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Hallie Wells Middle School Educator Named MCPS Teacher of the Year


Hallie Wells Middle School teacher Madeline Hanington was named the 2019–2020 MCPS Teacher of the Year during the 17th annual Champions for Children awards celebration, an event honoring excellence in education.

Hanington is an English content specialist and teacher at Hallie Wells. She has been at the school since 2016.

“I am so proud to have Madeline Hanington as our MCPS Teacher of the Year,” said Board of Education President Shebra Evans. “Her innovative instructional practices have yielded wonderful results with her students, helped them embrace a love of learning and built up their confidence.”

Hanington will now go on to compete for Maryland Teacher of the Year. 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. She previously taught at Cabin John, Lakelands Park and Gaithersburg middle schools.

Hanington was one of three finalists for Teacher of the Year, along with Maura Backenstoe, kindergarten teacher at Burning Tree Elementary School, and Teak Bassett, social studies teacher at Clarksburg High School. The Marian Greenblatt Education Fund named the finalists. Several other MCPS staff members and community members were recognized for their excellence and commitment at the Champions for Children event, held at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. They are:

• Brendan Kelly, instrumental music teacher at Einstein High School, Greenblatt Rising Star Teacher of the Year

• Virginia Pantella, STEM teacher at Gaithersburg Middle School, Greenblatt Rising Star Teacher of the Year

• Celeste King, principal at South Lake Elementary School, Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision

• Leslie Atkin, English composition assistant, Wh