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Sherwood High School’s Dunn named Teacher of the Year

by Judith Hruz


Johnathan Dunn, choral teacher at Sherwood High School, is the 2022-2023 Montgomery County Teacher of the Year.

“I am deeply humbled by this amazing honor and grateful for the opportunity to work daily with Sherwood staff and students,” he said.

Dunn received the top honor during Montgomery County Public Schools’ virtual “Champions for Children” celebration on April 28, and hearing his name was an “unexpected announcement,” he said.

“This year has truly been a year filled with personal triumphs, disappointments and heartbreak, but all those moments gave way to sheer elation and joy,” he said of the award.

Dunn will now go on to compete for Maryland Teacher of the Year.

“Like most music teachers I’ve encountered in my career, Mr. Dunn connects with his students on a deeper level, often serving as counselor, therapist, cheerleader and trusted mentor,” his Sherwood colleague, Michael Maddox, said in March when Dunn learned he was a finalist. “His classes are the highlight of his students’ day.”

Dunn and Maddox, along with Alex Silverbook, are the producers/directors of the popular 50-year-old Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival.

Dunn has been a choral teacher at Sherwood High School for nine years and is known as a joyful and enthusiastic educator who works tirelessly to see that his students benefit from his lessons.

He teaches chorus, piano and music perspectives. Believing that music is a way to connect, he makes the music department a home for everyone. He also leads other school events, including vocal direction for the fall musical production and the Night of Jazz event in the spring.

Outside school, Dunn contributes his time to community events, and is active as a leader in music ministry and worship. A graduate of Catholic University, Dunn is a composer, arranger and pianist whose career began as an aspiring concert pianist. He has served as artistic director for the Washington Youth Choir.

Dunn is also restorative justice coach at the school, and in the 2020–2021 school year took on an administrator position responsible for the ninth grade. He is in his final semester of graduate studies at Hood College, earning a master’s degree in educational leadership.

Dunn was one of three finalists for Teacher of the Year, along with Irma Najarro, fourth grade bilingual teacher at Washington Grove Elementary School, and Michael Edwards, sixth grade world studies and global humanities teacher at Julius West Middle School in Rockville.

Dunn thanked the Sherwood community for its kind words and support.

He thanked Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight, the MCPS Board of Education, the “MCPS Teacher of the Year” selection panel, Sherwood Principal Timothy Britton, and Sherwood staff and students.

He also expressed his gratitude to the team of supporters “who took the time and made the effort to submit nomination materials on my behalf,” including Jill Fitzgerald and her son James, Monica Hanson, Diane Lawrence, Heather Milke, Sue Snively, Daryl Thorne, and Sherwood alumni Lucy and Meg Kuchma and Tiani Thorne.

He thanked his “dear friend and brother Alex Silverbook, who supported this effort.”

He also thanked previous principals for their “support of me along my professional journey in MCPS,” including Dr. Jonathan Jones and Dr. Donna Hollingshead of Cabin John Middle School; Bill Gregory, James Fish and John Yore of Sherwood High School; Dr. Eric Minus of Francis Scott Key Middle School and Sherwood High; Carole Goodman of James Hubert Blake High School; Dr. Traci Townsend of Earle B. Wood Middle School, and Mildred Charley-Greene of Northwood High School.

“Each of you gave me an opportunity to be my authentic self and grow under your leadership,” he said. “I am eternally grateful and forever in your debt. Thank you.”

As Teacher of the Year, he receives $1,000 and a one-year car lease from Fitzgerald Au

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