Children & Youth

Sheppard Pratt Celebrates Teacher of the Year Recipients

Sheppard Pratt recognizes Alaini Boutte of Sheppard Pratt School in Hunt Valley and Ronald “Ron” Mahnert of Sheppard Pratt School and Residential Treatment Center in Towson as the recipients of the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year Award. Both Mahnert and Boutte were acknowledged for their achievements during surprise ceremonies at their respective schools on September 6 and September 9, with Sheppard Pratt leaders, colleagues, and students in attendance. 

The Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by The Dr. Penelope S. Cordish Endowed Fund for Teaching Excellence. The award was established by Dr. Penelope “Penny” Cordish’s family to honor the Sheppard Pratt board member and retired educator and to celebrate the dedication and achievements of Sheppard Pratt teachers. 

This year, 13 educators were nominated across Sheppard Pratt’s 12 special education schools. A five-part criteria evaluating quality, care, teamwork, integrity, and leadership was used to assess each nominee. While all nominees demonstrated a strong commitment to their students and their families, Bouette and Mahnert stood out. 

Boutte, a curriculum instructor and assessment coordinator, was recognized for her ability to tailor her classroom and curriculum to meet the needs of her students. “Alaini deeply cares for her students and their families. She has even gone so far as to purchase special items or plan unique lessons to engage her students,” said one nominator. “When you step foot in Alaini's classroom, you will notice that it has been transformed into the shelves of a grocery stores, a laundromat, and an office. She successfully configured her classroom into a supportive, nurturing, and highly individualized space to meet the vocational needs of her students,” noted another nominator. 

Mahnert, a mathematics teacher, was nominated for his personable and approachable demeanor as well as his willingness to take on duties outside the scope of his role. “Ron purposefully and effectively uses his personality—specifically his humor—to challenge and inspire all his students. Throughout his tenure at Sheppard Pratt, he has consistently gone above and beyond to demonstrate a commitment to high quality instruction,” said one nominator. 

Harsh K. Trivedi, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt, presented both awards and commended all Sheppard Pratt school personnel for their hard work and perseverance throughout the past year, saying “Educators have always played a critical role in preparing our youth for the future. Now more than ever, our educators are needed to impart kindness, humility, and knowledge on our students. I am proud to say that our Sheppard Pratt educators have, and continue to, meet this challenge!”

Both Boutte and Mahnert will receive a monetary stipend, and each of their respective schools will be granted an additional $5,000 for professional development.