(PDF with photos) April 24, 2018 – Preston Elementary School teacher Andrea Lopez Burns was named 2018 Caroline County Public Schools Teacher of the Year at the annual reception in Denton.
Andrea has been a first and second grade teacher at Preston Elementary School since 2012. She is also a member of the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) Team, and the creator and leader of the of the Multicultural Committee.
Andrea, who will now go on to compete for Maryland Teacher of the Year, began her teaching career at private schools in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Once she earned her Maryland teaching certificate in 2012, she joined the staff at Preston Elementary School.
As the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants and the daughter of Peruvian Missionaries, Andrea entered school as an English language learner herself in the 1980s. Because of that experience, she is now passionate about welcoming and celebrating learners from all backgrounds. In discussing her work with the Multicultural Committee, Andrea stated, “My goal is to increase awareness that we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have something amazing to offer. Our backgrounds shouldn’t limit us, and we should all be proud of our heritage.”
In her remarks at the reception, Andrea thanked her family, friends, and co-workers for their support and encouragement. She also thanked the Teacher of the Year Committee and stated, “You’ve allowed this little Latina with broken English from the jungles of Peru to dream big, and that message will be priceless to the little ones with broken English who follow me.”
The following day, Andrea and her students were surprised by guests in their classroom. Superintendent Patricia Saelens, Assistant Superintendent Milton Nagel, Principal Kari Clow, Assistant Principal Rich Petroske, and former Teacher of the Year Lindsay McCormick came to share the good news with Andrea’s students and present her with a bouquet of roses. Dr. Saelens asked the students what gifts they would give to Ms. Burns if they could, and their answers included “chocolate” and “love.”
The 2018 Caroline Teacher of the Year was chosen from among a group of exceptional finalists:
• Katie Birmingham, transition teacher specialist, Caroline Career and Technology Center
• Laura Eser, Academy of Health Professions teacher, Caroline Career and Technology Center
• Rob Honer, sixth grade science teacher at Colonel Richardson Middle School
• Deanne Waters, fourth grade teacher, Greensboro Elementary School
• Keli Worm, third grade teacher, Preston Elementary School
This year’s judging committee, comprised of former Caroline County Teachers of the Year Lindsay McCormick, Melissa McFayden, Cheri Nier, and Marcia Porter, and director of curriculum and instruction Susan McCandless, reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine the finalists. The committee then interviewed the finalists to choose the teacher of the year.
Photos are available on Caroline County’s Flickr page.