Delaware Division Of Public Health Recognized As A Healthy People 2030 Champion

DOVER, DE (July 1, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is pleased to be recognized by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Healthy People 2030 Champion.

As a Healthy People 2030 Champion, DPH has demonstrated a commitment to helping achieve the Healthy People 2030 vision of a society in which all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across their lifespan.   

ODPHP recognizes DPH as part of a growing network of organizations partnering with it to improve health and well-being at the local, state, and tribal levels.  

The goals of the national program are to:  

  • Attain healthy, thriving lives and well-being free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death. 
  • Eliminate health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all. 
  • Create social, physical and economic environments that promote attaining the full potential for health and well-being for all. 
  • Promote healthy development, healthy behaviors, and well-being across all life stages. 
  • Engage leadership, key constituents and the public across multiple sectors to take action and design policies that improve the health and well-being of all. 

“I am pleased that DPH is participating in the Healthy People 2030 program,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “A good life starts with good health and that is what DPH strives to deliver to all Delawareans through its programs and partnerships. DPH offers a full range of free to low-cost programs aimed at reducing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Participating in this initiative will help us reach more people.” 

“ODPHP is thrilled to recognize DPH for its work to support the Healthy People 2030 vision,” says Rear Admiral Paul Reed, MD, ODPHP Director. “Only by collaborating with partners nationwide can we achieve Healthy People 2030’s overarching goals and objectives.”   

Healthy People 2030 is the fifth iteration of the Healthy People initiative, which sets 10-year national objectives to improve health and well-being nationwide. Healthy People 2030 Champions are public and private organizations that are working to help achieve Healthy People objectives. Healthy People 2030 Champions receive official support and recognition from ODPHP.  

Visit for more information on DPH programs. Visit for information on free or low-cost cancer screenings, blood pressure screenings, free or low-cost diabetes programing, and information and tips on leading a healthy lifestyle.


Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

John Dickinson Plantation Receives Award of Excellence

(DOVER, Del. — June 15, 2022) — The American Association for State and Local History announced today that it has presented a prestigious Award of Excellence to the John Dickinson Plantation, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, for the project, “Search, Discovery, and Interpretation of the African Burial Ground at the John Dickinson Plantation.” The Award of Excellence is part of the Association’s Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.

Logo for American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Awards

As part of the project, a concerted effort to find the burial ground at the John Dickinson Plantation began in the late summer of 2020. In March 2021, after utilizing research from surviving documents, aerial photography and archaeology, the African Burial Ground was discovered. Project development began with decisions on how to interpret this culturally sensitive and historically significant site. The goals for interpretation included delineating the historical context of enslaved peoples’ lives, recognizing African Americans in the cultural landscape and locating those with ties to the burial ground. Initial programs included public visitations to the African Burial Ground, a virtual visitation for school children, and culminated in an online panel discussion on Dec. 8, 2021 with Gov. John Carney, which can be seen here:

Photo showing the location of the African burial ground in a field at the John Dickinson Plantation.
Stakes mark the location of the African burial ground in a field at the John Dickinson Plantation.

The American Association for State and Local History’s awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions and programs to make contributions in this arena.

The John Dickinson Plantation is located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Delaware. Dickinson, known as the “Penman of the Revolution,” was one of America’s founding fathers who wrote of freedom and liberty for all while holding human beings in bondage. The John Dickinson Plantation tells the stories of the Dickinson family; and the tenant farmers; indentured servants; and the free and enslaved Black men, women and children who lived, worked and died on the plantation.

Photo of the log'd dwelling at the John Dickinson Plantation
Log’d dwelling at the John Dickinson Plantation. The building is a recreation of the type of housing inhabited by enslaved people at the plantation as well as tenants and indentured servants. The site’s mansion house is in the background.

The John Dickinson Plantation is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-577-5170

2022 Delaware State Finalists For White House STEM Recognition Announced

The Delaware Department of Education has named five Delaware teachers as state finalists for the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition that K-12 STEM teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Finalists’ applications now will move forward to the national level for final selection of the 2022 PAEMST Awardees.


