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Davis language arts teacher is 2024 CCPS nominee for The Washington Post’s Teacher of the Year Award

Wendie Newcamp, a language arts teacher at Theodore G. Davis Middle School, is the 2024 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) nominee for The Washington Post’s Teacher of the Year awards program.

“She is such a committed, dedicated practitioner of the craft of teaching,” Christine Turner, eighth-grade language arts teacher and Newcamp’s grade-level and content partner, said.

Newcamp, who knew she wanted to be an English/language arts teacher since she was in first grade, has a bachelor’s in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master’s in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, the eighth-grade co-team leader at Davis and a member of the school’s leadership committee.

Newcamp has been a teacher with CCPS for 26 years beginning her career as a language arts teacher at Piccowaxen Middle School where she spent a decade. From there, she became a gifted education resource teacher at General Smallwood and Davis middle schools for the following six years before shifting to a learning resource teaching role. Then it was back to the classroom as a language arts teacher at Davis.

She writes language arts curriculum for CCPS and likes that it allows her to enact change that positively impacts student learning. “As a teacher, I believe in the power of choice and voice, discussions being fundamental in my teaching approach,” Newcamp said. One curriculum writing moments she is most proud of was suggesting students be provided a choice of historical fiction titles to read and using literature circles in the classroom. “Yes, we still analyzed our texts and had the same rigor as presented in the existing curriculum, but there are other avenues to teach the standards and when students are more engaged and motivated, the experience is better for everyone,” Newcamp said. “Providing choice and voice opened access to all students.”

Davis eighth graders regularly earn the highest language arts scores and show the most growth on the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) test in the county, according to John Tompkins, content specialist for middle school language arts for CCPS. “Ms. Newcamp has always been a part of that team, even though many other teachers have come and gone throughout the years,” he said. “Collaborative planning is a way of life for the eighth-grade language arts team and is not seen as ‘another meeting.’ Planning with Mrs. Newcamp is the best form of professional learning Charles County has to offer. Wendie Newcamp is one of the best educators in Maryland.”

Davis Principal Robert Griffiths said that Newcamp knows how to train and assist her colleagues, and she understands that her planning time isn’t about her success, but the success of the school. “She is always on duty,” Griffiths said. “She is always present. She makes everything about Davis, including the people around her, better.”

Extra! Extra!

Newcamp keeps parents up to speed on what’s going on in the classroom with Newcamp News, a monthly newsletter detailing activities, upcoming assignments and ways families can support their children at home that will benefit them at school. “Mrs. Newcamp goes above and beyond the call of duty to keep parents involved in our children’s education,” said Marjorie Childs, a Davis parent, whose youngest child is currently in Newcamp’s class. “Active and consistent communication is important in the success of our students, and Mrs. Newcamp has done a remarkable job at creating a supportive partnership,” Childs said.

Part of Newcamp News is dedicated to a Discussion MVP or Most Valuable Participant in the Student Spotlight. The MVPs are students who are recognized by their classmates for their contributions during literature circles. Students submit names of their peers and reasons why they think they deserve a shoutout that month.

Students appreciate that Newcamp is patient when it comes to teaching grammar and literature. “She is always helping the students in our class when we need it and she never gets irritated when we do not understand something,” Niyair Adams, a Davis eighth grader, said.

Newcamp tries to give the best to her students. “Our profession, our students, our future leaders deserve the best, our best,” she said. “If you need to see a doctor, you don’t need someone who just has a pulse. In a classroom setting, we need educators who can read the pulse of the room and adjust plans to meet the need of the students. I am always looking for ways to grow, learn and improve to offer the best for my students and all the students in the county.”

The Post established its Teacher of the Year Award to recognize teachers who exemplify excellence in the profession. The goal of the award is to honor teaching in excellence, encourage creative and quality instruction, and to contribute to the improvement of education in the metro area.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,765 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 38 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).