|Release Date: 5/9/2011||
Contact: Charles Herndon, 410-887-6111
Phyllis T. Reese, 410-887-5908
TOWSON, MD. (May 9, 2011) -Joshua Parker, a six-year educator who teaches English at Windsor Mill Middle School in Randallstown, was named Baltimore County's Teacher of the Year on Monday.
Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston named Parker, 28, as the new 2011-2012 Baltimore County Teacher of the Year during a midday ceremony at school system headquarters.
"This is an incredible honor," said Parker, a native of Dayton, Ohio. "While I've given my life to this labor of love, I've gotten back so much more. I've seen students' lives changed from the themes, discussions and skills learned in my classes. I've seen students broaden their horizons to understand that their options extend beyond the basketball court or beauty salon."
As Baltimore County's newest Teacher of the Year, Parker becomes the most visible school-based teacher in the county and among the most prominent in Maryland. Representing more than 8,850 educators for the next year, he will compete for the honor of Maryland State Teacher of the Year and appear in dozens of venues to champion teaching and the school system.
"Every day," the Randallstown resident said, "I get opportunities to impart the same passion, wisdom, content knowledge, and love that I govern my life by to students. . . . Looking back over my brief but expansive teaching career, I can't help but smile."
During Monday's ceremony, Parker was congratulated by Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston, members of the Board of Education of Baltimore County, administrators, friends, family, and colleagues, including several former Baltimore County Teachers of the Year.
"Joshua makes a tremendous difference both in and beyond his school," said Dr. Hairston. "His students post high gains on standardized tests and rely on him as a role model. . . . In all of his work, Joshua is truly an exceptional teacher-leader and one who ‘lives and breathes' the philosophy of our Blueprint for Progress."
Parker, who is English, reading, and world languages department chair at Windsor Mill, thanked his principal, Deborah Phelps, as well as his colleagues and family. Most of all, he thanked his students: "I've instructed the finest students in the state of Maryland about the life-long importance of literacy. I've instructed students from middle through high school to mastery of skills necessary for reading comprehension. I've instructed students that in language arts, the ‘why' is just as important as the ‘what.' I've instructed students to yearn for an advanced education - not just proficient - speaking well, writing well and reading well. I've instructed students to believe in the power and purpose of Language Arts and that they have a voice worth listening to and a life worth writing about."
In addition to his year at Windsor Mill, Parker has taught at New Town High School and Dundalk Middle School. A graduate of Towson University and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, he has created summer and after-school programs for students and coached Black Saga teams at Dundalk Middle, among other accomplishments.
Also honored during Monday's ceremony were six finalists. They are:
"The seven teachers we honor today as finalists represent the strength of our teaching force countywide," said Dr. Hairston. "These are educators who are committed to their own professional development, who serve as mentors and leaders in their schools and subject areas, who forge lasting bonds with their students, their students' families, and the larger community.
"These are educators who do more than teach outside the box. They recognize that there is no box. These are educators whose lessons cross disciplines and whose teaching styles reach every student."
In addition to the title and a plaque, the county's Teacher of the Year is awarded an array of prizes. Parker will receive from the school system:
Baltimore County's business community also strongly supported the Teacher of the Year program this year, contributing a variety of awards and gifts to demonstrate its commitment to teaching and to the county's Teacher of the Year. Those gifts included: