Press Release: Ryan Kaiser Named 2015-2016 Maryland Teacher Of The Year
Statewide Winner Is From Baltimore City
For Immediate Release Contact: Dr. Darla Strouse, 410-767-0369
Baltimore, MD (October 9, 2015)
Interim State Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith made the announcement during a 25th Anniversary Teacher of the Year Gala in a ballroom filled with educators and dignitaries. Among those in attendance were U.S. Representatives Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer, John Sarbanes, and Chris Van Hollen; Comptroller Peter Franchot; and Keiffer Mitchell, special advisor to Governor Larry Hogan.
Kaiser said that by connecting students to the subject matter, deeper understanding emerges. “I believe that it is my task as an educator to develop experiences that will allow students to see the world that surrounds them through a critical lens,” he said. “Even though my title is ‘social studies’ teacher, I believe that my job -- and the job of every teacher -- is to help students make the connections that already exist between our various content areas.”
Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford congratulated Maryland’s newest Teacher of the Year.
“The success of our schools is built on the work of our teachers, and the efforts of Ryan Kaiser provide a shining example of what teachers can do to strengthen student learning and ensure their future success,” said Governor Hogan. “I congratulate Ryan, and celebrate his achievements along with those of all our State’s educators.”
Lt. Governor Rutherford said that Ryan’s importance goes beyond the walls of The Mount Washington School. “Ryan is truly a pillar of the Baltimore City community, where he works on projects with social studies colleagues in other schools, and coordinates a program with the Patterson Park Public Charter School,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Hundreds of students and teachers throughout Baltimore City have benefited from his immense talents as an educator and mentor, and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
Dr. Smith said the new Maryland Teacher of the Year has special talents. “Ryan is a classroom teacher, first and foremost, and his work with his students crackles with energy and creativity,” he said. “He has always kept his eyes on preparing his students for the rigors of high school and beyond.”
An education graduate from the University of Nebraska, Kaiser also received a master’s in elementary administration from the university. He has been a teacher for 16 years, the last 10 in Baltimore. Kaiser serves at the school’s coach for the Baltimore Urban Debate League, is a mentor teacher, and is a member of The Mount Washington School Parent Teacher Organization.
Outside the classroom, Kaiser serves as the communications coordinator for the Maryland Council of Social Studies and writes curriculum and lesson plans for teachers nationwide for the White House Visitor’s Center.
Kaiser comes from a family of teachers; his grandmother taught elementary school and both of his parents were teachers and educational administrators. He fell in love with history as a child, and said it was “almost a given” that he’d become a teacher and provide his students with the type of experiential learning that makes a lasting connection.
“As a teacher, I am guided by the Chinese proverb, ‘I forget what I hear, I remember what I see, I understand what I do,’” he said. “The more I learn about teaching, the more I know this proverb to be true. We have to create these essential learning opportunities for students everywhere.”
Selecting Kaiser for the award was not easy for the judges. The other outstanding finalists were: Dr. Stephanie Marchbank, Allegany County; Jennie Merrill, Anne Arundel County; Amanda Porter, Frederick County; Stephanie Geddie, Howard County; Barbara Sutherland, Queen Anne’s County; and Sally Irwin, Washington County.
Kaiser will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association. Kaiser’s school will receive $10,000 from the McDonald’s Family of Maryland.
The State winner will also spend the coming year as a speaker and advisor in Maryland. He will be honored by the President at the White House next spring, as well as participate in several national meetings and conferences.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year goes on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award, to be announced next April. Maryland has had a history of national success with its Teacher of the Year Program. Three Maryland teachers have received the National Teacher of the Year award since 2006.
Presenting sponsors of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program are Comcast, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonald’s Family of Maryland, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Platinum sponsors are BGE, Lockheed Martin, Maryland Public Television, NTA Life and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
Maryland Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maryland State Department of Education with major underwriting provided by corporations and other organizations. The program is an affiliate of the National Teacher of the Year Program. All Maryland local school systems participate, and all 24 semi-finalists are engaged throughout their selection year in learning and recognition programs and also as advisors to the State Superintendent. Selection of the Maryland Teacher of the Year is made by a Blue Ribbon Panel of Judges that represents teachers, administrators, parents, and higher education. The Maryland Teacher of the Year goes on to represent teachers throughout Maryland and also competes for the title of National Teacher of the Year. Each year, the Maryland Teacher of the Year is named at a Teacher of the Year Gala. The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Maryland’s Teacher of the Year Gala.