HCPSS Names 2023 Principal and Teachers of the Year
April 17th, 2023
The Howard County Public School System is proud to announce its 2023 awardees for Principal and Teachers of the Year:
- Principal of the Year: Derek Anderson, Longfellow Elementary School
- Teacher of the Year: Dr. Laura Moore, Waverly Elementary School
- Teacher of the Year: Shannon Rembert-Gonzales, Thunder Hill Elementary School
On April 17, HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and HCPSS leaders surprised each of the three recipients with the awards during surprise visits to their respective schools. The three awardees also will be recognized at an upcoming Howard County Board of Education meeting.
Derek Anderson, Longfellow ES Principal
Named the HCPSS 2023 Principal of the Year and is the HCPSS Washington Post Principal of the Year nominee
Derek Anderson began his HCPSS career in 2004. During his tenure with the district, he served at Swansfield Elementary School as a general education classroom teacher for 3 years and elementary technology teacher for 4 years. In 2011, Anderson transferred to Jeffers Hill Elementary School, where he served as an Instructional Team Leader until 2013. He opened Ducketts Lane Elementary school as an Assistant Principal and served in that role until 2017, when he was named principal of Longfellow Elementary School.
”Mr. Anderson is incredibly insightful in knowing when he has to lead from the front blazing the trail and when to lead from the back allowing others to take the reins and provide fresh perspective,” says HCPSS Community Superintendent Patrick Saunderson. “He also excels in leading in tandem with others, walking side by side with them on the leadership journey.”
According to a LoES staff member, Anderson also “[empowers] teacher leadership through mentorship, professional development, collaboration, data-driven instruction while providing teachers and students with social-emotional support, and facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities.” He welcomes staff and student input, using what another LoES staff member describes as a “collaborative problem-solving to address concerns or implement suggestions.”
“His work is tireless and constant at our school and it is seen by every parent and guardian. Our students’ days start with a warm greeting, and our parents and guardians know that our children will be in the best care with Mr. Anderson and his staff,” add LoES’ PTA co-presidents.
Dr. Laura Moore, Waverly ES
Named a HCPSS 2023 Teacher of the Year and is the HCPSS candidate for Maryland State Department of Education Teacher of the Year
A National Board Certified Teacher, Moore has taught fourth and second grade at Waverly Elementary School since 2013. During her 10-year career with HCPSS, she has served as a classroom teacher, math committee leader, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion liaison. Additionally, she serves as an Adjunct Professor at Bowie State University teaching elementary mathematics to aspiring teachers.
Waverly principal Dr. Rachel Edoho-Eket notes that “Laura has earned the reputation of a teacher-leader who is patient, kind and successful because of her enthusiasm for helping people around her reach their full potential.” Edoho-Eket also says that Moore “sets high teaching standards for educators, encourages students to demonstrate their best performance each day, and has gained the respect of all parents and families in our community.”
A reading specialist at WAVES describes Dr. Moore as “one of those teachers you come across once in a great while and you can see her love of teaching from the radiant smile she gives her students each day.”
“Dr. Moore is an educator who any parent would want for their child and any educator would want on their team. She ensures that all students have the instructional and social-emotional support needed for success,” adds Mary Klyap, HCPSS’ Coordinator of Data Literacy & Coaching.
Shannon Rembert-Gonzales, Thunder Hill ES
Named a HCPSS 2023 Teacher of the Year and is the HCPSS nominee for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year
A graduate of Oakland Mills High School, Rembert-Gonzales began her career in education at Spring Hill Elementary in Huntington, WV, where she taught reading, first and second grade. She returned to Maryland in 2014, when she became a fifth-grade teacher at Phelps Luck Elementary School. In 2021, Rembert-Gonzales transferred to Thunder Hill Elementary School school as a third-grade teacher. Since joining THES, she became the third-grade team leader, a teacher-leader for the Restorative Justice Implementation team, a leader for the Community Outreach team, an Instructional Intervention Team case manager and a mentor-teacher for aspiring and new teachers.
THES Principal Sonia Hurd describes Rembert-Gonzales as “a visionary leader” whose positivity and caring personality has enabled her to build strong relationships with students, staff, and the THES community.
Several of Rembert-Gonzales’ colleagues at THES note that she demonstrates “impeccable skill in meeting the needs of all learners. From students that are very quiet and reserved, to students in our Regional Program for students with emotional disabilities, she consistently receives feedback [from students, families and colleagues] that students feel seen, cared for and motivated to work and succeed.”
A THES parent credits Rembert-Gonzales for seeing her child’s “quiet potential,” adding that the child is now thriving in his classes and finding joy in school.
One of Rembert-Gonzales’ students says Rembert-Gonzales “would do anything for caring, safety and even if it involves getting messy or dirty; she would still stand up for everyone.”