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Educating from experience

The Baltimore Sun

At the ring of the first bell, Northeast High School students crowded into the hallway and funneled up a narrow stairway close to the main office.

Thirty-eight years after he graduated, Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Clayton Greene Jr. braved the crush once again to get to his criminal justice class - not to learn, but to teach.

Greene was one of 10 local dignitaries who briefly changed jobs Wednesday, teaching a class at either Meade Middle, or Glen Burnie or Northeast high schools.

"It was evident that they love what they do," Northeast High Principal Kathryn Kubic said afterward.

The teach-in was part of an effort by Anne Arundel Community College and the county school system to highlight the new Resident Teacher Corps program, which gives career-changers who have want to teach the opportunity to accelerate their teacher certification process.

In recent years, it has become difficult for the state to find and retain teachers who meet the qualifications of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The state needs 7,000 teachers per year but produces only 2,100, according to county Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell, who taught a science class at Meade Middle for the day.

Program participants are required to complete course work and intern in a class during the summer session. After a period of teaching, continued class work and a mentorship under an experienced teacher, the AACC expects them to take the state certification exams, including the Praxis, by the summer of 2008. The program begins in May.

"We're trying to get the best and the brightest people to be teachers," program coordinator Patricia Gronkiewicz said.

Maryland Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch, former state Sen.Philip C. Jimeno and county Board of Education member Ned Carey also taught at Northeast High in Pasadena. Busch and Carey taught U.S. history, while Jimeno focused on humanities.

Busch gave a brief lesson on civil rights legislation from the late 1800s to today and spoke about recent health care initiatives.

"He made it relevant and interesting for the students," said social studies department Chairman Sean White.

At Meade Middle on Fort Meade, former Miss Maryland Marina Harrison, Comcast Vice President Bruce Abbott and AACC President Martha Smith taught language arts, introduction to stocks and 21st-century leadership, respectively.

Visitors to Glen Burnie High included breast surgeon Dr. Cynthia Drogula and AACC board of trustees Chairman Arthur Ebersberger, who taught human physiology and business.

Greene shared his experiences as a student at Northeast High and the path he took to become a judge.

"I believe there needs to be more emphasis on education," Greene said. "It was the guiding light that moved me from poverty to where I am today."

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