A Baltimore County English teacher who the state superintendent said "personifies the cutting edge Maryland educator" was named Maryland's 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year, state education officials announced Friday.
Sean McComb, of Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, was surprised with the honor at a gala attended by state and local education officials and political leaders at Martin's West.
According to a release from the state department of education, McComb was chosen for his focus on "creating critical readers, strong writers, and judicious thinkers."
McComb, in his eighth year of teaching, coordinates Patapsco's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, and teaches the value of service through engaging students in projects that help feed the hungry.
McComb said he was "pretty overwhelmed and overjoyed" about accepting the award in front of his wife Sarah, his father, two sisters and his in-laws.
"It supports the work that I've done and encourages me to continue to do more," he said. "The best feedback I get is from my students and their parents every day, and this kind of reinforces that."
McComb said "all great teaching is founded in great relationships" with students. When he gets back to Patapsco High, he said he plans to tell his students that he was given the award "because of their hard work, their encouragement."
Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance, who was in attendance at the gala, said in a statement that he was excited state education officials recognized what Baltimore County officials "already know" about McComb: That he is "a passionate and effective teacher who engages his students with facilitative and collaborative lessons that are relevant to their lives and how they learn."
The other finalists were: Carol Garner of Allegany County; Jodie Hogan of Anne Arundel County; Ketia C. Stokes of Baltimore City; Steven Luthultz of Cecil County; George McGurl of Howard County; and Christina A. Ulrich of Montgomery County.
In addition to a host of prizes, including a cash award and a new 2014 Kia Forte, McComb will represent Maryland in vying for the national title and be honored by the president at the White House next spring.
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