Giving Back

The Power of Philanthropy: A Gift for Teaching

The teachers who have the greatest influence on our lives possess an unparalleled level of enthusiasm, compassion, and creativity that shines through in their classroom instruction. They are role models and cheerleaders who guide and inspire us to do our best. 

The special educators at Sheppard Pratt Schools have a true gift, as they provide not only education, but care and counseling to the most vulnerable students across Maryland. Retaining these talented teachers is especially critical to the success of our students.

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Cordish has a deep understanding of the positive outcomes fostered by this level of care and commitment. Dr. Cordish, a member of the Sheppard Pratt Board of Trustees, dedicated more than 40 years to higher education. She spent much of her career as a member of the English department at Goucher College, serving as both chair of the faculty and the department. 

“I am a great believer in the purpose and power of education and what it does for people of all backgrounds and abilities,” Dr. Cordish said. “I carried this commitment to the Sheppard Pratt board and am deeply interested in the schools and the work our educators do in the community.”

I am a great believer in the purpose and power of education and what it does for people of all backgrounds and abilities.

To honor Dr. Cordish and her concern for education, her family established The Dr. Penelope S. Cordish Endowed Fund for Teaching Excellence. 

The fund will support an annual award to recognize, reward, and promote teaching excellence in our 13 schools. Two special educators, who are nominated as outstanding teachers by their peers and parents, will be named “Sheppard Pratt Teacher of the Year” and receive a monetary award. The fund will also provide their respective schools with up to $10,000 for professional development so that all special educators at the schools can benefit from specialized training. 

“Recognizing teaching excellence and providing meaningful professional education have been demonstrated as best practices to boost teacher retention and morale. At the same time, there is a pressing need to provide our teachers with continued education in new instructional strategies,” said Chip Maust, EdD, Vice President and Chief of School and Residential Treatment Centers. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Cordish as a champion and advocate of our schools. This generous investment in our teachers and the work they do will leave a lasting legacy for our students.”

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Without generous gifts from donors, Sheppard Pratt would not be able to realize its mission. We appreciate every donation we receive.