Meade High School Chinese teacher Jing Dai has been named the 2020-2021 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. The public announcement came at the conclusion of the 35th annual Excellence in Education Awards, broadcast on AACPS-TV and AACPS’ YouTube channel this evening.

Myles Healy of St. Mary’s High School was named Independent Schools Teacher of the Year.

Dai, a nine-year teaching veteran who has spent her entire AACPS career at Meade High School, is the second Meade High School teacher to win the award since its inception in 1986-87. Art teacher Olin Yoder was named Teacher of the Year in 1990-91.

“This award really belongs to all the teachers in AACPS and it belongs to all the teachers at Meade High School,” Dai told a small crowd of socially distanced finalists and their supporters gathered for the announcement. “Without Meade High School, I could not be here today… We are a tight Meade Mustang Nation. We are there, excited and positive every day, to support our students. We face the challenge together and we make Meade High the best, best, best school for all of our students.”

Dai holds an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Instructional Certificate and an AVID Pathway Certification. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Chinese Language Teachers Association.

AACPS has had two of the last four Maryland Teacher of the Year winners, Teresa Beilstein of South Shore Elementary School (2020) and Josh Carroll of South River High School (2018). AACPS Teachers of the Year have also been finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year in five of the last six years.

“Walking into her classroom is like walking into an educational adventure where no two days are ever the same,” Meade High School Principal Dr. Frederick Rivers wrote in his nomination of Ms. Dai. “She creates space that allows all students to thrive and feel supported learning entirely in Chinese. From Chinese 1 to AP/IB DP Chinese, she makes learning fun and students want to be there.”

“Ms. Dai demonstrates an unparalleled dedication to the students in the Chinese program not just at Meade, but at other schools as well.” Jennifer Quinn, Meade High School’s International Baccalaureate Coordinator, wrote in her nomination letter.

In all, 46 educators from public and private schools were recognized during this year’s Excellence in Education program. Other finalists for this year’s Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year honor were:

  • Kellie Goforth, an AVID teacher at North County High School
  • Sarah Rippeon, a language arts teacher at Crofton Middle School
  • Jessica Scanlon, a first grade teacher at Glendale Elementary School
  • Timothy Stedman, a physical education teacher at Crofton High School

Healy, the 2020-2021 Independent Schools Teacher of the Year, is the English Department chair at St. Mary’s High School and teaches British Literature, AP English Literature, and Cinematic Art. Rockbridge Academy third grade teacher Jacquelyn Touhey was the other finalist for the Independent Schools award.

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