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TONIGHT: MCPS To Name Teacher of The Year
Three teachers have been named finalists for the 2021–2022 MCPS Teacher of the Year Award by the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund. They are: Sara Kopf, first grade teacher at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School School; Joseph Bostic, Jr., math content specialist at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School; and Patricia Richards, science teacher at Walter Johnson High School.
MCPS will hold a virtual celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28 to announce the 2021-2022 MCPS Teacher of the Year. You can watch the event live on the MCPS website, on YouTube, and on MCPS-TV (Comcast Channel 34, Verizon FIOS Channel 36, RCN Channel 89).
Sara Kopf is a first grade teacher at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School. She has been teaching first grade for 20 years in MCPS elementary schools, spending the entire time in highly impacted schools, predominantly teaching traditionally underserved students, many of whom grow up speaking a language other than English. Kopf, who calls her students Kopf’s Kids, has continued to teach with joy and expertise despite running a temperature for more than 200 consecutive days due to COVID-19.
Colleague Heather Holmes observed, “Sara calls her students, ‘Kopf’s Kids,’ and she values each one of her students' progress and achievement in school. Her students are taught to never give up. They recite a daily mantra including phrases like, ‘I am valued. I am loved. I can achieve anything!’”
Joseph Bostic, Jr. is the math content specialist and 8th grade team leader at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. Parents describe him as a patient, caring and inspirational leader. Coworkers say he is hard-working, relentless and creative. An action plan he developed led to a reduction of truancies schoolwide from more than 33 percent to less than 25 percent. He uses data to modify instruction to meet student needs, resulting in better student performance on assessments.
A parent of one of Mr. Bostic’s students remarked, “He is an exceptional teacher, mentor, and positive role model. Mr. Bostic’s love of teaching shines through in this challenging teaching environment and he truly has each student’s best interest at heart.”
Patricia Richards is a science teacher at Walter Johnson High School. In her 25th year with MCPS, she is described as an extraordinarily positive, dedicated and strong leader, with an energy and enthusiasm that inspires students and faculty. She has worked to make science more practical, hands-on and engaging. She was instrumental in boosting Advanced Placement (AP) student participation, particularly African American and Latino students, by 59 percent. When students did not understand concepts or didn’t score as well as expected on assessments, she reflected on her teaching practices to identify what could be done differently.
Principal Jennifer Baker said, “One cannot look at any aspect of the culture and climate at Walter Johnson High School without seeing a direct pathway to Ms. Richards. She is a mentor, leader, teacher, colleague, influencer, creator, believer, and so much more.”
Finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award, who must have five years or more of teaching experience in Montgomery County, are interviewed by a panel of educators, Board of Education members, MCPS staff and representatives from the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, as well as a member of the Greenblatt family.
The Marian Greenblatt Fund, named for a former Board of Education member, recognizes teachers that inspire their students to achieve, encourage younger teachers to be the best they can be, and help their school and community. The Fund awards each Teacher of the Year finalist a prize of $2,000, and the Rising Star Teacher $1,000.
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