Honoring Inspiring Alumni

Annual Alumni Awards Recognize Service, Impact
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The College of Education Alumni Network Board honors outstanding alumni for their professional or volunteer achievements. On September 27, four distinguished alumni received 2023 College of Education Alumni Awards at a reception at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center for their work to increase student achievement and equity.

Michael J. Martirano ’81, M.Ed. ’85 ’92

Michael J. Martirano ’81, M.Ed. ’85 ’92, was honored with the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award, which celebrates an alum who has demonstrated excellence through leadership and innovation. A three-time EdTerp who also holds a doctorate of education in school management and instructional leadership from Nova Southeastern University, Martirano has served as superintendent of Howard County Public Schools since 2018. His work focuses on boosting student achievement and creating inclusive educational environments that increase equity and decrease opportunity gaps among students. Martirano began his career as a teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools and previously served as superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools and West Virginia Public Schools. 

Clemmie Solomon Ph.D. ’96

Clemmie Solomon Ph.D. ’96 was named Alumni Volunteer of the Year for his support for and involvement with the College of Education. Solomon launched the college’s annual Alumni of Color Celebration alongside Ebony Terrell-Shockley Ph.D. ’12, clinical professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies and educator preparation, to honor and create community among alumni and staff of color and raise funds for student scholarships. He is also a board member on the college’s Board of Visitors. Solomon retired from Montgomery College, where he served as college-wide dean of student engagement and Takoma Park/Silver Spring student affairs. He was previously the vice president for student affairs at the University of the District of Columbia, dean of student life at the Community College of Philadelphia, and dean of student services and director of counseling and student development at Bowie State University. Solomon earned his doctorate in education policy and social foundations.

Amanda Knapp Ph.D. ’13

Amanda Knapp Ph.D. ’13 received the Alumni Student Impact Award for her unwavering dedication to student success. Knapp, a first-generation college student with a Ph.D. in education policy, is associate vice provost and assistant dean of undergraduate academic affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She supports student achievement, guiding undergraduate students to degree completion through progression and persistence. Knapp is devoted to bridging the equity divide among students in higher education, a topic that she has spoken about widely and passionately.

Brian Burt M.A. ’06

Brian Burt M.A. ’06 was awarded the Alumni Changemaker Award for his dedication to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of education, specifically in STEM. As an associate professor and director of the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he studies the experiences of students of color in engineering and the factors that may encourage or dissuade them from pursuing STEM pathways. He is committed to mentoring students and engages both students and colleagues about diversity and inclusion. Burt holds a Ph.D. in academic affairs and student development from the University of Michigan.

College of Education Alumni Awards Recipients
Alumni Awards recipients from 2021 and 2022 were recognized alongside the 2023 honorees. From left to right: Tiffany "Tiki" Ayiku '05 (2022 Volunteer of the Year Award); Elizabeth Stuart '98 (2021 Outstanding Alumni Award); Brian Burt M.A. '06 (2023 Alumni Changemaker Award); Alana Murray '98, Ph.D. '12 (2022 Outstanding Alumni Award); Linda Pieplow '72, M.A. '78 (2021 Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award); Clemmie Solomon Ph.D. ’96 (2023 Alumni Volunteer of the Year); and Michael J. Martirano ’81, M.Ed. ’85 ’92 (2023 Outstanding Alumni Award). Photo by Leslie Jean