Joshua Parker, an English/Language Arts teacher at Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore County, has been named the 2011-2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard J. Sadusky made the surprise announcement this evening during a dramatic gala at Martin's West that also included Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.
Joshua Parker is a graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland – he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Communication, a minor in English from Towson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership in Teaching. He is zealous when it comes to teaching to prepare world-class students, and he has proven his abilities while serving as English/Reading/World Language Department Chair at Windsor Mill Middle School, as well as an English Language Arts teacher at both New Town High and Dundalk Middle Schools. Having an uncommon drive to see students succeed, Mr. Parker states that he believes in their potential and works tirelessly to not only open, but to also fill their minds with instructional tools for learning.
Joshua Parker's exceptional tutelage, leadership, and enthusiasm to shape the future goes beyond the classroom – he has organized a middle school all-male reading club; directed a top-ten finishing Black Saga Team; coached a boys’ junior varsity basketball team; coordinated a summer program directed at engaging local youth; and implemented a comprehensive after-school program at two middle schools. He is, undoubtedly, an exemplary role model for his students and many colleagues at Windsor Mill Middle School.
"We believe that our teachers will set the pace for teachers throughout the nation," Dr. Sadusky said. "Maryland education is an industry leader not only because of the efficacy of its programs, but also because of the skills of its highly qualified educators. It is because of such dedicated teachers, like Joshua Parker, that students will follow a successful academic path – and be college and career ready in the 21st century."
"Choosing Maryland’s Teacher of the Year is never a minute task for the esteemed judging panel, and this year's nominees were some of our very best. Joshua Parker is an education trailblazer that has proven to be an extraordinary leader in the teaching profession who goes beyond the day-to-day demands of his position to create an exceptional learning environment," said Dr. Sadusky. "May he continue to provide a blueprint for fellow educators, as well as be a dominant spokesperson to help sustain Maryland’s education initiatives. He is truly deserving of our respect and recognition tonight."
Heritage, love, need and opportunity coalesced to push Mr. Parker to become a teacher. Growing up as an African American male, he often felt separated from his peers, and this led him to search for allies where he found, through pages of his history, inspiration from African American males who used intelligence and candor and wit and the power of the spoken word through teaching to change the world.
"Teaching was the way that I could use the knowledge of my heritage, the love of English content, and the universal need that I saw to make a difference," said Joshua Parker. "Looking back over my brief but expansive teaching career, I can’t help but smile. I get opportunities to impart passion, wisdom, content knowledge, and love I have to students. Yet, my greatest achievements include providing students with a dependable role model, helping them conceptualize the purpose and power of English while helping them achieve on standardized tests."
As the 2011-2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year, Mr. Parker will receive $9,000 in cash awards, a week at National Space Camp, a 4-day trip to the Teacher of the Year Conference in Dallas, additional forums and conferences in Washington, D.C., and Princeton, New Jersey, a Smart Board and supporting materials from SMART Technologies valued at more than $15,000, a 2012 Honda Civic from the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association valued at over $25,000, and many additional gifts and prizes. Mr. Parker also will be honored by the President at the White House in 2012, and he will now go on to compete to become the National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced next April.
Additional dignitaries attending the gala included Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, former Maryland State Schools Superintendent; Congressman John Sarbanes; U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, Retired; State Comptroller Peter Franchot; Dr. William E. Kirwin, Chancellor, University System of Maryland; Larry Unger, President of Maryland Public Television; members of the Maryland State Board of Education; Michelle Shearer, 2010-2011 National Teacher of the Year; corporate sponsors, and hundreds of educators, parents, business, community leaders, and distinguished guests.
"The opportunity that my profession affords me is the greatest reward I can reap,” Joshua Parker said. “I get a daily opportunity to advance society."
Please click on the following link to view the 2011-2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year on the Maryland State Department of Education's website.
Presenting sponsors for the Maryland Teacher of the Year program include: The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association; McDonald's® Family of Greater Baltimore; Comcast; and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors include: Bank of America; Lockheed Martin; Verizon-Maryland; and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Gold sponsors include: The Baltimore Sun; M&T Bank; Maryland State Education Association; State Farm Insurance Companies; and WJZ Channel 13.
The 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year and the 23 local teachers will attend a breakfast and forum on October 15th. The forum takes place from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Best Western Baltimore West Hotel, located at 1800 Belmont Avenue (next to Martin’s West), 410.265.1400. For additional information, please contact Dr. Darla Strouse at 410.303.1013/cell.
Joshua Parker - 5 x 7, 300dpi photo
Maryland Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maryland State Department of Education with major underwriting provided by corporations and other organizations. The program is an affiliate of the National Teacher of the Year Program. All local Maryland local school systems participate and all 24 semi-finalists are engaged throughout their selection year, in learning and recognition programs and also as Advisors to the State Superintendent. Selection of the Maryland Teacher of the Year is made by a Blue Ribbon Panel of Judges that represent teachers, administrators, parents, and higher education. The Maryland Teacher of the Year goes on to represent teachers throughout Maryland and also competes for the esteemed title of National Teacher of the Year. Each year, the Maryland Teacher of the Year is named at a Teacher of the Year Gala – this year marks the 21st anniversary.