The 2022 Delaware state finalists are:


  • Jason Orlen, East Millsboro Elementary School, Indian River School District
  • Michele (Missy) Snyder, Major George Welch Elementary School, Caesar Rodney School District
  • Allison Van Ness, Clayton Intermediate School, Smyrna School District


  • Maria Cobb, Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Brandywine School District
  • Jaime Swartz, John M Clayton Elementary School, Indian River School District


Find photos of the finalists here.


The goal of the PAEMST award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching (including technology, engineering and computer science) in addition to honoring individual achievement. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of STEM education.  The award alternates between teachers of kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.  Every year each state selects up to three mathematics teachers and three science teachers as state finalists. A national selection committee reviews state finalist applications and selects one awardee in each content area for every state. Teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. As part of the recognition process, awardees take part in a weeklong series of networking and professional development activities in Washington, D.C., and receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.


Additionally, the 2021 DE state finalists also are awaiting final selection by the national panel. The 2021 DE state finalists who were announced last summer are:

  • Katherine Hoffecker (mathematics), Odessa High School, Appoquinimink School District
  • Tommie Polite (mathematics), Laurel Middle School, Laurel School District
  • Michael Reitemeyer (mathematics), Las Americas ASPIRA Academy Charter School
  • Corey Butterfield (science), George Read Middle School, Colonial School District
  • Brian Heeney (science), Delcastle Technical High School, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
  • Erin Motley (science), Gunning Bedford Middle School, Colonial School District


The White House announcement of national awardees for both 2021 and 2022 are expected within the 2022 calendar year. Congratulations to all Delaware finalists!


For more information about PAEMST and to see nomination forms and application instructions, visit


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Brandywine’s Jahsha Tabron named 2022 Delaware Teacher of the Year

A high school special education teacher from the Brandywine School District is Delaware’s 2022 State Teacher of the Year.

Jahsha Tabron of Brandywine High School now is Delaware’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. She will use her position to share her message to fellow teachers about the importance of teachers building strong communities.

“As a special education teacher, I have witnessed the power of inclusive classrooms. Inclusion erases educational barriers, embraces diversity, develops resilience in students, and fosters their perseverance,” Tabron said. “Teachers, our ability to persevere and succeed is dependent on the communities we build; we cannot and should not do this alone! Our greatest resource is each other.”

Governor John Carney made the announcement during a Dover ceremony to honor the 20 district/charter teachers of the year.

As a co-teacher in grades 9 to 12 English classes, Tabron works to make learning relevant to her students. She maintains academic rigor while helping students make connections to themselves, the text, and the real world. Her primary focus is ninth-grade special education students who are transitioning to the high school setting. Her expertise is in working with students and families to foster community connections between home, school, and educational agencies.

Tabron also works to uphold equitable educational practices; she facilitates opportunities for fellow educators to foster student-centered growth. She mentors new teachers in special education compliance requirements necessary for developing individualized education programs.

A former colleague, M. Dwayne Caldwell, wrote in a letter recommending Tabron for the honor that she lives by a three-step guide in all that she does: “1) be truthful about what is actually happening; 2) determine the steps that need to be taken to change; and 3) hold yourself accountable for taking the steps. This approach has guided all of her work – as a building leader, as a mentor to new teachers, with special needs students, and with me.”

Tabron believes the most important thing an educator can teach a student is the power of self-advocacy. She speaks for the voiceless. She helps the often-overlooked students find their voices whilst advocating for them. She connects with students and encourages them to become active participants in their learning. Tabron believes that success lies in self-reflection. She is always willing to re-examine her work and the impact that it has on her students.

DaSheena Robinson, a Brandywine High alumna who went on to become a teacher herself, also recommended Tabron for the honor. While in high school she applied to be a teacher’s assistant in Tabron’s class because she wanted to learn from her.

“Mrs. Tabron ensured social emotional learning, conflict resolution and goal setting permeated through each of her daily lessons,” Robinson said. “Through this experience I noted first-hand how society could discourage students due to socioeconomic status, race, or intellectual level, but it only took one person to truly believe and invest in order to counter the negativity. When students were tired and frustrated with life’s circumstances, Mrs. Tabron served as a voice of compassion and hope for a better tomorrow.”

