A teacher from Anne Arundel County has been named Maryland Teacher of the Year.

Mary Kay Connerton, a physical education, health and wellness teacher at Annapolis High School in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, received the honor Friday at the 33rd Annual Teacher of the Year Gala.

“Truthfully, I did not anticipate that I was going to win. I was in such awe,” she said at the award announcement. “This process was just a beautiful journey. It’s taught me a lot about myself professionally and personally, and I just felt so incredibly honored to be standing with so many gifted teachers.”

Connerton co-leads the Trauma Team, programs that focus on healing and connecting communities, and pioneered the first yoga program and social emotional learning/wellness curriculum for 25,000 students. Connerton received the 2020 SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) Friend Award and earned a master’s in special education and a bachelor’s in childhood education from SUNY Cortland.

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“She exemplifies the best of what our educators in Maryland have to offer, and the positive impression she has had on her students and her colleagues is undeniable. We look forward to her leadership and continuing impact on our school systems for years to come,” State Board President Clarence Crawford said.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from Maryland educational organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education.

The other finalists were Brianne Souder, Cecil County; Nicole Rhoades, Frederick County; Andrea Schulte, Queen Anne’s County; Raymond Weber, Washington County; Tara Martens, Wicomico County; and Jaimie Ridgely, Worcester County.

Connerton will now compete for the National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in April.

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