Through shining peer recommendations and a Review Committee from St. Mary’s County Arts Council, Christina Baker (Performing Arts) and Randy Tusing (Visual Arts) were chosen to receive the 2021 Kay Daugherty Arts Educator Award. Along with this recognition, each instructor will also receive a $500 award in appreciation of their dedication and above-and-beyond contributions as arts educators in our community.

As a current staff member at Lexington Park Elementary School and also having worked at George Washington Carver Elementary, Christina Baker has been recognized as a strong advocate for music education within the school, the county, and beyond. She has a natural ability to excite students about music while encouraging them to grow and flourish through their studies. One of Ms. Baker’s greatest strengths is her dedication to excellence in all areas of education including elementary band, chorus, and as a general music director/ educator. The innovative materials which she has created have been utilized by every St. Mary’s County Public School Fine Arts student and teacher as part of their curriculums and studies. Christina is vested in the education of every single one of her students, taking the time to know them as well as to gather their story to customize the most relevant teaching styles crafted to their needs.

As an artist, Ms. Baker is an accomplished songwriter and also plays an astounding number of twenty-four-plus instruments! As a lifelong learner both professionally and personally, we are proud to recognize Christina as a 2021 award recipient. “Ms. Baker advocates for all of her students and for students in general. She works hard to make sure they have the resources that they need from the school and school system and will often use her own money for instruments and supplies.” ~R. Mattera, St. Mary’s County Public Schools Music Teacher

Mention Mr. Randy Tusing’s name anywhere in the Southern Maryland area and you will hear about the love our community holds for our longtime teacher! As an instructor of 45 years now, Mr. Tusing had worked at schools in both Delaware and Maryland until the summer of 1986 when he was hired to teach Art at Leonardtown High School (LHS). Randy has now been at this campus for 35 years and still continues to lead art classes and to be a favorite instructor of many past and present students.  

Mr. Tusing has also been involved in various roles with the Leonardtown High musical productions and choral concerts, is currently a Co-Sponsor for the LHS  National Art Honor Society, teaches Art for the College of Southern Maryland’s Kids College Summer Program, and has been active with several different community theatres. “My most important honor is my students and the various school staffs I have gotten to work with over the years. The constant kindness, support, and belief in me are gifts I hold close and honors that I have always worked to live up to.” ~Randy Tusing

These awards are granted in memory and recognition of Kay Daugherty (1921-2006) who was well-known for her love of art in a wide variety of different forms. Kay was one of the founding members of the St. Mary’s Arts Alliance at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and came to know and befriend many of the established and emerging artists of her time. Realizing that the youth of our community hold the keys to the future, Kay held a deep admiration not only for the student artists also but for their instructors as well.  In 2018, a new award was created in honor of Kay Daugherty in recognition of outstanding arts educators currently teaching in the St. Mary’s County, MD public school system.

Submitted by St. Mary’s County Arts Council (www.stmarysartscouncil.com). Photos provided by artists.


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