Caroline Co. Names Teacher Of The Year

Image courtesy of Caroline County Public Schools

A Spanish language teacher is Caroline County Teacher of the Year.
Mirta Valdes-Bradner received the honor during a surprise visit to her school from Interim Superintendent Dr. Derek Simmons, the board president and several other members – with students and staff also on hand.
Valdes-Bradner started teaching with Caroline County Public Schools in 2003 and taught Exploratory Language at Colonel Richardson Middle School before moving to North Caroline High School to teach Spanish at all levels, including advance placement. She was recognized by Governor Larry Hogan last year with a Medal of Excellence for being an AP advocate.
Matt Sartwell, a school bos driver is Caroline County Public Schools Support Employee of the Year.

Caroline County Public Schools provided more information about the Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year:

Mirta Valdes-Bradner began her teaching career with CCPS in 2003. She taught Exploratory Language at Colonel Richardson Middle School during her first year before moving to North Caroline High School to teach Spanish at all levels, including Advanced Placement (AP). In July 2021, she was awarded the Medal of Excellence by Governor Hogan for her work as an AP Advocate. Ms. Valdes-Bradner earned her National Board Certification (NBC) in 2018 and has since become a strong advocate for the program.

Ms. Valdes-Bradner’s nomination stated, “Ms. Bradner always puts in extra effort in support of her students’ learning and development. She has a deep passion for her subject, and enjoys seeing students learn and be challenged by something that is often so new to them.”

This year’s nominations resulted in three exceptional finalists. The judging committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists, which also included Erin Alexander, Greensboro Elementary; Amy Bauman, Denton Elementary; Thomas Cheezum, Colonel Richardson High; and Megan Ozman, Colonel Richardson High. Once finalists were chosen, Interviews were conducted to choose the teacher of the year.

Ms. Valdes-Bradner will now go on to represent Caroline County in the Maryland State Department of Education Teacher of the Year program.


Matthew Sartwell began his career with CCPS in 2014 as a playground assistant at Denton Elementary School.  He continued to serve in that capacity through the 2017-2018 school year.  In 2018, he moved over to the Transportation Department as a bus driver.

Mr. Sartwell’s nomination stated, ““Matt is someone who is the definition of what makes a great employee and person in a student’s life; he is far more than just a great driver, but a great influence on everyone he comes in contact with. He has a phenomenal work ethic, is friendly and cordial with everyone, prioritizes the safety and well-being of his students, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help out a student, staff member, other driver, or anyone else he meets.”

As with the Teacher of the Year award, support employees also had a high number of nominations. In addition to Mr. Sartwell, two exceptional finalists were chosen: Instructional Assistant Susan Long, Colonel Richardson Middle, and Security Tech Specialist Frankie Prettyman, Technology Department.