Milton Elementary Spanish Immersion teacher Jorge Moreno was named Cape Henlopen 2020-21 district Teacher of the Year at the monthly school board meeting May 14.
Moreno said he was very proud to represent Milton Elementary, the Cape district and the Hispanic community.
“My students are a blessing,” he said. “They make my job fun and rewarding, and I wouldn’t change a thing. We’re a family at Milton Elementary, and we work together for the benefit of all students.”
Moreno earned two associate degrees and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Panama, where he began his teaching career, as well as a master’s degree in special education. A Fulbright Scholarship finalist, Moreno taught at-risk youth with special needs in inner-city Baltimore. He was named Star Teacher in 2011-12 and earned a Race to the Top Grant in 2013- 14. He has completed coursework toward his doctorate in education.
Cape building and district teachers of the year are typically celebrated at an awards banquet; the April 28 ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19. Cape Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman said the banquet to honor teachers of the year and district retirees is now set for Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Lighthouse Cove Event Center in Dewey Beach.
Top teachers from each building honored
Teachers of the Year for each building were also recognized by building principals.
Mariner Middle teacher Robert Didycz has taught for 32 years, starting as a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania. The following year, he was hired to teach third grade at H.O. Brittingham Elementary. He then taught fourth grade in Lewes for four years before returning to Milton, where he has taught sixth grade for 25 years. A former school-based teacher leader for the Delaware Math Coalition, he participates in the Elementary Math Coaching Lab and on the secondary math curriculum selection team.
H.O. Brittingham Elementary third-grade teacher Jennifer Emerson holds master's degrees in curriculum and instruction and in special education, and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education. She is a member of the School Leadership Team and designs HOB’s school yearbook. She holds after-school tutoring sessions for students, is a judge for Odyssey of the Mind and participates in Delaware USBC youth bowling.
Lewes native, former Shields student, Cape High grad and Shields Elementary teacher Erin Handley comes from a long line of teachers, including her mother, who retired from Shields in 2015. Erin worked as an HOB kindergarten teacher for nine years before transferring to Shields Elementary, where she has taught kindergarten for the past five years. Handley is a member of the Cultural Awareness committee and supports Shields’ growing Spanish Immersion program.
Jacqueline Kisiel has taught at Rehoboth Elementary for 15 years. As a grant writer and facilitator for the 21st Century Grant Rehoboth Empowers Dreams, Kisiel helps students grow through outdoor environmental lessons, engineering tasks and art projects. A Next Generation Science Standards Teacher Leader, Kisiel hosted the 12th annual Fifth Grade Science Fair and Rehoboth Beach Arbor Day activities, and coordinated water-quality sampling of Rehoboth Beach’s Silver Lake. She also coaches Girls on the Run.
Cape High business teacher Gabriel Martinez is a father of two daughters, a first-generation immigrant, a naturalized U.S. citizen and an Army veteran with 11 years’ experience in the classroom. Martinez is a doctoral candidate in Wilmington University’s educational leadership program, and completed his master’s degree in school leadership and his bachelor’s degree in business education. He is Cape High’s Marketing Pathways teacher, yearbook teacher and advisor, and DECA advisor for Cape’s chapter.
Kelly Slavoski has taught eighth-grade language arts for seven years at Beacon Middle, where she works to create storytellers by passing along her love of reading and writing to students. She also works with the HYPE after-school program and the AVID site team. Slavoski earned a master’s degree in secondary teaching and is set to receive a second master’s degree in literacy.
Love Creek Elementary kindergarten teacher Kristin Thompson has 12 years of experience teaching in primary grade levels. She also has five years’ experience in counseling high school transition and vocational rehabilitation. A University of Delaware graduate, she holds a master’s degree in elementary education and is dually certified in special education.
Sussex Consortium teacher Cassidy VanPelt began her Cape career as an HOB service aide while completing her undergraduate degree. She became a Sussex Consortium paraeducator later that year, and then earned her master’s degree in special education. At the Consortium, she works with preschool students with autism. She is certified as a teacher of students with autism and severe disabilities and as a Level-1 picture exchange communications systems implementer, and is seeking Level-2 certification. She is on the School Improvement Team and mentors a new teacher. She is also working to become a board-certified behavior analyst.