Westview teacher among finalists for county award

Among the hundreds of teachers in Baltimore County Public Schools, five were selected as finalists for the 2013-14 Teacher of the Year award.


From those five, Sean McComb, an English teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, was selected for the award, which was announced Monday, May 6, in Towson.

Cara Detwiler, a fourth-grade teacher at Johnnycake Elementary School, said she was honored to be among the nominees.

"I feel really humbled by it," Detwiler said last week. "I'm super excited."

Detwiler is not only a teacher at the school on Craigmont Road, she is an alumna.

She grew up in the area and taught at Johnnycake for three years before leaving to spend two years teaching in Brooklyn, N.Y.

She returned home to give back to her community.

Her husband, Will Detwiler, also teaches fourth grade at the school on Craigmont Road and she said she is thrilled at the positive attention the award has brought their Title I school.

"It's really nice to have this experience together with him," Detwiler said.

"I think Johnnycake is a really unique and special school that doesn't get as much positive recognition as it deserves," she said.

Detwiler also said she is thankful to be a finalist for an award that gives teachers the extra appreciation she feels they all deserve.

"This is a lot of responsibility," she said of being a teacher. "It's nice for just a more general recognition of what we do every day."

She said she feels that some area residents sometimes look down upon Johnnycake because of the economically disadvantaged students it serves.

She's hopeful the recognition for her being a finalist for the county's teacher of the year award might help change that.

"I do feel like, sometimes in Catonsville, people will look at a school like Johnnycake that's Title I and pity it," Detwiler said.

Title I is a grant program that provides supplemental resources to economically disadvantaged schools to support the achievement of their students.

"I think it's really special that this is a situation where, because I was nominated...we want people to know that this is not a school to be pitied and these are not children who aren't as capable," she said.

"And if anything, I think our kids in our school are so much more resilient because of the life experiences that they've had," she said. "I'm so happy that they're getting to share in this little 15 minutes of glory thing."

"And of course it means a lot that this is where I went to school," Detwiler said.

The other finalists were Andrea Bissell of Chesapeake High School, Lynn Detter of Riderwood Elementary School and Kay Sonnfah-Senior of Cockeysville Middle School.

Cecily Anderson, an English teacher at Catonsville Middle School, won the award in 2009-2010.

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