Baltimore County

Baltimore County Public Schools names teacher, principals of the year

Baltimore County Public Schools named two women as Principals of the Year and one woman as Teacher of the Year for 2019 Wednesday night.

Kristen Nielsen, a Middle River resident, teaches English language arts at Crossroads Center and serves on the school’s equity team. Before that, she worked as a teacher at Eastern Technical High.


Monica Sample, from Overlea High School, and Charlene Behnke from Honeygo Elementary School, were named as Principals of the Year; the award is divided between elementary school and middle/high school principals.

“I am so fortunate to work in a school that has been embraced by our entire community,” Behnke said during the award ceremony.


Sample said she was “humbled and honored” to receive the award from the school system.

“I am so lucky to be among an esteemed group of leaders," she said of the other principals in the BCPS system.

Nielsen thanked her colleagues and students during the presentation, and said she realizes she is “just one of countless white women in countless classrooms around the country.”

Nielsen advocated for “better, more equitable, more affordable pathways” for individuals of color to become teachers and enter the field of education.

“Racism continues to prevent talented individuals from entering classrooms, and chases great educators out of schools, our county and the profession,” she said.