Patapsco High School educator 1 of 4 in running for honor
TOWSON, MD. – Sean McComb has one more honor to add to his growing resume of accolades, and it’s a big one: today, the eight-year educator and professional development teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Dundalk was named one of four finalists vying to become the 2014 National Teacher of the Year.
McComb, 30, became Baltimore County’s Teacher of the Year in May 2013 and Maryland’s State Teacher of the Year in October 2013. The announcement today from the Council of Chief State School Officers places him among the nation’s most elite educators and came as he prepared for a trip today to the White House to discuss student opportunities for higher education with other educators and First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I feel blessed and greatly honored to be selected as a finalist. It has been a wonderful honor to represent my incredible colleagues at Patapsco, as well as the dedicated and hard-working teachers throughout BCPS and across the state of Maryland,” said McComb.
“As teachers, we don’t enter the profession expecting to win honors and awards,” he added. “Like most teachers, I simply hoped to be able to positively affect students, make learning enjoyable, and help kids grow into the best adults they could become. I am glad to have represented the noble teachers of Maryland, who work so hard toward similar goals, in the national competition.”
McComb, who has taught English at Patapsco and led the school’s AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) since 2007, will learn whether he becomes the nation’s top teacher when President Barack Obama announces the National Teacher of the Year in April.
Congratulations have begun to stream in from across Baltimore County and Maryland for McComb, who was named a finalist on the school system’s first “We Are Team BCPS” Day to celebrate the school system and its students and to create greater stakeholder engagement.
“Sean is an extraordinary educator who cares deeply about teaching students and collaborating with colleagues. We are proud to have him as part of ‘Team BCPS’ here in Baltimore County schools,” said Dr. S. Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. “It is gratifying to see him receive this honor and to know that a dedicated professional like Sean will represent Baltimore County and Maryland on a national stage. We wish him well as he continues to inspire, to excel, and to demonstrate with creativity and passion what it means to be a teacher.”
State Superintendent Lowery agreed, noting that Sean’s work with students has provided them with a foundation upon which to build a great future. “There are more than 7.2 million teachers in the U.S., and more 60,000 in Maryland public schools alone, which puts Sean’s accomplishment in perspective,” Dr. Lowery said. “His passion for his students and his belief in their success is emblematic of educators in our State.”
Added Governor Martin O’Malley, “Maryland schools are so effective because of the creative instruction taking place in our classrooms. Sean McComb embodies what it means to be a teacher, tirelessly preparing his students for college, or a career after high school. Congratulations to Sean, his students, and his colleagues at Patapsco High.”
Maryland has twice won National Teacher of the Year honors since 2006 and had a national finalist last year. McComb, the second BCPS teacher in the past three years to become Maryland Teacher of the Year, said he hoped he would represent his school, county, and state well in the national competition.
“I am only beginning to learn about the final round in the selection process but just hope to represent . . . as best I can,” he said. “I think the message of believing in, valuing and expecting great things from students, and a systemic focus on eliminating barriers that limit our least-resourced students, is one that resonates with many people associated with education. I hope to have more opportunities to share that message.”
As the state’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year, McComb won a cash award, a week at National Space Camp, a variety of national travel and professional development opportunities, a Smart Board and materials from SMART Technologies valued at more than $15,000, a 2014 Kia Forte from the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association valued at more than $25,000, and many other gifts and prizes.
In addition to supporting Patapsco High staff by coordinating staff development activities and nurturing teacher growth, McComb teaches an AVID class. He has been an adjunct instructor at Towson University’s School of Education since 2009. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he has coached tennis and track at Patapsco and was captain of a men’s elite Ultimate Frisbee club.