South Shore Elementary School third-grade teacher Teresa Beilstein, a six-year teaching veteran, was named the 2018-19 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year at the 33rd annual Excellence in Education Awards.
The surprise announcement was the culminating moment at the event, presented by Anne Arundel County Public Schools and the 21st Century Education Foundation. Keya Belt Robinson, who teaches science at St. Martin’s Lutheran School, was named Independent Schools Teacher of the Year.
“This whole year, I have felt a tremendous amount of gratitude for the career we get to be a part of and the students’ lives we get to be a part of,” Beilstein told the crowd moments after her name was announced. “Every time I walk through my school I am in awe of my colleagues and I know the amazing things we do for our students every day. I am just so grateful to represent the greatness that is in our county.”
A National Board Certified Teacher, Beilstein is the eighth elementary school teacher to win the award since its inception in 1986-87, and the first since 2014-15. She now will compete for Maryland State Teacher of the Year, an honor that will be announced next fall and which has been previously won by three AACPS teachers.
Fifty-three educators from public and private schools were recognized during the event. Other finalists for this year’s Public Schools Teacher of the Year honor were: Aundrea Atwood-Starkey, a math teacher at Southern High School; David Britton, a social studies teacher at Magothy River Middle School; Carrie Deaver, a physical education teacher at Pasadena Elementary School; and Samantha Klenkel Wilkinson, a third-grade teacher at Cape St. Claire Elementary School.
Ellen Smith, a Spanish teacher at St. Mary’s High School, was the other finalist for Independent Schools Teacher of the Year.
Beilstein, who also did her student teaching at South Shore, is known as a teacher who quickly builds relationships with colleagues, students, and parents. She views it, in fact, as the most important ingredient to her healthy classroom.
“Thanks for teaching me everything I know, not just academically, but about myself,” a former student who is now thriving in middle school wrote in an endorsement letter that accompanied Beilstein’s nomination.
Said South Shore Elementary School colleague Rebecca Cullen of Beilstein: “She has created a positive classroom environment that celebrates every student, regardless of ability or background.”
The headline sponsors for this year’s Excellence in Education awards dinner were BGE and Comcast.