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Stephens Named Carroll County Teacher of the Year

Release Date: 7/3/2008 1:54:15 PM


Mary Catherine Stephens, a fifth grade math, science and social studies teacher at Winfield Elementary School, was named Carroll County 2008 Teacher of the Year during the Board of Education's employee recognition ceremony on Wednesday, April 30, 2008.

Stephens earned a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master's Degree of Science in Administration and Supervision at the Johns Hopkins University . She has been with Carroll County Public Schools for six years and has a total of 18 years of teaching experience. Prior to coming to Carroll County , Stephens operated her own preschool and was an elementary school assistant principal and teacher in Howard County .

Stephens' first students were her seven younger brothers and sisters. “Í always had a chalkboard, writing materials, and a makeshift classroom,” Stephens said. “At an early age, I set the goal of pursuing a career in education so that I could impact other children by providing the support and encouragement they need to learn and grow.” She was also inspired by her own success in school and by recognizing that schools have the power to provide rich learning experiences for all children, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic background.

Stephens designed and presented two workshops entitled “Making Multiple Math Groups Work” for Carroll County 's inservice day in February. She provided participants with binders full of demonstration lessons, stations, and activities, and some of the new teachers visited her classroom to observe these methods in action and to learn more about how they can implement the strategies in their own classrooms.

Stephens says that her greatest accomplishment in education is touching the lives of children from all backgrounds and ability ranges. “The smiles, the hugs, and these simple words, ‘I love math' are my rewards and accomplishments,” Stephens said. “The true joy of teaching is inspiring the uninspired, developing self-confidence in the timid, building self-esteem in those who have little or none, and seeing every child reach his or her potential.”

According to Donn Hicks, Supervisor of Elementary Mathematics, “Mrs. Stephens does what only the very best teachers can do. She accelerates the learning of her strongest students while simultaneously seeking effective approaches to assist students who need help. Mrs. Stephens is a dedicated professional who truly is an outstanding teacher!”

The Carroll County Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who represents Carroll County teachers in the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program, and possibly the National Teacher of the Year Program. Working in collaboration with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, this year's finalists for Teacher of the Year were selected by the Chamber of Commerce as winners of the Chamber's Outstanding Teacher Awards.

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