Aaron Geiman, an agriscience teacher at North Carroll High School, has been selected as a finalist for the 2011-12 Maryland Teacher of the Year award. The winner will be announced next month. (Photo by Noah Scialom / September 24, 2011)

Aaron Geiman has a gleam in his eye that gets brighter as he talks about education.

Whether he's talking about his students at North Carroll High School, school policies, parents, agriculture science or the future of education, Geiman is passionate. All aspects of his vocation intrigue him, and he does his best to do his best for his students.

"He is probably one of the brightest, most

innovative teachers," said Richard Weaver, the career connections teacher at North Carroll, and the person who nominated Geiman for Teacher of the Year in Carroll County.


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He won that honor early in April and is now a finalist for the Maryland Teacher of the Year award. The winner will be announced in October.

"He's always looking at things differently," Weaver said. "Aaron has a little different thought pattern and focus than other people. He always has. It makes him a unique person."

Born and raised in Carroll County, Geiman graduated from North Carroll in 1993 — in fact, Weaver was one of his teachers.

Geiman received his bachelor's degree in animal science and agricultural education at Oklahoma State University in 1997, and his master's in career and technical education at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, in 2009.

He began teaching at his alma mater in 1998 and, after 13 years, has no plans to leave.

"It was little bit (odd) at first," Geiman, 36, said of teaching at the school from which he had graduated and where he had Weaver as a teacher. "It was nervousness. It's not a problem any more."

Global issues

Geiman's classroom, on the lower level at North Carroll, is reached from an outside entrance. It's there, in a high-ceiling room with walls filled with information about crops and animals — and a sign that says simply, "Manure Happens" — that Geiman teaches agriculture science.

It's an elective topic that he believes is critical to the lives of his students, now and in the future.

"A typical farmer feeds 150 people," Geiman notes. Yet, "only 2 percent of the U.S. population are farmers."

In one class, he challenges his students to consider ideas to help end world hunger.

Although there's technically enough food available now to feed the world, as the population steadily grows there won't be, he tells students. It's their job, he suggests, to find answers for the next generation, and to face pests such as stink bugs and the predatory snakehead fish species.

In the class, students tackle projects that bring agriculture into focus as a worldwide concern.

"It's about the process, not the product," Geiman said of his students' projects. "Analyzing the problem, the thinking process. It is not about the right answer. I want to empower them to become life-long learners."

Geiman, who serves as the adviser for North Carroll's chapter of Future Farmers of America, says he also wants to help students find their "vision," whether it's in agriculture or another field.

"Fewer and fewer graduates have that clear vision," Geiman said. "They take only what they need to graduate.