Two distinguished educators join HCPS Hall of Fame during fall 2013 induction
Mary Ellen Kennedy
Mary Ellen Kennedy graduated from Penn State University in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. In 1959, she earned her Master of Science in Library Science. She went on to complete additional graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland and Drexel University.
Ms. Kennedy began her career with Harford County Public Schools in 1963 when she was hired to develop the elementary school library program. She became the first supervisor of library services and spearheaded the process to unify the 17 school libraries at that time.
Her biggest contribution to Harford County Public Schools during her more than 30 years with the school system was transforming school libraries from book warehouses into media centers with books, magazines, audio visual equipment and computer technology, all with the goal of sparking a love for literature in students.
She established a central book processing center for elementary school media centers, the Film Library, the Professional Library and the Film Review/Selection Committee; and developed and implemented policy and procedures for materials, book selection and the operations of all HCPS media centers. She also created the library technician position.
Throughout her career, Ms. Kennedy was involved in the design and layout of 19 renovated media centers and the design, layout and collection development of 29 new school media centers. In addition, she relocated the Profession Library six times and was instrumental in moving it into the 21st century with automation of collection and library technology.
In 1987, her efforts at Norrisville Elementary School put Harford County in the national spotlight by making that the first school in the nation where every student and staff member had a public library card. By the following year, every HCPS elementary student had a public library card. This accomplishment is just one example of the strong relationship Ms. Kennedy forged between the school library community and the Children’s Services division of the Harford County Library.
Ms. Kennedy was also active in several organizations outside of HCPS during her career. She was president of Delta Kappa Gamma from 1978 to 1980, president of the Maryland Educational Media Organization from 1984 to 1985 and president of Soroptimist International of Bel Air from 1985 to 1987.
In June of 1995, after 31 years of dedicated service to the students of Harford County, Ms. Kennedy retired to pursue other interests she had little time for during her career.
Ms. Kennedy was nominated for induction into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame by Mr. Terry LaPorte, with endorsements from Ms. Patti Pfau, Ms. Esther Dombrowski, Ms. Sue Swisher and Colleen Irwin.
Thomas Macklin Trafton
Thomas Macklin Trafton attended Essex Community College and continued his education at Towson University, graduating in 1974. He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park in 2000.
Although he never intended to make teaching his career, after teaching science for several years on a provisional basis in Baltimore City, he found it to be a very satisfying profession. Mr. Trafton was passionate and fascinated by the subject of science and always enjoyed transferring that enthusiasm to his students. Witnessing this excitement and transformation was what he enjoyed most about teaching.
He began his career with Harford County Public Schools in 1980 at Havre de Grace High School. He taught at Havre de Grace High until 1995, and then transferred to Fallston High where he taught until he retired in 2010. Teaching Environmental Science for the majority of his career enabled him to expand beyond the four walls of his classroom and to develop lessons using the natural environment and public works institutions, creating opportunities for his students to become stewards of the environment. Throughout his career, he and his students were able to complete numerous community service based projects using grant money and monies collected through recycling efforts, including building a campus outdoor education center, constructing and maintaining campus nature trails and planting thousands of trees and shrubs on school campuses and throughout the community.
In addition to working with students, Mr. Trafton was instrumental in developing curriculum for Environmental I and II and AP Environmental courses. As the first teacher in Harford County to teach AP Environmental Science, he was able to mentor other teachers in the county and state to help develop successful strategies for helping students achieve college credit earning scores on the AP exam.
Mr. Trafton is most proud of coaching the Envirothon teams at Havre de Grace and Fallston high schools for 20 years, winning multiple awards at the national, state and county levels; and coaching twenty seasons of varsity softball and varsity soccer, winning five regional titles and appearing in two state finals.
Mr. Trafton was the recipient of several honors and awards throughout his career, including: Maryland Conservation Teacher of the Year (1989), a Governors citation in appreciation of his commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission and Maryland’s Critical Area Law (1992), Harford County Teacher of the Year finalist twice (1992, 2002), and Susquehannock Educator of the Year (1994). In addition, in 2010, the annual Harford County Envirothon Spirit Award was renamed the Tom Trafton Spirit Award.
In 2010, Mr. Trafton retired to pursue other interests and has since become a certified yoga teacher. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and camping and spending time with his wife, daughters, step daughters and grandchildren.
Mr. Trafon was nominated for induction into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame by Ms. Karen Romanelli, with endorsements from Mr. Eric Genco, Mr. Joseph Schmitz and Mr. Dennis Kirkwood.