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‘I’m so honored and humbled’: Hammond Middle School math teacher wins presidential award

Hammond Middle School math teacher Stacie Marvin, center, pictured with Board of Education Chairperson Mavis Ellis and Superintendent Michael Martirano, received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from the White House on Aug. 3.
Hammond Middle School math teacher Stacie Marvin, center, pictured with Board of Education Chairperson Mavis Ellis and Superintendent Michael Martirano, received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from the White House on Aug. 3. (Photo courtesy of the Howard County Public School System)

As a Centennial High School student in the 1980s, Stacie Marvin fell in love with math.

Now a math teacher in the Howard County Public School System, Marvin credits her love for the subject to her math teacher at Centennial.

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“I had the most amazing teacher in Pat Trabbic,” Marvin, 53, said. “She inspired me to be a teacher and specifically a math teacher. She just made sense of everything. It was the first time I saw a teacher take us away from the tree to see the forest, and I was inspired by that.”

About 40 years after Marvin sat in Trabbic’s classroom, the Hammond Middle School math teacher received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from the White House.

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“I’m so honored and humbled,” Marvin said. “I’ve been lifted by so many people, and I’m so grateful. And there [hundreds of] other teachers in the county who could have won this.”

Marvin was one of 122 teachers recognized by the White House on Aug. 3. Awardees were picked from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Department of Defense Education schools, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

The math and science awards, which were established in 1983, are the highest awards given by the U.S. government to kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. The recipients are chosen by a panel of mathematicians, scientists and educators. The winners will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and a certificate from President Donald Trump, along with an awards ceremony in Washington, which is currently unscheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Marvin is the eighth Howard County teacher to win the award, which alternates each year between kindergarten through sixth grade teachers and seventh through 12th grade teachers.

“This is a prestigious award,” Hammond Middle Principal Aaron Dale. “She’s a wonderful teacher and person, and we’re honored to have her.”

Dale said Marvin, who has been at Hammond for six years, is “all in” as a teacher and has taken on almost every opportunity presented to her as an educator. In addition to teaching regular, intervention and Gifted and Talented classes, Marvin has also been a mentor teacher, a development liaison and a team leader.

“She’s very dedicated,” Dale said. “She’s committed to the field of education, to Hammond Middle School, the HCPSS and, most of all, to her students. She exemplifies the level of commitment that I want every teacher who walks through our doors to have.”

Marvin, who has also taught in Virginia and Pennsylvania, was nominated for the award by Greta Richard, a math instructional support teacher and Marvin’s team leader last year. Marvin then submitted her application, and Dale and Jon Wray, the school system’s coordinator of secondary mathematics, both wrote recommendations.

Marvin credits the school system, her colleagues and her students for her recognition. Most of all, she’s thankful for those in her past, like Trabbic, who motivated her to become a math teacher in the first place.

“I remember [Trabbic] talked about how much she loved her job, and I remember thinking that I wanted to be that happy,” Marvin said. “She was also so good with her vision of how math relates to everything in the world. That’s been the driving force for how I teach and how I connect with my students.”

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