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Education Foundation Celebrates TCPS Distinguished Alumni

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation held the 2022 “Mission Possible – Celebrating TCPS Alumni and Supporting Teachers,” on Friday, November 18, 2022 at the Oxford Community Center. The purpose of the event was to recognize Distinguished Alumni, celebrate Talbot County Public Education, and raise funds, awareness, and support for the Education Foundation.

The TCPS Distinguished Alumni are selected by an Education Foundation committee for their outstanding professional accomplishments, their commitment to giving back to their communities, and their belief in and support of public education.

2022 TCPS Distinguished Alumni

Mrak Higginbottom graduation photo and current head shot

Mark A. Higginbottom, D.M.D., Easton High School class of 1966

After graduating from Easton High as Salutatorian in 1966, Dr. Higginbottom earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology with a Minor in Classical Organ from Syracuse University in 1970, where he was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1974, and earned a Certificate in Orthodontics from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1976, having been recognized as the Most Highly Achieved Student in his class. He participated in Cleft Palate Programs at Kiernans Institute through the University of Maryland Dental School Orthodontics Program, and the Externship Program for Dental Students through the University of Pennsylvania. He opened Higginbottom Orthodontics in 1976, and the practice has grown from one assistant/front desk employee to currently having three doctors, including his sons Kyle and Erik, and 10 employees.

Dr. Higginbottom is a member of the Eastern Shore Dental Society, Easton Dental Educators, Maryland State Dental Society, American Association of Orthodontists, Middle Atlantic Society of Orthodontists, and Maryland State Society of Orthodontists. He has served on the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Abendmusik with Dr. William Wharton, the American Guild of Organists, Easton Choral Arts, and the Antique Automobile Club of America. He has been an organist at All Faith Chapel in Tunis Mills and the United Methodist Church in Easton, and he has provided piano or organ accompaniment for many local students

Higginbottom Orthodontics was voted by the Dental Community Practitioners as the Best Orthodontic Practice on the Eastern Shore for numerous years, and was voted the 2021 Best of the Best Orthodontist by the Star Democrat. The practice has provided internship opportunities for Easton High students. Dr. Higginbottom has also been an Instructor at Chesapeake College for the Dental Assisting Curriculum and was an Associate Professor of Orthodontics to Dental Students and Post-Graduate Students at the UMD School of Dentistry following completion his of studies.

Higginbottom Orthodontics adopts many classrooms in several TCPS school buildings to aid in the purchase of classroom materials. They partner with White Marsh Elementary and Chapel District Elementary for various events, especially during the holidays, to ensure that families have food and ways to celebrate the holidays. Higginbottom Orthodontics was designated Community Partner of the Year by the Chapel District Elementary in 2022.

Bertha C. Wilson graduation and distinguished alum photo.

Mrs. Bertha C. Wilson, Robert Russa Moton High School Class of 1951

Mrs. Bertha Brown Wilson is a 1951 graduate of Robert Russa Moton High School, the first class in Talbot County to graduate from the 12th grade. The salutatorian of her class, Mrs. Wilson continued her education at the Bowie State Teachers’ College (now Bowie State University), earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1955. She obtained her Advanced Professional Certificate in Secondary Social Studies by pursuing graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, Towson University and Morgan State University.

Mrs. Wilson began her teaching career in 1955 at the Robert Russa Moton High School in Westminster, Maryland with Carroll County Public Schools. She joined Talbot County Public Schools 1959, where she taught for 26 years at the Robert Russa Moton Jr. Sr. High School and Easton Middle School, before retiring in 1985 after 30 years of service. After retirement, she worked as a Project Independence Coordinator for Caroline County Department of Social Services and Intermittent Claim Specialist for the Maryland Department of Economic Development & Employment.
Mrs. Wilson is a member of Union United Methodist Church, St. Michaels, where she has served as a Liturgist and Lay Servant. She has also been a member of the Auxiliary at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, a member of the Board of Governors for the Auxiliary at the Breast Center, and volunteered at the Shore Regional Breast Center in Easton. She has been Chairperson of the Upper Shore Aging Advisory Council, a member of the Bowie State University Alumni Association, a member and previous co-chairperson for the Education Committee for the Talbot County NAACP, Member and Past Worthy Matron of Oziel Chapter No. 23, Order of the Eastern Star Chapter. She has also been member and Past President of Cambridge Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Member of the Board of Directors for the Talbot County Hospice Foundation, Member of the Talbot County Retired School Personnel Association where she served as a Legislative Chair, a member of the Maryland Retired School Personnel Association, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Comprehensive Planning Committee for Talbot County.
Mrs. Wilson has received many awards including: Certificate of Outstanding Achievement from the Panhellenic Council of the Eastern Shore (1998); Umoja Award from the Kwanzaa Foundation (1999); Award of Distinction upon her induction to the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame (2002); Car-Ken-Tal-Que-Dor Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc. Award of Distinction History Award; Talbot County NAACP Harriet Tubman Award (2003); The Maryland You Are Beautiful Award (2006); Certificate of Appreciation – Senior Celebration of Life – Outstanding Contribution to the Community – Talbot County Council (2007).

Dr. Jeff Etherton distinguished alum photos

Jeffrey H. Etherton, M.D., St. Michaels High School Class of 1977

Dr. Etherton currently serves as Medical Director, Interventional Cardiology at University Of Maryland Shore Regional Health in Easton. He graduated summa cum laude from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, with degrees in biology and English, and obtained his medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1985.

Dr. Etherton completed his internship and residency at the University of Florida, Department of Medicine, in Gainesville. He completed his cardiology fellowship in interventional cardiology at the University of Maryland, Department of Medicine, in Baltimore. He has also held several teaching positions at University of Maryland School of Medicine and Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, and has additional training in nuclear medicine. He was a molecular biologist at the National Institutes of Health and Ft. Detrick Military Biological Research Center, studying virus deactivation, working with a Nobel Prize winning research team.

Prior to coming back home to Talbot County, he joined Peninsula Regional Medical Center, in Salisbury, MD in 1991. There he started their device based cardiac interventional program, electrophysiology program, nuclear cardiology program and clinical cardiology research program, serving the whole Delmarva Peninsula, until 2016.

Dr. Etherton is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine; the American Board of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine; and the American Board of Internal Medicine, Interventional Cardiology. He maintains professional memberships with the American College of Physicians, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the Maryland Medical and Chirurgical Association, and is a Fellow with the American College of Cardiology. He is a United States veteran, having served with the United States Navy Reserve.

Dr. Etherton fills a critical role at all levels of service and professionalism, saving lives and building relationships within our community. He teaches and mentors young professionals, and has developed and implemented systems and cardiac health resources for our region. This includes the establishment of a state-of-the-heart Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory in Easton in 2017, which provides top notch care that patients previously experiencing a life threatening heart attack had to travel elsewhere to receive. In addition, he is a cardiology educator for Maryland Regional IV Emergency Medical Services, training Mid-Shore EMTs and paramedics.
Dr. Etherton is a long time sponsor of YoungLife, has co-chaired the Harold Baines Charity Golf Tournament in support of the Bay Hundred Youth Task Force Scholarship Fund, and has served the board of the YMCA.

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation was established in 2016 in partnership with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Its mission is to engage the community in supporting excellence in public education and provide resources to enhance the teaching and learning experience for all. To date the foundation has funded $140,000 in grants to TCPS teachers.