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Harford County schools announce five Teacher of the Year finalists for 2021

Harford County Public Schools has announced the five finalists for the 2021 Harford County Teacher of the Year award.

This year’s Teacher of the Year Judging Committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine a pool of candidates that participated in an interview with a panel of six judges. The judges narrowed the pool to the five finalists, one of which will be crowned the 2021 Harford County Teacher of the Year.

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A surprise announcement of the winner will take place during this year’s virtual celebration, scheduled for April 21. Har-co Credit Union and Jones Junction are once again the primary sponsors of the Teacher of the Year program.

This year’s finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

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Kelly Ackley, Southampton Middle School, special education

Kelly Ackley, of Southampton Middle School, is a 12th year special education teacher for Harford County Public Schools and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award.
Kelly Ackley, of Southampton Middle School, is a 12th year special education teacher for Harford County Public Schools and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. (Ken Scheper/Courtesy Harford County Public Schools)

Kelly Ackley is a 12th year special education teacher for Harford County Public Schools. She has spent her career working with seventh- and eighth-grade students, with a mission to develop advocacy, academic and social skills, according to an HCPS news release. She is passionate that relationships are critical to student success. Ackley earned her degree in Elementary and Special Education from DeSales University in 2009, and her master’s degree in Adolescent Literacy and Technology from Walden University in 2014. She is a mentor to prospective educators, Southampton Middle School’s Service-Learning Coordinator, and leader of the school running club.

Kerrie Bauer, Aberdeen High School, mathematics

Kerrie Bauer, a mathematic teachers at Aberdeen High School, has been a secondary education teacher in Harford County for 17 years and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award.
Kerrie Bauer, a mathematic teachers at Aberdeen High School, has been a secondary education teacher in Harford County for 17 years and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. (Ken Scheper/Courtesy Harford County Public Schools)

Kerrie Bauer has been a secondary education teacher in Harford County for 17 years and worked in education for 23 years. Bauer earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Elizabethtown College in 1998 and a Master of Arts in Education from McDaniel College in 2003. She has served as department chairperson and a member of the school improvement team. Kerrie was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2006. She volunteers her time as the coordinator for the Glamour Gals club at school, volunteers with youth at church, and is a proud mother of two boys.

Lauren Byrd, Hickory Elementary School, first grade

Lauren Byrd, a first-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary School, is a 17-year veteran educator and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award.
Lauren Byrd, a first-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary School, is a 17-year veteran educator and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. (Ken Scheper/Courtesy Harford County Public Schools)

Lauren Byrd is a 17-year veteran teacher who is committed to her students success both inside and outside of the classroom, according to the news release. She believes the best learning happens through meaningful relationships built with students and families. She currently teaches first grade at Hickory Elementary School. She holds a master’s degree from Loyola University as a reading teacher and a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Juniata College. She has partnered with the Instructional Technology Team and English/Language Arts Department to work on pilot programs, curriculum teams, and teacher leadership committees to help serve the students and teachers of Harford County.

Kimberly Perouty, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School, third grade

Kimberly Perouty, a third-grade teacher at Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School, is in her 26th year with Harford County Public Schools and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award.
Kimberly Perouty, a third-grade teacher at Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School, is in her 26th year with Harford County Public Schools and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. (Ken Scheper/Courtesy Harford County Public Schools)

Kim Perouty is in her 26th year with Harford County Public Schools and is currently a third-grade teacher at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary. Perouty has spent 19 years in the classroom, seven years mentoring new hires, and one year acting in an administrative role. She has her bachelor’s degree and an Administration Certificate from Towson University and a master’s degree in Special Education from Loyola College in Maryland. Perouty is driven by the desire to get students to recognize their strengths and to believe in themselves, according to the news release. Building positive relationships with students and parents is her primary focus each school year.

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Sarah Scholl, Havre de Grace Middle School, media specialist

Sarah Scholl is in her 15th year at Havre de Grace Middle School, where she serves as school librarian and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award.
Sarah Scholl is in her 15th year at Havre de Grace Middle School, where she serves as school librarian and a finalist for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. (Ken Scheper/Courtesy Harford County Public Schools)

Sarah Scholl is in her 15th year at Havre de Grace Middle School, where she serves as school librarian. She is a 2005 graduate of Elizabethtown College, where she received a degree in English Education. Scholl earned her master’s degree in Instructional Technology with a concentration in School Library Media from Towson University and her Admin I certificate from Johns Hopkins University. A 2015 curriculum award winner, Scholl writes Library Media curriculum and is passionate about the library field. She believes that a diverse collection with accurate representation for all students is the foundation of a strong library program, according to the release.

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