CCPS TOTY named state fi­nal­ist

Ce­cil­ton’s High­field con­tin­ues county run of suc­cess

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools Teacher of the Year Anne High­field re­ceived a “sweet sur­prise” on Tues­day morn­ing when she learned she was one of seven state fi­nal­ist for Mary­land Teacher of the Year.

High­field, who teaches fourth grade at Ce­cil­ton Ele­men­tary School, said she was “dumb­founded” when Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine and sev­eral other cen­tral ad­min­is­tra­tors showed up in her class­room to de­liver the news.

“I guess I hadn’t thought that far ahead be­cause I was just thrilled to be rep­re­sent­ing Ce­cil County as teacher of the year,” she said, not­ing that the fi­nal­ists weren’t sup­posed to be an­nounced un­til Septem­ber, which added to her sur­prise.

High­field, who is in her 27th year with the county school sys­tem, was named county teacher of the year dur­ing a ban­quet in April.

CE­CIL­TON

She is the fifth CCPS teacher to be named a state fi­nal­ist in the last six years.

The other fi­nal­ists for Mary­land teacher of the year are Ka­t­rina Grif­fin, Anne Arun­del County; Athana­sia Kyr­i­akakos, Bal­ti­more City; Donna Miller, Calvert County; Michael Wil­liams, Mont­gomery County; Ta­mara Forte, Queen Anne’s County; and Christy Briggs, Wi­comico County.

The win­ner will be an­nounced at a ban­quet in Bal­ti­more on Oct. 7. and will re­ceive cash awards, tech­nol­ogy equip­ment, na­tional travel op­por­tu­ni­ties and a new car val­ued at more than $25,000. The win­ner will then go on to com­pete for the Na­tional Teacher of the Year Award, which will be an­nounced in April.

Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine said she was de­lighted to re­ceive a phone call from State Su­per­in­ten­dent Karen Sal­mon in­form­ing her that High­field was a state fi­nal­ist.

“We are ex­cep­tion­ally proud of our state fi­nal­ist his­tory and Anne will be an ex­cel­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Ce­cil County as she pro­gresses to the next level of the process,” Devine said in a state­ment. “Her love of teach­ing and her stu­dent­cen­tered fo­cus are ap­par­ent in all that she does.”

High­field, who grew up in Oil City, Pa., and grad­u­ated from Slippery Rock Univer­sity, is cur­rently in her sixth year at Ce­cil­ton Ele­men­tary. She started with CCPS as a me­dia spe­cial­ist, hold­ing that job for about six years be­fore be­com­ing a fifth-grade teacher and then an in­struc­tional sup­port teacher. Be­fore com­ing to Ce­cil­ton, High­field spent 10 years as an in­struc­tional coach, go­ing into class­rooms and men­tor­ing teach­ers.

But this year’s award isn’t the first for High­field. In June 2015, she was named the 2015 Mary­land His­tory Teacher of the Year.

For High­field, the best part of teach­ing is build­ing re­la­tion­ships with stu­dents and us­ing their nat­u­ral cu­rios­ity to en­cour­age learn­ing. She tries to plan many hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties with her stu­dents, such as through a rain gar­den she cre­ated at Ce­cil­ton in 2013. Each year, her stu­dents tend to the gar­den and learn about the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and the sur­round­ing ecosys­tem.

Her time as county teacher of the year will fur­ther help her cre­ate these kinds of lessons, High­field said, not­ing she’s par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about a three-day trip to Smith Is­land in Oc­to­ber that all the county teach­ers of the year were in­vited to at­tend. Dur­ing the trip, she and the other teach­ers will learn about the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and get a chance to try crab­bing and study­ing oys­ters, High­field said.

“It’s a lot of things I can bring back to the class­room,” she said.

The next step in the teacher of the year process for High­field is an in­ter­view next month be­fore at­tend­ing the ban­quet in Oc­to­ber. High­field said she is par­tic­u­larly ex­cited for the ban­quet be­cause one of her broth­ers plans to fly in from Ore­gon to at­tend.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about it,” she said. “I’m re­ally ex­cited just to cel­e­brate teach­ing in Mary­land.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

A pickup truck sus­tained heavy dam­age af­ter a col­li­sion with a Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools bus at a Colora in­ter­sec­tion.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF CCPS

Anne High­field, cen­ter, a fourth grade teacher at Ce­cil­ton Ele­men­tary School, was named one of seven state teacher of the year fi­nal­ists on Tues­day.

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