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Hammond's Jody Zepp is a finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year

Hammond High School teacher Jody Zepp has been named one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year for 2014.

The Maryland State Department of Education announced the finalists Thursday. Other finalists are Kelly O'Hara of Cecil County; Erin Doolittle of Frederick County; Jane Lindsay of Montgomery County; Anna Breland of Somerset County; Bridget Whited of Talbot County; and Courtney Leard of Washington County.

The winner will be announced at an awards gala Oct. 20 at Martin's West.

Zepp, who was named Howard County Public Schools' Teacher of the Year this spring, also received The Washington Post's Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award for the county, and is the second Howard County teacher in three years named as a finalist for the state's top honor.

A psychology and government teacher at Hammond for the past five years, Zepp is lead adviser for several extracurricular programs at the school, including the C-SPAN StudentCam competition, Stock Market Game and Model UN. She also serves as coach of the Hammond HS EconChallenge Team, which has captured three consecutive state championships.

Zepp launched Hammond's Academy of Government, Law and Public Relation, and is co-founder of the school's Advanced Placement Bootcamp.

She previously taught in Montgomery County public schools system for seven years.

Hammond Assistant Principal Nicole Harryman, who initiated Zepp's application for the Agnes Meyer Award, has described the teacher as "all business" but added she is someone students trust and know they can go to.

"The thing is, she loves what she's doing," Harryman said in June after the county accolade. "We won the jackpot when we got her on board."

Finalists for the state honor were selected by a panel of judges from state organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teachers unions, parents and higher education representatives.

—Blair Ames contributed to this story

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