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Milanoski named Harford's Teacher of the Year for 2019

For Robbie Shivers, Havre de Grace High School English and drama teacher Paige Milanoski, is more than just an educator, she has “always been a school mom.”

“She’s always been a shoulder to cry in and an ear to listen,” Shivers, an HHS senior, told the audience gathered at the Bayou Restaurant for the annual teacher of the ear banquet Wednesday night.

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Milanoski, 41, was later revealed as the 2019 Harford County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2019 in a surprise announcement.

“The five finalists were amazingly talented and to be selected from that group, I can’t imagine a greater honor,” Milanoski said in a post-banquet interview.

The other finalists included Rebecca Martinek, a science teacher at North Harford Middle School; Kristie Smith, a science teacher at Edgewood Middle School; Kathleen Thompson, a gifted-and-talented teacher serving Ring Factory and Joppatowne Elementary Schools and Dawn Zipay, a music teacher at Ring Factory Elementary School.

All five were honored during the banquet, which is traditionally a time to celebrate the teaching profession as well as the Teacher of the Year finalists.

“It is a challenging position, but there’s nothing in the world more rewarding,” HCPS Superintendent Sean Bulson said.

He noted student success “begins with the relationship that the students have with their teachers, and nothing can replace that.”

Milanoski, a resident of North East in Cecil County, has been a teacher for 20 years. She started her career in 1999 at Harford Technical High School in Bel Air and worked as and English and strategic reading teacher, plus she served as chair of the English Department and a cheerleading coach. She spent 15 years at Harford Tech, followed by one year teaching at Bohemia Manor High School in Cecil County, and she has been at Havre de Grace High for the past four years, according to Milanoski and a news release from HCPS.

She currently teaches English and strategic reading at Havre de Grace. She is also the faculty advisor for the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, working with students and members of the community to help them avoid drug and alcohol addiction and other self-destructive decisions.

Milanoski said she was “overwhelmed” by the Teacher of the Year honor. She said she is “very excited” for the recognition of her school.

“It’s such a special place, and my kids are the reason that I am here,” she said.

Each finalist was introduced by a current or former student who talked about the difference they have made in students’ lives.

Shivers, 18, of Havre de Grace, who introduced Milanoski, later said his teacher deserves the honor “with every breath in her body — she lives and dies with [teaching].”

“I’m getting emotional just thinking about it, but she deserves it,” he said. “I’m proud of her.”

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