Kimberly Oliver, an early-career teacher with six years of experience, a Master of Education Degree and National Board Certification in Teaching, was named the 2006 National Teacher of the Year and will be introduced to the nation by President George W. Bush at a ceremony tomorrow at the White House. This milestone for Ms. Oliver is also one for Maryland as she becomes the first Maryland Teacher of the Year in the history of the state’s participation in the program to attain this title.
“It is an honor to serve as the Maryland Teacher of the Year, and now as the National Teacher of the Year, representing the teaching profession,” commented Ms. Oliver, “because I am already an advocate for children and teachers. Given this unbelievable opportunity, I hope to emphasize the importance of early childhood education.”
“Kimberly Oliver stands as a symbol of excellence in teaching and is a model for those who teach or who desire to make a difference in our children’s present and future,” said Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
“Kimberly’s school, Broad Acres Elementary, is one that experienced many challenges,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “She has demonstrated that it is possible to significantly boost student achievement school-wide for students from every background.”
The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and continues to be the oldest, and most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teacher of the Year finalists by a national selection committee representing 14 national education organizations. Criteria used for selection include: the ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; respect and admiration for students, parents, and colleagues; playing an active and useful role in the community as well as the school. The rigorous selection process requires a written application with eight essays on topics ranging from philosophy of teaching to the issues facing education today. Finalists for the position participate in personal interviews.
The National Teacher of the Year serves as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession during the official year of recognition. On average, the teacher makes about 150 speeches and visits per year and serves on commissions and policy advising boards.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary elementary, middle, and high school teachers that are excellent instructors and education leaders in their schools and communities. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) oversees this program with all 24 local school systems participating. Annually, each local school system selects its top candidate for the Maryland Teacher of the Year and submits the teacher’s comprehensive nomination packet to MSDE, which selects finalists and the Maryland Teacher of the Year through a selection committee comprised of various education stakeholder groups, including students and parents.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year program is made possible through the generosity of its major sponsors, which include: Presenting Sponsors Maryland Automobile Dealers Association and McDonald's Family of Greater Baltimore; Platinum Sponsors Bank of America, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Verizon Maryland, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, and Peripheral Vision, LLC; Gold Sponsors The Baltimore Sun, M&T Bank, Maryland Public Television, Maryland State Teachers Association, and State Farm Insurance Company; and Silver SunTrust Bank.
Ms. Oliver will be recognized by Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. and will share her education platform with members of the Maryland media on May 1 at a reception at the State House. Governor Ehrlich will also proclaim May 1, 2006 as Kimberly Oliver Day in Maryland.
A biography of Kimberly Oliver follows.
Kimberly Oliver, National Teacher of the Year
Ms. Kim Oliver, the daughter of Vincent and Veronica Oliver, was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. Growing up, she developed a love for reading and always excelled in school. She attended the public schools of the Colonial School District, graduating from William Penn High School.
In 1998 Ms. Oliver graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hampton University (Hampton, VA) with a degree in English Arts. She later attended Wilmington College (Wilmington, DE) and received a Masters in Elementary Education in January 2000.
Ms. Oliver began her teaching career in Montgomery County Public Schools in August 2000. Determined to make a difference in the lives of at risk children, she chose to teach at Broad Acres Elementary, a culturally diverse and highly impacted school in Silver Spring, Maryland. At that time, Broad Acres was being considered for reconstitution by the state due to several years of declining test scores. Montgomery County Public Schools decided to take action and worked to restructure the school internally. During the restructuring process, Kim served as a teacher leader and is credited with having a major role in the instructional design of the school. Significant school-wide gains in student achievement have been made. Broad Acres has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the past three years, meeting or exceeding all requirements for the No Child Left Behind Act.
Now in her sixth year as a kindergarten teacher, Ms. Oliver remains optimistic as ever believing that all students are capable of learning and achieving. Her dedication to student success is evident from the moment you enter her classroom. She provides hands-on, differentiated lessons and activities tailored to meet the specific needs of her students. She believes that it is essential to build a rapport with each of her students and their families, so that students feel comfortable exploring, working, taking risks, and learning. Kim Oliver takes pride in being the “first teacher” for many of her students and strives to develop and instill a love of learning. She recognizes the importance of quality early childhood education programs and is an advocate for our youngest learners.
Ms. Oliver demonstrates the same level of high expectations and commitment that she has for her students, to her own professional growth and development. In November 2004, she achieved National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist. She is equally committed to the professional development of her colleagues and currently serves as teacher trainer for Montgomery County Public Schools.
In 2005, Ms. Oliver received the distinguished Marion Greenblatt Award in recognition of her excellence in motivating and educating students, families, and teachers. In April of the same year, she was selected as Montgomery County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She went on to receive the prestigious Maryland Teacher of the Year Award in October 2005 and became the first Maryland teacher to be named a National Teacher of the Year in April 2006. This year’s Maryland Teacher of the Year enjoys her role of speaking to various organizations across the state, sharing her story, advocating for students as well as teachers, and spreading her enthusiasm for education.