Photo Credit: Kim Henry
At that moment, the whirlwind I have been living in for the past few weeks continued. Prior to the Teacher of the Year celebration at The Bayou (thank you for the very delicious dinner!), there were so many exciting (and yes, a bit nerve-wracking) events for the TOY finalists. We had a meet and greet with people throughout the county, including central leadership personnel and previous “Teacher of the Year” winners. Each finalist was individually interviewed by a committee of seven people, our teaching was observed by several committee members, photos and videos were taken in our classrooms, and we were recognized at a Board of Education meeting.
Photo Credit: Jillian Lader
After my name was called, the whirlwind stirred up again and keeps on going! I am still in shock that I was actually selected, especially when considering my very talented, energetic, and dedicated company in the four other finalists: Michael Brogley, Social Studies teacher at C. Milton Wright; Jessica Harcarik, Heath teacher at Southampton; Kristina Powell, music teacher at Bel Air Elementary, and Kelly Sayre, 3rd
grade teacher at Red Pump. You are all Teachers of the Year!!
In my acceptance speech, I noted that if “it takes a village to raise a child”, then it surely “takes a city to raise a teacher”. John Archer School is my city. I have spent 11 of my 14 years teaching there and I absolutely love it. The students of John Archer School are my passion! The staff of John Archer School are my foundation! Look at how many people were lining the “red carpet” for me the day after the announcement! (No wonder they wanted to make sure I didn’t arrive to work early that day!)
During the morning celebration, a
friend from John Archer said, “I feel like we have all won!” This made me feel ecstatic because I accept this honor on behalf of all of the hard working people in Harford County Public Schools. I promise to use this position to promote the field of education and advocate for our students. The students are what it is all about.
Photo credit: Beth Connor
I have received many emails, messages, flowers, and cards. I thank everyone for their well wishes and celebratory messages. The cards from the parents of students and, even some from the students themselves, are my favorite. I have also received emails that have warmed my heart, like the one from a special educator Fallston High School, Corinne Knight. While we have never met, she shared that she felt a personal connection given that we work with the “coolest of kids” both being in the special education field. I sincerely hope I can meet Corinne one day, in addition to the many other new people and friendships I will form because of this honor. Additionally, next week, TOY finalist, Michael Brogley will be coming in to visit my classroom with students who are part of “Stand Up for Autism” program at his school. These experiences are the real rewards of this title and are just the beginning of the amazing opportunities and that have already come from this honor. I am looking forward to having you be a part these experiences and this journey through this blog.
One of my current students, Gabbi Reeves, who learned to walk just 4 short months ago, walked me in as I was introduced at the TOY dinner. She told everyone at the dinner why I should be chosen as Teacher of the Year using a voice output switch because she has not yet learned to talk. This picture has become the iconic photo from that evening’s celebration for me. I look forward with happiness, excitement, and yes, still a little disbelief, to the many adventures and learning opportunities awaiting me!
With love to all,