Severn River Middle School’s Stacy Kearns was one of the 14 teachers from across the county who were named semifinalists for 2020 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.
Though she did not advance to the final round, Kearns said she was honored to be considered.
“I was excited and honored that my colleagues thought I was deserving of the nomination, because I feel like all teachers work so hard,” she said. “I have so many amazing colleagues.”
Kearns, who is originally from Williamstown, New Jersey, did not plan to work in a classroom when she graduated from college.
“I went to Salisbury University and graduated with a degree in psychology and communications,” said Kearns. “I wasn’t going to be a teacher.”
She was working in a group home when she discovered her true passion.
“The students that went to the group home attended a school and had a lot of negative feelings about it,” said Kearns. “I felt like education was their way out, and if they had more caring and passionate teachers, they would have more motivation to go to school. That is what started my journey to become a teacher.”
Kearns applied for Teach For America, a program that places aspiring educators in schools that have a teacher shortage while they are being trained. She spent two years teaching in Camden, New Jersey, before she found a job with Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
After working as a language arts teacher for many years, Kearns began teaching Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Severn River. AVID is a student-centered program that strives to make every student college and career ready.
“I feel like it's a place where we are teaching so many skills that are so critical to success in life but don't fit into any other curriculum in other areas,” said Kearns, “like goal-setting, perseverance, how to work with other people and collaborate, how to study and how to take notes.”
Kearns’ students are going through an important developmental stage as middle-schoolers. Her favorite part of the job is setting them up for success.
Kearns hopes that she inspires her students to take control of their education and use their voice throughout their lives.
“[My students] give me a purpose for coming to work,” said Kearns. “Not everyone can say they love their job. I really do love coming to work. I’m so passionate about it and it's exciting.”