Standouts | Hood Magazine Spring ’23

Andrea Trio, Johnathan Dunn and Jonathan Kurtz

The education programs at Hood College are thriving. Hood maintains close partnerships with Frederick, Howard and Montgomery County Public Schools. In classrooms across Maryland and beyond, Hood alums lead successful careers as teachers and administrators. This year, three graduates of the educational leadership program received high honors for their dedication to students.

Hood Alumni Receive Awards in Education

Andrea Trio, M.S.’14


Originally from Bellaire, Ohio, Andrea Trio earned a bachelor’s in music education (K-12) from West Virginia University. After moving to Frederick, Maryland, Trio taught music for 10 years at several schools, including Ballenger Creek Elementary, Green Valley Elementary and Spring Ridge Elementary, also serving as a behavioral specialist at the latter. In 2011, Trio was named a Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher, an honor which is presented annually in Frederick County and sponsored by Hood.

In 2014, she graduated from Hood with a master’s in educational leadership. “My courses and professors played an integral role in preparing me to develop and enhance my leadership qualities,” says Trio. “As a result, I feel as though my education at Hood most definitely has set me up for success.”

Trio and her family eventually returned to the Ohio Valley. She taught middle school choir for a year before accepting a position as principal of Madison Elementary in Wheeling, West Virginia. For Trio, her proudest achievement as principal is the relationships forged with students. “I have seen so many successes through strong relationships with my students. Reaching the whole child—academically, socially and emotionally—is the biggest reward.”

Trio is a proud recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award, which provides a $25,000 grant to teachers and administrators across the country. Among her many accomplishments, Trio was selected for her work with high-need students, embracing innovative approaches to conflict resolution and bolstering local partnerships in the community. She believes education is the key to success. “Giving young people an education provides them with the tools to use toward whatever they choose to do with their life,” Trio says. “As educators, we have a great honor to mold, shape and fill their minds with useful and incredible information.”

Johnathan Dunn, M.S.’22


Johnathan Dunn was raised in Largo, Maryland. He aspired to be a concert pianist before switching to music education, earning a bachelor’s from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He has taught music for 24 years at the middle and high school level throughout Maryland. Currently, he is a resource teacher for music and world languages at Sherwood High School, where he also serves as a restorative justice coach.

Although he was initially hesitant about a career in education, Dunn’s first student-teaching experience changed everything. “From the moment I stepped in front of my students, I connected with them through music in a deep and meaningful way,” he says. “It was akin to a breath of fresh air and something I had not felt since my own experiences as a student.”

Rather than pursue a master’s in music education, Dunn opted to broaden his pedagogy in a different field. He wanted to make a difference outside of the music classroom, and Hood’s M.S. program in educational leadership provided the perfect opportunity. “The Hood experience has profoundly impacted my perspective as an educator and further informed my actions as a teacher and aspiring administrator,” says Dunn. “The educational leadership program helped me consider the actions school-based leaders can take to improve school climate, shape the culture of a building and strengthen bonds between stakeholders, while improving student learning.”

Shortly before graduating from Hood, Dunn was named 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year for Montgomery County Public Schools. He was spotlighted for his commitment to students and his efforts to promote inclusivity in the classroom. Dunn feels grateful and humbled at the recognition. “Teaching is hard work. It is a profession that requires an inner resolve,” he says. “We help others grow. Having the opportunity to shine a light on the awesome work teachers are doing is the highlight of this honor.”

Jonathan Kurtz, C’15


Jonathan Kurtz has been teaching music for 20 years, working in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Virginia and Maryland. He is currently a music teacher at Governor Thomas Johnson High School, where he specializes in concert band, jazz band, orchestra, music history and music theory. In addition, he serves as coordinator for the Academy of the Fine Arts.

Raised in northern Indiana, Kurtz completed a Bachelor of Music at Taylor University before relocating to the East Coast. He holds a Master of Arts in music from the University of Maryland College Park as well as a certificate in educational leadership from Hood College. “The educational leadership pro- gram taught me how to view education through a large lens and see how all aspects work together,” says Kurtz. “Taking educational leadership courses allows us to see how things work, how to activate pathways for change and how to achieve success in all areas.”

Kurtz was named 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year for Frederick County Public Schools. His tireless support of students and consistent advocacy for arts programs were cited as chief reasons for winning the honor. “I feel very blessed to have this time to elevate the arts in public discussion and hopefully make them more accessible to students,” says Kurtz.

According to Kurtz, creativity is essential to learning. He believes arts education can help students discover their identities and how they fit into society. “Not every student will become a professional artist, but every student benefits from the arts through the way they provide a safe outlet for self-expression and a path to self-discovery.”

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