3 teachers honored with Schmoke Award BALTIMORE CITY

December 03, 1992|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Being a successful teacher takes love, hard work and patience, say three Baltimore public school teachers who should know. They're this year's winners of the Kurt L. Schmoke Teacher Awards:

* Grace Hulse, an art teacher at Elmer A. Henderson Elementary School.

* Alvin T. Wallace, an instrumental music teacher at Hamilton Middle School.

* Janice Tillman, a special education English teacher at Frederick Douglass Senior High School.

Amid accolades from their students and colleagues, the winners were announced yesterday by the Fund for Educational Excellence, a private non-profit organization supporting Baltimore public schools through grants and programs.

This is the second year for the awards. One goes to a new teacher with less than five years' experience, one to a teacher with six to 19 years and one to a veteran with 20 years or more. Each winner is to receive $2,500 during a ceremony Tuesday at City Hall.

"Miss Hulse is good for me. When I give up, she always says don't give up," said Donnie Little, a fifth-grader at Henderson Elementary.

In her third year, Ms. Hulse was recognized as the outstanding new teacher in the system. "I love teaching, I'm so happy I made the decision to change careers," said Ms. Hulse, who graduated in 1981 from the Maryland Institute College of Art and worked as a calligrapher before returning to school for a master's degree in education.

"I live in the city. I like the city. I thought maybe I could do my little part to change things," she said. One of the projects that won Ms. Hulse recognition was a billboard designed by her fifth-grade students as part of a school campaign to clean up the neighborhood.

Seven of Alvin Wallace's students played "An American in Paris" and gave individual testimonials to the 16-year city school veteran who won the "experienced teacher" award.

"He's like a dad to all of us," said Melanie Demanss.

"He pushes you just to that level to play your best -- even though you don't think you can," said James Wilson, who, with his best Mr. Wallace imitation, conducted the other musicians.

"Just working hard" is what makes an effective teacher, said Mr. Wallace, who said he has to turn away students because he can't teach any more than the 150 he has now. He plans to spend a large part of his award money to set up a computer lab in the school's band room.

"I teach special education kids and I just feel it's so necessary to show love," said Janice Tillman, the "career teacher" award winner. She has taught "every subject, even French" in special education high school classes over the last 26 years.

"It's love and caring" that have made her a successful teacher, said Ms. Tillman, who teaches ninth- through 12th-grade English at Douglass High. "I have no children. That's why I love all 81 [students] of mine."

Ms. Tillman said she was surprised and honored by the award. "I didn't know that anybody thought I was that good."

The money for the awards came from Mayor Schmoke, who gave the $90,000 Drug Peace Prize he won from the Drug Policy Institute to the education fund "to show his recognition for what teachers are doing," said Jerry Baum, the fund's director.

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