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The Baltimore Sun

Teacher will take county to China

On April 27, 2006, I had the surprise of a lifetime when I was chosen as Anne Arundel County's Teacher of the Year. What opportunities I have had to represent the excellent teachers in our county's public schools, thanks to the partnership between the county public school system and the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce!

Countless hands and hearts have helped me over my first 50 years of learning, from Mrs. Masterton, my kindergarten teacher, to Susan Maloney, my National Board Certification mentor.

Thanks go to my students who have taught me lots, and to every colleague who helped directly or by dedication to our profession - I try to pay your generosity forward each day.

This award was the impetus to apply for a Fulbright-Hayes summer abroad scholarship to China this year. I will proudly tell of our county and the strength of our public schools as I learn Chinese history and culture to take back to my students. So begins my next 50 years of education!

Thank you to the entire community of Anne Arundel County, and warmest congratulations to the 2007-08 county Teacher of the Year.

Susan Casler Crofton

The writer is a teacher at Crofton Middle School

The 2007-08 Anne Arundel County public and private school teacher of the year will be announced Thursday.

Executive proud of legislative session

The citizens of Anne Arundel County can take great pride in the results of the recently concluded 2007 session of the General Assembly. Our House and Senate delegations worked closely with my administration, and those efforts led to the enactment of several major bills as well as record funding for school construction.

House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate capital budget subcommittee chairman Ed DeGrange worked with my office and officials at the Board of Education to make sure that Anne Arundel County's school construction needs received maximum financial support from the state.

As a result, a record $27.2 million will provide planning, construction, and renovation funds for school projects throughout the county.

House delegation chairman Mary Ann Love and Senate delegation chairman John Astle led the legislative fight to enact a school board selection process that, after more than 20 years, resolves the "circumvention" problem of appointments by the governor of citizens who had not gone through the nominating convention as well as ensuring citizen input through the ballot box by requiring all newly appointed members to stand in a retention election.

We were able to increase public safety by clearing our roads of those who solicit for money and donations. Our county's critical areas will be protected as a result of legislation increasing the time within which we can enforce our building codes and environmental protection laws.

The Radium Grant Program, which I initiated as a member of the legislature, will now be permanent and families will continue to receive grant funds to remove radium from their well water.

Even when there were disagreements, close communications continued and we ultimately secured passage of four of the five initiatives that I presented to the delegation in January.

Working together we addressed priorities in education, public safety, health and the environment. An outstanding record for the first session in the term and a record we will build on together in the legislative sessions to come.

John R. Leopold Pasadena

The writer is Anne Arundel county executive.

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