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Teacher of the Year Blog

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Teacher of the Year Blog
Stop for a minute and think of a teacher that had a great impact on your life? For me, as I think of those teachers, the first thought that comes to mind is the way that they made feel.

To the top five finalists for Harford County’s Teacher of the Year: Amanda, Nicole, Deanna, Paula, Dawn- what you say in your classroom impacts your students understanding of content, what you do in the classroom puts that content into motion and creates application, but the how you make your students feel is what makes you unforgettable teachers. What you say and do to lift them up, how you challenge your students to think outside of the box, make them realize their potential, and so much more.

I’d like to thank those who have made this year as Teacher of theYear one that has forever changed the way that I view the field of education and teaching.  
Thank you to Ms. Barbara Canavan, HCPS Board of Education, Lindsay, Jillian, Christina, Stephanie, and all the members of Central Leadership that have supported and cheered me on in this journey.
Thank you to Kim Henry for nominating me, for your never- ending support, and for throwing fuel on the fire for my passion of teaching.
Thank you all the Teacher of the Year program sponsors, Darla Strouse, Regina Simpson, Lisa Mullens, Sharalyn Heinley, and to all the past teachers of the year who have reached out to offer their support and encouragement.  

 Thank you to everyone at John Archer School. There is an African proverb that states “It takes a village to raise a child”, so if it takes a village to raise a child, it requires a city to cultivate a teacher- and John Archer School is my city. Thank you to everyone, especially Randy Geyer, Kim Marine. Thank you to the three paraprofessionals I work closely with: Martha Gonzalez, Melody Watters, and Shanita Richardson.
During this year, I have received so many compliments an accolades, but one comment that stands out to me is what Marcy Johnson, JAS art teacher said, “When they announced you as the winner, it felt like we all won.”
And finally… to my students. My students are my teachers of the year as they have taught me about this profession and about the true meaning of what it is to be an educator. My heart and my passion is working with students who have special needs. Many of my students are considered “non-verbal”, but never mistake that with non- communicative. It my joy, honor, and privilege to work with these students in order to let their voices be heard. To my students I will share your stories in order to have your voices heard.
This has been an amazing year. There are so many awards that will come with this evening, but the experiences provided to the Teachers of the Year have taught me to spread my wings like I never imagined, opened doors and opportunities, reflect on a profassion I love.
By far the greatest reward of being “Harford County’s Teacher of the Year” was to meet and work with teachers from across the state of MD. In working with these amazing individuals, I was reminded of the diversity of schools in MD. And when I stop to consider the biggest “take away” from this experience, it is the importance of sharing our stories as educators.
To the five finalist and to all who work in the field of education, I urge and implore you to share your stories.
Share your stories for they have so much to tell us.
Stop and consider this list of accomplishments and consider the many stories that have come from the five Harford County Teacher of the Year finalists:
  1. A MD Social Studies Teacher of the Year,
  2.  Maryland teacher for the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy
  3. A corporate trainer at Harford Community College
  4. A teacher who serves on the Bel Air high school unity committee as well as the Harford County novel review committee,
  5. A teacher who developed a school-wide technology program designed from scratch within the itsLearning platform.
These accomplishments don’t even begin to delve into the stories of  our students and teachers who working hard to overcome challenges, gain success, and learning to navigate the world in order to achieve their personal goals.
Dr. Paula Stanton, 2018-19 Harford County Teacher of the Year said it best last night when she said “teaching is tranquility to me,” She compared teaching to flying an airplane high in the sky.  She also stated that it comes with an urgency, the same urgency a pilot feels knowing the “need to land the plane with everyone intact.”
Congratulations Dr. Paula Stanton and to all the educators who inspire, prepare, and help students achieve everyday!