Touchstones Teacher of the Year Award

Cynthia M. Barry Touchstones Teacher of the Year Award

Since 2011, Touchstones has honored an educator in the U.S. or Canada for her or his work in the classroom. Thanks to Cynthia M. Barry, who first sponsored this award and who is herself a long-time Touchstones teacher, we are celebrating our sixth Touchstones Teacher of the Year this December.

We are thrilled to announce that Larry Harris of Cecil County Public Schools has been selected by the nomination committee to receive this award in 2016. In 2013, Larry was one of more than a dozen teachers and trainers who participated in an intensive week-long Touchstones training initiative in CCPS. That effort — to create a core group with the capacity to deliver internal professional development within the district — was part of the district-wide implementation of Touchstones in grades 3-12 English/Language Arts classes.

Larry trained dozens of CCPS middle school teachers in Touchstones before returning to the classroom two years ago. He now teaches 10th and 11th grade English, English Honors, English as a Second Language, and Arts of Expression.

Touchstones looks forward to honoring Larry’s work on Dec. 10, 2016 in Annapolis, MD.

2011 Award winner Debbie Wilkins (center) with her children.

2011 Award winner Debbie Wilkins (center) with her children.

Debbie Wilkins from North Salisbury Elementary School in Salisbury, Maryland, was selected as the first recipient of the Cynthia M. Barry Touchstones Teacher of the Year Award in 2011.


2012 Award winner Garreth Heidt (l) and Award founder, Cynthia M. Barry (r).

The 2012 winner was Garreth Heidt, a Humanities teacher from Perkiomen Valley Middle School East in Collegeville, PA. The 2013 award was presented to Steven Davidson, a high school teacher in the North East San Antonio School District (NEISD).

Cindy and Myke

2014 Award Winner Myke Healy (r) with Cindy Barry (l).

At Touchstones’ special 30th Year Gala event in December of 2014, Myke Healy, Director of Teaching & Learning at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, was recognized as the 2014 recipient.

Cindy and Shanelle

2015 award winner Shanelle Muse (r) with Cindy Barry (l).

The 2015 award was presented to Shanelle Muse, a 5th grade teacher at Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City. She has taught over 100 students using Touchpebbles as an integral part of her English class. Even in her acceptance speech, Shanelle demonstrated her heart as a true educator and role model by sharing her student Emily’s perspective: “[Touchpebbles] made me think more about the world in different perspectives. It also gets me ready for the real world… it will also help everyone stand up for what they believe. After we finish you feel empowered and feel strong, like a gust of wind.”

Please contact Touchstones by phone (410) 604-3309 or email if you have any questions about the nomination process, the form, or the award.

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