Woman chosen Teacher of Year in Balto. County driven to succeed

May 19, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Sarah Jeanne Hollister Davis was plainly delighted yesterday as she got behind the wheel of a new Toyota Corolla, which she will drive for the next year as Baltimore County's Teacher of the Year.

Davis, a math teacher at Catonsville Middle School, was showered with praise by a roomful of school system officials, including Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione, in Towson yesterday. Four other teachers, finalists in the annual event, also were lauded.

Even in her moment of glory, Davis, 31, deflected the spotlight by acknowledging her parents and fellow teachers, who she said "look out at a classroom every day and help students to find their own excellence and achieve their own goals."

FOR THE RECORD - An article in some editions of yesterday's Sun should have noted that Robert Rivkin, a Baltimore County school teacher, was named the state Teacher of the Year in 1976. In more recent years and since the state Department of Education became involved in the contest, no Baltmore County teacher has won the contest.

Davis, who was nominated for the award by her principal, Thomas G. Evans, is known at the Catonsville school for her ability to pinpoint students' strengths and weaknesses. She is an "unwavering" cheerleader for education and lifelong learning. She is working toward a doctorate in education at Wilmington College in Delaware.

"She's such a dynamic teacher," Evans said of Davis. "She's the kind of math teacher I wish I had been when I taught math. She's very demanding and very supportive."

Standing beside her new car -- a gift from local Toyota dealers -- Davis said she loves teaching because it gives her the opportunity to work with children and help them explore the world of mathematics.

"She always wanted to be a teacher," said Davis' mother, Virginia Davis of Baltimore. "When she was a little girl, she would take her dolls and set up a chalkboard and play teacher all the time."

Davis, who now drives a 1990 Buick, also will receive a laptop computer to use during the next year, when she will be called upon to represent teachers at education forums at the county and state level.

Davis' name and accolades will be submitted to officials at the State Department of Education, which has its own teacher-of-the-year contest. No Baltimore County teacher has won the statewide competition.

Other teachers honored yesterday include Linda McConaughy, a visual arts teacher at Parkville Middle School; Cindy Wasserman, a health education teacher at Owings Mills High School; Homeretta Ayala, a library and media specialist at Fullerton Elementary School; and Karen Elizabeth Henson, a history and environmental science teacher at Western School of Technology.

Each teacher received a framed certificate and congratulatory citations from County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who was represented by his education liaison, Dianne Gilbert.

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