MD Teacher Of Year Award Goes To Annapolis High School Educator
ANNAPOLIS, MD - An Annapolis High School educator won the Maryland Teacher of the Year award on Friday.
The winner, Mary Kay Connerton, teaches physical education, health and wellness. Connerton has been with Anne Arundel County Public Schools for 14 years, including the last nine at Annapolis High.
“I am humbled and honored that I have the privilege to represent the great teachers across our state and I promise to continue this mission of mine,” Connerton told the crowd shortly after the award was announced. “I can confidently say that serving as the next state Teacher of the Year will be one of the greatest honors of my lifetime.”
Four other AACPS teachers have previously earned Maryland Teacher of the Year honors. The others are:
- Linda Adamson of Mayo and Jessup elementary schools (1993-94)
- Patricia Neidhart of Broadneck High School (1988-89)
- Josh Carroll of South River High School (2017-18)
- Teresa Beilstein of South Shore Elementary School (2019-20)
Connerton is Annapolis High's wellness coordinator. She “is known as a fierce and relentless advocate for student and staff well-being,” an AACPS press release said.
The school system applauded Connerton for creating and leading her school's Trauma-Informed Leadership Team. This group utilizes a whole-school approach to connect with teachers, administration, school counselors, social workers and community partners.
Connerton leads monthly counseling groups, yoga sessions and facilitates professional development for teachers that focuses on the health and wellness of students.
Connerton has also “been instrumental in the creation of a curriculum for the Stretch Your Wellness class available to students throughout the school system,” the AACPS release said.
“So I thank you – my students, three of whom are here tonight, my incredibly supportive colleagues, my visionary leaders of Anne Arundel County, my beloved friends and family – for extending your hands and believing in my mission of creating access for all to the tools needed to create a healthy mind and body,” Connerton said. “Because when we address the whole student – the whole individual – everyone thrives.”
Gov. Wes Moore was at the ceremony and congratulated Connerton.
“When a teacher sees a child for who they are, they change that child's life. I'm in awe of our tremendous educators, who have gone above and beyond to unleash the potential in our students--no matter their race, background, religion, or family lineage,” Moore said in another press release. “Mary Kay Connerton is one such exceptional teacher. I congratulate her, her family, and all of the leaders, educators, and students at Annapolis High School. Ms. Connerton exemplifies what it means to leave no one behind, and she makes our entire state proud.”
The Maryland State Department of Education bestowed the honor.
“On behalf of the State Board, we are delighted to congratulate Mary Kay Connerton on being selected as the 2024 Maryland Teacher of the Year,” State Board President Clarence Crawford said in his press release. “She exemplifies the best of what our educators in Maryland have to offer and the positive impression she has had on her students and her colleagues is undeniable. We look forward to her leadership and continuing impact on our school systems for years to come.”
Connerton will now compete for the National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in April. She will be honored at the White House this spring.
Her duties this year will include being a speaker, serving as an advisor and joining other state winners at meetings and events hosted by the National Teacher of the Year Program.
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