April Todd, a Language Arts teacher at Somerset Intermediate School in Somerset County, has been named the 2008 Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick made the surprise announcement on Friday evening at an evening gala that included Governor Martin O'Malley, Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Congressmen, members of the State Board of Education, and hundreds of educators, parents, business and community leaders.
Ms. Todd, a graduate of Washington College and Salisbury University, holds degrees in anthropology, literature, and a master's degree with a thesis on Reading Perceptions. Ms. Todd credits literature for influencing her decision to teach and attributes much of her success to the respect she gives her students, as well as her belief in their potential. Ms. Todd said that her primary joy stems from her work in the classroom.
As a sixth and seventh grade language arts teacher, her passion is developing technology projects that inspire reluctant readers and writers. She has authored reading strategies that have been implemented in two Maryland counties, in addition to taking on state leadership roles working with the Maryland School Assessments, the Voluntary State Curriculum, the Maryland Toolkit, and presenting at statewide conferences. Ms. Todd volunteers as a museum docent, is involved with Relay for Life and Walk America, and is a 'Locks of Love' hair donor.
"Choosing Maryland's Teacher of the Year is never an easy task, and this year's nominees were some of the best ever," said Dr. Grasmick. "April Todd's need to understand social interactions and cultures within the material she reads and for the students she teach, helped her stand out. Her tireless work with reluctant readers and writers influenced her to find a more effective path of instruction - this is one reason she is certainly well worthy of our celebration."
"An ongoing sense of accomplishment for me is derived from seeing my students take pride in their learning and their knowing their teacher is determined to bring expertise to the classroom to meet their needs no matter how challenging," said Ms. Todd. "Students are my greatest influence, for they fuel my passion to teach, and their knowledge is our future."
As the Maryland Teacher of the Year, Ms. Todd will receive an Apple computer, $9,000 in cash awards, a week at National Space Camp, a 4-day trip to the Teacher of the Year Conference in Dallas, Texas, a SmartBoard and supporting materials from SMARTer Kids Foundation valued at over $15,000, and a $25,000 Chevy Malibu from MD Automobile Dealers Association. She also will be honored by the President at the White House in April 2008. Ms. Todd will now go on to the National Teacher of the Year competition. The National Teacher of the Year will be announced next April.
Presenting sponsors for the Maryland Teacher of the Year program are the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonald's® Family of Greater Baltimore, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors include: Bank of America, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, Verizon-Maryland, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Gold sponsors include: The Baltimore Sun, Joe Corbi's Pizza, M & T Bank, Maryland State Teachers Association, and State Farm Insurance Company.
Please click on the link to view the 2008 Maryland Teacher of the Year on the Maryland State Department of Education's website.
NOTE: The 2008 Teacher of the Year and the 23 local teachers will attend a breakfast and forum with Mrs. Christine Sarbanes to discuss the Teachers of the Year involvement in helping UNICEF on Saturday, October 6th, from 8:30 - 12:00 p.m. at the Best Western Hotel, located at 1800 Belmont Avenue (next to Martin's West), 410.265.1400. Presentation of citations will be conducted by a representative of Senator Ben Cardin's office. For more information, contact Darla Strouse at 410-302-0263/cell.