Model teacher

April 27, 2006

Students come to her kindergarten classes speaking Vietnamese, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Many also face challenges of poverty and race. But Kimberly Oliver, who teaches at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, brings children together, nurtures their minds and inspires a love for learning. Those skills have earned her widespread - and justified - recognition as National Teacher of the Year, the first Maryland educator to be so honored.

In 2000, when Ms. Oliver started at Broad Acres, the school faced possible restructuring by the Maryland State Department of Education because of persistently poor performance. Ms. Oliver, now 29, used her talents for organization and innovation and worked as a team leader to help the school turn around, improving its test scores by focusing on curriculum, instruction and close monitoring of how well individual children were learning.

Sadly, being Teacher of the Year takes Ms. Oliver out of the classroom for a while. But the good news is that she will share her knowledge of excellent teaching with other educators in America and abroad.

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