The Maryland Department of Education has named Brianna Ross, a Baltimore County sixth grade teacher, as the state’s Teacher of the Year.
Ross, a social studies teacher at Deer Park Middle Magnet School in Randallstown, was one of eight finalists for the 2021-22 academic year. She was announced Thursday night as the winner.
The others were Jing Dai of Anne Arundel County, Sidney Thomas of Baltimore City, Adrin Leak of Prince George’s County, Stephanie MacKenzie of Queen Anne’s County, Lauren Greer of Talbot County, Caroline Schlegel of Washington County and Dustin Thomas of Wicomico County.
“Thank you to my students. You have taught me what it means to love beyond condition, to teach with purpose and to lead fearlessly,” Ross said in a recorded video. “I would not be the woman I am or the educator I am without you.”
The teacher also thanked her parents, fellow teachers and mentors for supporting her and helping make the achievement possible.
Ross views teaching as “a revolutionary act of love,” according to an online biography from the Maryland Department of Education.
She helped launch a summer transition program to help kids succeed in middle school and serves as the equity liaison and social studies chair.
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Ross graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, and has a certificate in administration and supervision from Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore.
She is working on a doctorate in urban educational leadership from Morgan State University in Baltimore.
“Maryland’s teachers are critical in the lives of Maryland children, demonstrating unwavering commitment to engaging, inspiring and encouraging our students,” Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news release. “These outstanding eight finalists represent the many exemplary teachers throughout our great state, and I congratulate them on their nominations and well-deserved recognition.”
State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury agreed that becoming a finalist is a prestigious honor and said it is important to celebrate teachers who help students become successful.
“We know that the single most important school-based factor in student success is the adult in front of the classroom each and every day,” Choudhury said in a news release. “Our educators drive student achievement, and we applaud their dedication to excellence and equity.”
Finalists were selected by a panel of judges from education organizations, including principals, teachers, school boards, teachers’ unions and representatives from higher education. They were chosen based upon teaching, collaboration, leadership and innovation and out of the classroom.
Ross will compete for the National Teacher of the Year Award and spend the coming year as an educational speaker and adviser in Maryland.