marathons (in memory of her friend Kevin Hollenbeck, who took the photograph above), and she is grateful for the support of her family, colleagues, and mentor.

Promising New Social Studies
Teacher of the Year

Ms. Alison Curtin

Mill Creek Middle School

Calvert County Public Schools

Allison Curtin is a current 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Mill Creek Middle School for Calvert County Public Schools. This is her second year of teaching after graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  As a social studies educator, Allison is responsible for providing accessible and engaging social studies instruction to all of her students.

"Ms. Curtin offers her students a variety of research-based instructional strategies and operates a classroom where students are actively engaged in learning. She understands that her students have a variety of learning styles and therefore she creates lessons that appeal to the broad range of talents possessed by each learner. In this way, Ms. Curtin assures that all her students have the opportunity to achieve success in her classroom."



Scott McComb

Social Studies Supervisor

Calvert County Public Schools

Civic Leader of the Year

Ms. Erin Few

Crofton High School

Anne Arundel County Public Schools



Selected & Conferred by

"Erin is a dedicated teacher who cares for all students. She is a phenomenal leader who makes the teachers she works with feel empowered to grow. I love that she involves her family in the impact projects of the student leadership team. This is an example of her dedication to service and her students. What an amazing model of civic engagement for not only her students, but also her children. Erin is a finalist for AACPS Teacher of the Year. Through her US History class, she has used the topics in class to weave in components of civics in a masterful way."


Lori Fowler

Manager of Service Learning & Mentorships

Anne Arundel Public Schools

Mrs. Few has been teaching Social Studies for 14 years in Anne Arundel County.  After earning a Bachelors of Arts in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Mrs. Few accepted a teaching position at Old Mill High School.  She earned her Masters in Educational Leadership in 2016 from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.  In 2020, she accepted her current position as Social Studies Department Chair at Crofton High School and helped to open the first high new school in Anne Arundel County in more than 30 years. Mrs. Few has experience in teaching US History, World History, and Psychology classes and is AP, IB, and AVID-trained.  Mrs. Few sponsors the Service Club at Crofton High & serves as service liaison for Crofton High. 

Scott McComb is veteran educator.  He is currently the Supervisor of Social Studies for Calvert County Public Schools.  Scott was twice the president of the Maryland Council for Social Studies and served on its Board of Directors for 7 years.  Scott also chaired the Maryland Social Studies Advisory Council from 2011 to 2013.  As a passionate believer in the power and importance of an effective social studies education for all children, Scott in pleased to serve as a Member-at-Large on the MDCSS Board of Directors. 



Amie Dryer

Calvert High School

Calvert County Public Schools

Social Studies Instructional
Leader of the Year

Mr. Scott McComb

Calvert County Public Schools

"Scott has provided so many supports and services to the teachers, and thus students and community, in CCPS, it is difficult to name them all. Personally, he has inspired me to achieve new levels of professionalism through numerous book studies, PBL training, encouraging and supporting my love of National History Day in the classroom and through their Professional Development opportunities, and is the best at leading by example."

Outstanding Professional at a Social  Studies-Related Organization

Sandy Pope, Ph.D.

Salisbury University - Dept. of Secondary & Physical Education

"Sandy's efforts with pre-service teachers at Salisbury University and his direct leadership of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) at Salisbury exemplify his merit as a Social Studies Professional. He is an advocate for social studies education and an ally to those practicing in the field by consistently designing and hosting meaningful professional learning institutes for educators."


Joey Landgraf

President-Elect, MDCSS

North County High School

Anne Arundel Public Schools

Dr. Alexander Pope (Sandy) is an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary and Physical Education at Salisbury University. His primary appointment involves undergraduate and graduate social studies methods. A former classroom teacher in Texas and New York, his university teaching extends to include social justice initiatives such as the Maryland Holocaust Educators Network social justice seminars sponsored by the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights, where he has twice been a Fellow. He has completed two fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Dr. Pope also co-Directs Salisbury University’s Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. With his colleague, Dr. Sarah Surak, he oversees daily operations, a multi-year research project to collect and analyze data on the delivery of a civic engagement curricular and co-curricular programming, and the Center for Civic Reflection. 

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