A teacher from Montgomery Blair High School and the principal of Glen Haven Elementary School were finalists to be named educators of the year by The Washington Post.

Kenneth Smith teaches U.S. government, media literacy, African American studies and sociology at Blair and sponsors the Minority Scholars Program at the Silver Spring school, according to a Montgomery County Public Schools blog post. He believes it’s important to get to know his students and attends sports games, musical recitals, plays and other events to build relationships with them. He also tries to inspire his students to reach new levels of achievement.  

“I want my students to be more than independent learners and critical thinkers about content; I want them to be change agents that employ their newly gained knowledge to serve themselves in their communities,” Smith, who has been at Blair since 2001, wrote in his nomination packet.

After considering the pool of finalists, a selection committee of teachers, administrators and parents chose a teacher from Stafford County as The Washington Post’s teacher of the year.

Mary Jane Ennis of Glen Haven Elementary in Silver Spring was the county’s nominee for principal of the year. Ennis, who has led the school since 2014, has trained her staff to use assessment data to tailor lessons to their students. She’s reached out to strengthen ties with parents and the community and encourages innovation among her employees, according to MCPS.

An elementary school principal from Loudoun County in Virginia ended up winning The Washington Post award. All winners received a $7,500 prize, the Post reported.

Montgomery College basketball players gain recognition

A sophomore who plays basketball for Montgomery College has earned some accolades after averaging 28 points per game last season.

Collin Turner was named the 2017-18 Spalding National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, according to a press release. He also earned a spot on the 2017-18 NJCAA Division III Men’s Basketball All-American First Team after he’d helped his team, the Raptors, finish fifth at the national tournament.

Women’s player Armonie Lomax, also a sophomore at Montgomery College, was named Division III First Team All-American.

Poolesville High team designs workplace solution for individuals with disabilities

Students from Poolesville High School on Wednesday learned they’d won a SourceAmerica challenge for designing workplace solutions for people with disabilities.

The Poolesville High team created a Folder Filler that would help someone with limited hand mobility to deal with paperwork. With the invention, an employee at the National Institutes of Health was able to cut from 18 minutes to one minute the time it took to fill a folder with papers, according to a press release.

More than 120 teams of college and high school students from across the nation competed in the challenge.  

SourceAmerica is a nonprofit dedicated to creating job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.