Category Students
Author Jim Sheehan

In what has quickly become an honored tradition, more than 200 community members gathered on May 21, 2018, for the School of Education’s fifth annual Society of Excellence Awards, recognizing outstanding teaching and scholarly achievement. The school bestowed its highest honors upon 21 faculty members, alumni and degree candidates during the evening event.

Since 1992, the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association has presented the Excellence in Teaching Award to outstanding faculty, based on nominations by current students. This year, the award was shared in the School of Education by Norma Day-Vines, professor and program lead in counseling and human services, and Bascom “Dit” Talley, director of federal programs for the school’s Public Safety Leadership Division.

Day-Vines, who joined the faculty in January 2012, was praised for instilling in her students “the requisite skills to deliver counseling services that value human dignity and the worth of all clients, irrespective of their individual differences.” Talley, a dedicated advocate of his division for 14 years, was commended by one of his students for exemplifying “what it means not just to teach, but to facilitate learning, to challenge ideas, and to question dogmatic beliefs.”

Master of Arts in Teaching candidate Adam Newcomer received the Al Thormeyer Award from Mary-Ellen Beatty O’Ferrall, associate professor and MAT program lead, who highlighted Newcomer’s resilience in the classroom and his ability to build strong relationships with students and colleagues.

O’Ferrall also presented two Diane Tobin Memorial Awards, for demonstrated excellence in teaching, to two alumnae of the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Last year, Jessica Lee, MAT ’17, and Katherine Somerville, MAT ’17, both went on to teaching positions in Baltimore City’s Brehms Lane Public Charter School, where their energy, resourcefulness, and commitment to every student have made an immediate impact.

Another Diane Tobin Memorial Award went to current MAT candidate Joelle Biele. Associate Professor William Sowders applauded Biele, an award-winning poet and lecturer at several area institutions, for her dedication to the teaching profession and for her inspiring contributions in his class.

The school also recognized 13 outstanding candidates in different areas of study who had demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, and collaboration with peers. As in previous years, behind each award was a unique, personal story.

Having left Baltimore City in middle school, Malcolm Rowe, recipient of the Excellence Award in Administration and Supervision, chose to return as an adult to Baltimore City Schools, where he has taught social studies for the past four years. In presenting his award, Associate Professor Annette C. Anderson described her soon-to-be former student in glowing, but knowing terms.

“Malcolm has impressed me as a student of the whys,” Anderson said. “As in, ‘Why do you think so many of our schools continue to fail our students—particularly our black and our brown students? Why, Dr. Anderson, can we seem to find the money to fund fancy stadiums… but we cannot seem to find sufficient resources to build and staff adequate schools for our children?’” Although she doubted she had produced satisfactory answers to Rowe’s tough questions, Anderson went on to say it had been a joy for her to see him grow as a leader at the School of Education, “and for those whys to help him become wise as a reflective practitioner.”


At the School of Education’s fifth annual Society of Excellence Awards ceremony, awards were presented to the following faculty, alumni and degree candidates:


Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award

Awarded to university faculty, teaching assistants, and junior members who excel in the art of instruction.

Norma Day-Vines, PhD

Bascom D. Talley, Ill




Al Thormeyer Award

Awarded to a Master of Arts in Teaching candidate who exemplifies the spirit and dedication of its namesake.

Adam Newcomer


Dianne Tobin Memorial Award

School of Education faculty created this award in her honor to recognize those who have demonstrated excellence in teaching.

Joelle Biele, PhD

Jessica Lee, MAT ’17

Katherine Somerville, MAT ’17


Edward F. Pajak, Jr. Award

Awarded to an alumna/us of the School of Education’s EdD program. The recipient is a K-12 school leader who has demonstrated visionary leadership through the application of progressive educational theory to the practice of serving communities, families and youth.

Christine Brookbank, EdD ’17


The MEHP Alumni Award

This award is given to the alumna/us who has demonstrated impact in the global transformation of health professions education through scholarship, leadership, and commitment to excellence.

April Fitzgerald, MD, MEHP ’16



Awarded to outstanding candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, and collaboration with peers.


Carol Pepper


Karen Caldwell


Juliana Jung, MD ’99

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Leila Warraich

School Counseling

Alexis de la Rosa

Educational Studies, TFA and TNTP

Haley Vasquez-Bradshaw

Educational Studies, Interdisciplinary

Sarah Heist

Educational Studies, Urban Teachers

Christina Luthers

Administration and Supervision

Malcolm Rowe

Special Education

Carly Delavigne

Intelligence Analysis

Matthew Care

Organizational Leadership, Master’s


Organizational Leadership, Bachelor’s

Shahram Fard

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