The Cape Henlopen School District named Shields Elementary’s Maura Johnson as the 2022 Teacher of the Year in an intimate June 2 ceremony that also honored teachers earning building-level honors.
A Lewes native and Cape High grad, Johnson said she attended Shields as a child.
“It was a dream to come back and teach here, so I got really lucky,” Johnson said. “I love what I do. Coming here every day, I’m surrounded by such amazing people - teachers and students - and I can’t say enough how much I enjoy growing and learning with the people here.”
Johnson joined Shields in 2014 as a long-term substitute, a position which later became permanent. She first taught fourth grade, and has found her home in the third grade.
As a Lighthouse Coordinator, Johnson is a champion of the school Leader in Me program and is head coach of Girls on the Run, which helps build confidence and teach social-emotional skills in young girls.
“Our students are so resilient,” she said. “I have learned so much from them and their positive mindset, especially this year. Being with them has helped me grow as a person.”
Johnson said her parents, brothers and boyfriend Ryan Nelson have been her cheerleaders every step of the way. She credits her coworkers and administrators for challenging her to become a better teacher and giving her the confidence to share her voice.
“We have a lot of fun here, a lot of joy, laughs and smiles; it’s a happy place to be,” she said. “This year has been challenging but also wonderful in a lot of ways,” she said. “Next year will be even better to have everyone back.”
Shields Elementary Principal Kim Corbidge said Johnson ensures her students are successful by challenging them and encouraging their growth and development.
“She treats her students with great dignity and respect, and, as a result, she has an excellent rapport with them and their parents,” Corbidge said. “Ms. Johnson has a natural ability to make each child feel special and unique, and her classroom is filled with positive energy.”
Superintendent Bob Fulton said he could not be more proud of any group of teachers, especially this year, and that each building teacher of the year represents the best of the best.
“We’re so fortunate here with our supportive community and everything that we've been able to do to this point, and it all starts with people, quality people and quality teaching,” Fulton said. “It’s about instruction, it’s about knowledge, but it’s also about just good people. People that care about what they do and care about kids, people that do something because it’s more than a job; it’s just in them.”
2021 Cape district Teacher of the Year Jorge Moreno said this year has been challenging, but teachers developed new ways of teaching and students adapted to new ways of learning.
“And this is what teaching is all about,” Moreno said. “Everything we do, every single day, is for our students.”
Building-level teachers of the year are Brian Walley, Beacon Middle; Kelci Atkins, Cape High; Nina Wilkinson, H.O. Brittingham Elementary; Donna Gibson, Love Creek Elementary; Alison Herman, Mariner Middle; Panayi “Pete” Stephanos, Milton Elementary; Tiffany McMahon, Rehoboth Elementary; and Bob Sabolcik, Sussex Consortium.
The Delaware Department of Education will name the 2022 Delaware Teacher of the Year in October.