Art instructor is named Arundel Teacher of Year

Public school choice joined by a winner from private schools

May 12, 2000|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

An art teacher who helped her elementary school build an oversized kite, and worked with dozens of children nights and weekends in painting was named Anne Arundel's public school teacher of the year last night at an education awards dinner.

Denise Y. Levitine of Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills was chosen over three other finalists for the award, and will represent the county in a statewide competition.

The award is the latest among several honors Levitine has collected in nearly 25 years of teaching - 21 in Anne Arundel County.

Last year, she was nominated for the Disney American Teacher Award. For the past three years, she has won grants to involve students in art projects that went beyond her classroom.

She used one of the grants to help students create two 6-foot by 20-foot box kites. Each child designed a panel depicting artists' styles from around the globe, and the pieces were fitted together for the kites that now hang from the school's media center.

This year, she worked with 65 children who used their weekends and evenings to help paint a mural for the Anne Arundel County Animal Control Center in Millersville."There are no words that can properly express the enormous pride, demonstration of talent and sense of accomplishment that this project created among the children and parents," Levitine wrote in an essay with her nomination. "This extraordinary partnership of the Animal Control Center, art department, children and parents demonstrates that absolutely anything is possible when the school community is involved and motivated. It has inspired me to pursue even more community school outreach projects in the future."

Two dozen other public school teachers were recognized, including the other finalists - Deneen Houghton, a fifth-grade teacher at Mayo Elementary; Joseph "Sean" Moore, a physics teacher at Glen Burnie High; and Robert Widra, a welding teacher at the Center of Applied Technology South.

Jacqueline Baugh, an English teacher at Severn School, was named private school teacher of the year. She has been teacher for 30 years - 20 at the college level and a decade at the independent high school in Severna Park.

She is an adviser to her school's mock trial team and to the Severn Oratorical Society. A colleague said, "Students have learned how to be good writers, good speakers and, most importantly, good citizens. Their poetry, music, speeches, and stories will live on beyond her classroom walls."

Baugh and Levitine each received $1,000 from Bank of America, and Levitine was awarded another $500 from the school system. Each finalist received $250.

The winners were announced at the dinner, held at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum.

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