ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland State Department of Education named Elkton High School teacher Staci Lamb as a finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year on Friday.
Lamb, a freshman teacher in her fifth year at EHS, is among the seven finalists vying for the top spot in the state.
Gov. Larry Hogan highlighted the instrumental role teachers play in students’ instruction and growth as leaders.
“Maryland’s teachers play a vital role in the lives of our students — educating, encouraging, and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow,” Hogan said in a press release issued Friday afternoon. “Being chosen as a Teacher of the Year finalist is a tremendous honor and a testament to the quality of teachers we have here in Maryland. I offer my sincere congratulations to all nominees.”
State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon congratulated the finalists for exceeding the state’s expectations for its educators.
“These seven outstanding educators and role models exemplify the excellence displayed by teachers throughout Maryland,” Salmon said in the same press release. “Our state’s educators surpass expectations by building personal connections with our students to help ensure success both in and out of the classroom. We applaud our finalists for going above and beyond their duties.”
In a separate press release, CCPS Superintendent Jeff Lawson commended Lamb for her ongoing and impressive impact on students.
“Staci’s enthusiasm for teaching, for her school, and most especially, for her students is immediately evident when you meet her,” Lawson said. “She is an excellent representative of her profession and she will carry that same level of excellence with her as she progresses through the Maryland Teacher of the Year process.”
Lamb was named the 2018 Cecil County Public Schools Teacher of the Year in April during the annual banquet dinner. Should she be named the Maryland Teacher of the Year, Lamb will go on to represent the state in the determination of the National Teacher of the Year.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year will be named at a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in Baltimore on Oct. 12, where the winner will earn cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car worth more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.
Maryland’s Teacher of the Year will serve as an educational speaker and advisor in Maryland and will be honored by the president at the White House next spring.
The National Teacher of the Year will be named in April 2019.
Lamb teaches language arts to freshmen, serves as the freshman class advisor, and coordinates the Elkton High House System, which promotes student leadership, positive behavior, and school culture.
EHS has watched Lamb grow over the course of her journey as an educator. In 2013, Lamb started as a student teacher at EHS. Mere weeks after completing her student teaching, she was offered a job teaching sophomores at the school, she said in an April interview with the Whig.
In 2015, Lamb guided her freshman class through the publication of their own book, “Behind the Door of G115.” The 72-page book, which was inspired by the 2007 film, “Freedom Writers,” compiled anonymous stories from each of Lamb’s students about any subject in their life.
Students wrote about topics ranging from having parents in jail, joining a gang, getting busted for selling alcohol, stealing bikes, growing up in Ghana and living in foster care. The book is available for $5 on lulu.com.
With over 43,000 followers on her Instagram page, Lamb showcases teaching strategies and classroom design ideas for her fellow educators.
The other six finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year are Heather Carnaghan of Anne Arundel County, LaQuisha Hall of Baltimore City, Tina Thomen of Carroll County, Richard Warren of Somerset County, Reneé Warfield of Talbot County, and Jeanine Horst of Washington County.
Lamb’s state finalist selection continues a string of impressive showings for CCPS Teachers of the Year, which includes seven in the last 11 years. In 2012, CCPS Teacher of the Year Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship won the Maryland State Teacher of the Year honor and finished as a national finalist.