Governor Thomas Johnson High School’s educator named FCPS Teacher of the Year

April 15—Governor. Jonathan Kurtz of Thomas Johnson High School, who has been teaching music for nearly two decades, was named the 2022-23 Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

Kurtz is the coordinator of the Academy of Fine Arts, a program open to all students in the 10 high schools in the district. He received the honor in a surprise ceremony Thursday morning attended by students, teachers, administrators, and community and educational leaders, according to a press release from FCPS.

The teacher will serve as the school district’s representative in the Maryland State Teacher of the Year program, according to the release. Teacher of the Year is the most prestigious award an FCPS educator can earn.

“We were thrilled to recognize Jonathan this morning as FCPS’ Teacher of the Year,” Acting Superintendent Dr. Mike Markoe said in the statement. “Since coming to Governor Thomas Johnson High, he has worked extremely hard to support students and consistently advocates for arts education throughout the community.”

For the past 19 years, Kurtz has taught K-12 music, including classes in music theory, music technology, and music history. He has also taught orchestra, concert band and jazz band and regularly participates in curriculum writing and department chair meetings, according to the statement.

Prior to his current position, Kurtz started the group program at Urbana Middle School and grew it to become one of the largest in Frederick County, according to his biography on the Academy of Fine Arts website.

Kurtz served on Thomas Johnson’s hybrid reopening committee. Under his leadership, the Academy of Fine Arts continued to perform even as students learned virtually, according to the statement.

“Kurtz is passionate about music and wasn’t about to let the student performances go silent,” the statement read.

Markoe also announced the 2022-23 School and Central Office Support Employees of the Year at Wednesday’s school board meeting. Both employees will receive a cash award, a personal day off, a trophy and a school board pin.

Tuscarora Elementary School Principal Custodian Joseph Rhodes was recognized as the School Support Worker of the Year. He has been with the school district for 19 years and was nominated by Tuscarora Elementary Principal Carrie Zimmerman, according to a press release from FCPS.

“Joe is well known in our school community and well liked by students, staff and parents. He makes sure all students and staff have everything they need every day and often steps in to help when needed” , Zimmerman said in the statement. “Joe is very empathetic and has been known to buy food, clothes and shoes for students in need.”

Jeff Seymour is the Central Office Maintenance Worker of the Year. He worked for a decade at FCPS in Security and Emergency Management as a Security Specialist Technician and was appointed by his supervisor, Scott Blundell.

Other recognized support staff include:

– Maribeth Giangiuli of Oakdale Middle School, School-Based Special Education Teacher Assistant of the Year

— Audrey Fritz of Urbana High School, School Food Service Employee of the Year

— Vickie Roles, Bus Driver of the Year

— Julie Marker, Urbana Food School Secretary of the Year

— Keith Marconi, Central Office Maintenance Worker of the Year

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

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