Tabron earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary and special education from Delaware State University and her Master of Education in school leadership and instruction from Wilmington University.

In addition to serving as her school’s special education department chair, Tabron also is a district transition facilitator to assist students with disabilities transition to post-secondary education or employment opportunities.

Tabron inherits from outgoing Teacher of the Year Kimberly Stock the responsibility of representing all teachers in Delaware. She will address community groups, business leaders, legislators, and educational organizations to inform the public about the status of Delaware schools. She also will become Delaware’s candidate in the National Teacher of the Year Program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers sponsored by the Voya Foundation.

By action of the General Assembly, she will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, as well as two personal grants totaling an additional $5,000. The remaining 19 school district/charter candidates each will receive a personal grant of $2,000. All 20 teachers also received gifts from Advantech Incorporated and their district superintendents or charter principal.

Tabron also received gifts from the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware School Boards Association and Delaware State Teachers of the Year Association; State of Delaware Teacher of the Year commemorative plates from the Division of Motor Vehicles; a full doctorate program from Delaware State University and University of Delaware; and a 10-karat gold ring from Jostens.

This year’s celebration was sponsored by Voya Financial.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Those interested in arranging interviews with Tabron on Tuesday should contact Brandywine School District public information officer Danielle Pro-Hudson at


Watch the virtual celebration and announcement online here.

Find information on all 20 nominees here.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

DNREC Parks Director Earns National Award

DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens /DNREC photo


The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens has received the 2021 National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) Conference Distinguished Service Award Sept. 10 during the NASPD’s annual conference.

NASPD states on its website that “The Distinguished Service award is given to a state park director who has demonstrated a long-term, sustained record of professional accomplishment in the field of park and recreation management.”

“Ray is the perfect recipient of this national award. He is an innovative problem solver and leader whose passion for the environment, people and our state park system directly benefit the millions of people who visit Delaware State Parks each year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “He is a true steward of park lands with a customer-centric focus who pushes his team to excel and provide the public with enjoyable experiences within our state parks.”

For 30 years, Bivens has dedicated his career to park stewardship with a passion for natural and cultural resources, customer service, training, partnerships and staff development. He is a hands-on leader who often works alongside Delaware State Parks field staff to gain perspective of the visitor experience.

He has placed a focus on youth during his 18-year tenure with Delaware State Parks, and played a lead role in creating the Delaware Children in Nature plan and the creation of the First State Heritage Park in Dover. One of his first acts as director was to establish the Delaware Youth Conservation Corps. Other accomplishments include having a key role in the creation of the Trap Pond and Killens Pond state park nature centers, and the development of multiple new trails and playgrounds.

Under Bivens’s leadership, the Delaware State Parks system, administered by the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, has seen tremendous growth and broken records in various areas, including camping/cabin stays, volunteer hours, park attendance, and revenue. Park users generate 65% of the revenue utilized to operate and maintain the parks. A recent economic impact study concluded that out-of-state visitors generate close to $400 million in impact on the Delaware economy thanks to the state park system. Other milestones include the dedication Delaware’s 17th state park, Auburn Valley, in 2018 and the creation of the division’s first strategic plan in 2020.

In 2016, the division was selected as the only small state to be awarded the National Gold Medal as the best managed state park system for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA). Delaware State Parks is currently a finalist for the 2021 Gold Medal award to be announced later this month.

“Delaware State Parks has an abundance of natural and cultural resources,” Bivens said, “but our greatest resource are the dedicated staff and volunteers who passionately give of their time and talents.”

Prior to being named Delaware’s eighth state park director in 2013, Bivens served as the division’s chief of interpretation and operations section manager. Bivens’s natural resources career started as a teenager in the Maryland Youth Conservation Corps. He served as a park naturalist for various Maryland state parks including Rocky Gap, Tuckahoe and Point Lookout state parks. Bivens and his wife, Becky Bivens, reside in Frederica.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, or Shauna McVey,