Susan Higley, an eighth-grade mathematics teacher at Cherry Hill Middle School in Elkton, was named last night as Maryland's Teacher of the Year for the year 2000.
The Cecil County teacher was recognized for her innovative teaching techniques, particularly for linking math lessons to the real world and for working with business partners.
"I am so honored," Higley said. "It takes all of us working together as one for students to learn."
The award was announced by state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick during a ceremony at Martin's West honoring the teachers of the year from Maryland's 24 public school systems.
"With the crisis in attracting and retaining top-notch teachers in fields such as mathematics, it is heartening to have someone like Susan Higley teaching our students," Grasmick said. "It leaves me encouraged about the future of our educational system."
In addition to the award, Higley received a $5,000 check from the Maryland Business Round Table Foundation and various other prizes, including a trip on the Pride of Baltimore II and a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. Higley and the 23 other local school system winners will also receive computers.
"I'm looking forward to learning about weightlessness," said Higley, who works with NASA as one of her business partners.
She becomes the state's nominee in the national Teacher of the Year competition, which is expected to be decided in the spring.
The other six finalists in the state competition were A. William Determan, an eighth-grade science teacher at Beall Junior/Senior High School in Allegany County; Diane Gerrior, a music teacher at Severn River Middle School in Anne Arundel County; Daniel Waldheim, a K-5 learning specialist at Calvert Elementary School in Calvert County; Craig Harvey, a music teacher at Fallston High School in Harford County; Joanne Mead, a music teacher at Clarksville Middle School in Howard County; and Gladys Billups Goslee, a French teacher at Parkside High School in Wicomico County.
Last year's winner was Rachael Younkers, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Plum Point Middle School in Calvert County.