The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has announced its 2020 winners for Principal of the Year and Teachers of the Year.

Nancy Thompson of Talbott Springs Elementary School was named 2020 Howard County Principal of the Year.

Jerome Pickens of Bryant Woods Elementary School was named Howard County’s 2020 Maryland Teacher of the Year candidate, and Suzan Young of Homewood Center was selected as a 2020 Washington Post Teacher of the Year nominee. 

The honorees were notified during virtual meetings with Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, HCPSS leaders and the entire staff and administration of each school.

Thompson has been the principal at Talbott Springs for 13 years. Her selection recognizes her ability to demonstrate highly effective leadership that fosters cooperation and dialogue between the school and community, maintains an exemplary commitment to instructional practices, and displays continuous caring for student and staff well-being. 

In her nomination, a teacher shared that Thompson “always challenged me to teach better, to relate to the students better, to interact with the community more and to push my abilities to their limits.” Another teacher wrote, “I marvel at Nancy’s in-depth knowledge and insight about our students and their families…it elevates her as an exceptional educational leader.”

A Talbott Springs parent wrote, “She is creative with activities for parents and the community…her family activity nights, day of service and other activities not only kept communication pathways open, but really increased engagement, especially to many marginalized communities.” 

Pickens has been teaching at Bryant Woods since 2016 and currently serves as the 4th Grade Instructional Team Leader. He is known for building relationships throughout the community, empowering and motivating his students, and serving as an inspirational school leader.

In his nomination, Pickens is described as exemplifying “all of the qualities of an excellent teacher. He is a passionate teacher who comes to school everyday with one goal in mind – to teach his students and contribute to their successes.”

His colleagues described Pickens as “a natural leader” with “a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially students who need more guidance and support than those typically found in a traditional classroom setting.”

Young, a Homewood Center teacher for 18 years, teaches English and Environmental Science. Her selection recognizes her exceptional “outside the box” instruction, and her commitment to community and family outreach.

One of Young’s colleagues wrote, “Her ability to actively engage all students is something other teachers aspire to achieve…Her lessons include hands-on activities, movement and real connections to the lives of our students.”

Her nomination noted that “Ms. Young has developed and executed outreach programs that individually cater to her students, families, community and beyond,” and her “enthusiasm and dedication to her students and the community truly make a positive difference.”