McComb earns state’s top teaching honor
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:50

McDonald’s Family Restaurants of Greater Maryland presented a $10,000 donation for Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts to Sean McComb (center) at the Teacher of the Year Gala on Oct. 11.

Patapsco High educator is named Maryland’s state Teacher of the Year

by Nicole Rodman

Sean McComb, English teacher at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, has earned yet another award.
    Named Baltimore County’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year in May, McComb has now taken the statewide honor.
    Each year, the Maryland State Department of Education selects the state teacher of the year among seven finalists from each of Maryland’s 24 counties and Baltimore City.
    For the second time in three years, a Baltimore County teacher has taken home the state’s top prize.
    McComb’s honor was announced during the annual Teacher of the Year Gala held at Martin’s West in Woodlawn last Friday night.   
    On hand were a number of political and educational leaders, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery and Baltimore County Public School Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance.
    Announcing McComb as Maryland Teacher of the Year, Gov. O’Malley noted, “Sean McComb is a shining representative of the many great educators who dedicate their lives to working with our state’s students.”
    For his part, Dance stated, “We are excited that the Maryland State Department of Education recognized what we in Baltimore County Public Schools already know about Sean McComb — he is a passionate and effective teacher who engages his students with facilitative and collaborative lessons that are relevant to their lives and how they learn.”
    Dance added, “We are very proud of Sean and this is an extraordinary honor.”
    McComb told The Eagle on Monday that he was “elated to win the honor of representing educators.”
    “I am particularly proud to bring recognition to Patapsco because we have such a deserving community and so many faculty members who regularly go above and beyond for students,” he explained.
    Upon receiving the statewide honor, McComb took to the stage to address the more than 1,000 gala attendees.
    In his remarks, McComb acknowledged his family and colleagues at Patapsco High, including his wife Sarah, who teaches history at the school.
    He also discussed what drives him in his work at Patapsco.
    “Our schools must provide the opportunity for any individual to become educated and economically competitive,” McComb stated. “My teaching is built on the belief that relationships and engagement can turn challenges into opportunity for excellence for all students.”
    Now in his seventh year at Patapsco, McComb teaches English and leads the school’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) college preparation program.
    Through AVID, McComb works to provide students with the tools they will need to succeed in college.
    He also works to engage students by integrating technology into his classroom, connecting to students through Twitter and other media.
    In an interview with The Eagle in May, McComb described himself as “high-energy in the classroom,” saying,
“I like to joke and laugh, most of the grammar examples we use are self-deprecating for me.  I take their learning seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously.”
    In addition to teaching English classes and leading AVID, McComb has worked to develop Patapsco’s Teacher of the Month program.
    He has also coached the school’s tennis and track teams.
    McComb’s dedication to his work at Patapsco has not gone unnoticed.
    In remarks to The Eagle on Monday, Patapsco principal Craig Reed called McComb “an outstanding teacher.”
    “He cares deeply about his students, and they know it,” Reed said. “His success is not the product of a secret formula, but of years and years of hard work and dedication.  Mr. McComb is always striving to improve, constantly looking for ways to make things better.”
    Despite his busy schedule at Patapsco, McComb also teaches at Towson University’s School of Education and writes curriculum for the Baltimore County Public School system.
    A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, McComb is currently working to attain a School Leadership certificate from Goucher College.
    McComb’s desire to become a teacher rose from his own troubled childhood.
    “I was inspired to teach by my own high school teachers, who invested in me during a challenging time in my life,” McComb explained to The Eagle in May.
    He continued, “I grew up in the home of a mother fighting an addiction to alcohol. She passed away due to complications from the addiction in my senior year, and it was the influence of those teachers in my life that allowed me to get out to college and thrive.”
    Now, McComb’s investment in his own students has been recognized with the Maryland Teacher of the Year honor.
    As the Teacher of the Year, McComb receives a cash award, $15,000 in classroom materials from SMART Technologies and a brand-new 2014 Kia Forte.
    He will also be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House next spring.
    McComb was also awarded an Apple iPad and a $10,000 donation to Patapsco by McDonald’s Family Restaurants of Greater Maryland.
    Prior to being named Maryland Teacher of the Year, McComb was honored locally by the McDonald’s on Wise Avenue.
    During that event, which honored McComb for his Baltimore County Teacher of the Year win, McComb was presented with a $500 gift card.
    As the 2013-2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year, McComb will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition. The winner of the national competition will be announced in April.