Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honored our nation’s top educators this week during a White House reception. Among the honorees were some exceptional teachers from our states. We hope you’ll take a moment to meet them below, and join us in congratulating them for their much-deserved recognition.

  • Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship, Maryland. An exceptional educator inside and outside of the classroom, Rhonda is a 10th- and 11th-grade English teacher at Rising Sun High School in North East. Rhonda is passionate about helping her students develop critical thinking skills through exploring literature. Read more about Rhonda here.
  • Ryan Devlin, Pennsylvania. Ryan teaches at Brockway Area High School in Jefferson County, and it’s no wonder the Keystone State chose him to represent great teachers. He’s an educator who encourages “creativity, critical thinking and collaboration” among his students, says Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis. Outside of the classroom, Ryan is a mentor and after-school activity leader. He’s also passionate about integrating technology into his lessons to boost student learning. Read more about Ryan here.
  • Lauren Marrocco, New Jersey. Lauren Marrocco is the type of educator who makes her fellow educators better. She’s a learner at heart. She follows this belief: “The needs of my students are constantly changing, but it’s my job to understand their weaknesses and help them rise.” Read more about Lauren here.
  • Greg Ahlquist, New York. Greg has been teaching for 12 years in Webster public schools, and it’s not the first time his classroom presence has drawn accolades. Greg also won the district’s Oak Tree Award for teaching. Outside of the classroom, New York Education Commissioner John King says that Greg “believes strongly in partnering with students and modeling active citizenship and a concern for social justice through several annual community events that help the hungry as well as raise money and awareness in the fight against leukemia.” Read more about Greg here.


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