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Two Clarksburg Teachers are Teacher of the Year Award Finalists

Three teachers have been named finalists for the 2019–2020 MCPS Teacher of the Year Award by the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund, and two of them teach at Clarksburg-area schools.

They are: Madeline Hanington, an English content specialist and teacher at Hallie Wells Middle School in Clarksburg and Teak Bassett, a social studies teacher at Clarksburg High School. The third nominated teacher is Maura Backenstoe, a kindergarten teacher at Burning Tree Elementary School.

Madeline Hanington is an English content specialist and teacher at Hallie Wells Middle School. Once an English Language Learner herself who holds an undergraduate degree in art, her teaching style is dynamic, challenging, innovative and nurturing. Data demonstrate the effectiveness of her approach. Academic intervention programs she created and implemented increased Maryland State Assessment scores by at least five percent. A 2011 Milken Educator Award Winner, Hanington is also not only a mentor to the school’s English teachers, but also supports and advises the rest of the staff and others outside Hallie Wells. She serves as co-sponsor of the Junior National Honor Society, as well as the school’s Lady Scholars program, an after-school program to support young women in achieving their highest potential.

“Her lived experience: immigrant parents, poverty, academic success, coupled with her natural traits of caring and dedication, make Ms. Maddy Hanington an exceptional teacher who makes THAT difference in children’s lives,” said Principal Barbara Woodward.

Teak Bassett is a social studies teacher at Clarksburg High School. He has trained new and veteran teachers, and written curriculum used throughout Montgomery County. A 19-year veteran, he provides frequent and specific feedback using diagnostic, summative and formative tests. Bassett anticipates the struggles within a topic and teaches students how to ask questions and ensures that each child contributes in class. He hosts study sessions during lunch and after school. Almost every student in the Advanced Placement Comparative Government class he recently developed earned a 5 on the exam. Bassett has coached speech and debate, as well as girls’ lacrosse, JV football and JV softball. He sponsors the Student Government Association and the Coyote Ambassadors Program, which, among other activities, provided Thanksgiving dinners to 60 needy families in the community.

“If I could choose just one teacher … to teach, guide, inspire and challenge my own children, Teak Bassett would be at the very top of my list. … I can’t imagine the number of students whose lives he has changed with his attention and care,” wrote Clarksburg resource teacher Rachel Clements.

Maura Backenstoe is a kindergarten teacher at Burning Tree Elementary School. Backenstoe manages a diverse classroom, i