McComb is county’s top teacher
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:57

Patapsco High teacher in running for state honor

 by Nicole Rodman

alt    Sean McComb, English teacher at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, has been named Baltimore County’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year.
    The announcement came during a ceremony held at George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Towson on Monday afternoon.
    According to McComb, while previous winners knew before the Teacher of the Year ceremony, he was “completely surprised” by Monday’s announcement.

    “There are outstanding teachers at Patapsco and all throughout [Baltimore County],” he told The Eagle, adding, “To receive individual recognition is truly unexpected.”
    McComb was one of five finalists from among 115 teachers nominated for the award.
        He was nominated by Patapsco principal Ryan Imbriale.
    There are 8,800 educators in the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) system.
    “Sean McComb is a dynamic and creative educator who is an inspiration to both his students and his colleagues,” BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance said on Monday.
    McComb is now in his seventh year at Patapsco, having been at the school for his entire teaching career so far.
    He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, holding a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in education.
    Since 2007, McComb has also worked as coordinator of the schools AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) college preparation program.
    As both a teacher and AVID coordinator, McComb follows many of his students throughout their high school careers, becoming a mentor of sorts.
    He also embraces the school’s focus on technology, connecting with many of his students through Twitter chats.
    Of his classroom style, McComb told The Eagle, “I’m also high-energy in the classroom, 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.”
    At Patapsco, McComb has also helped spearhead the student-organized Teacher of the Month program, which recognizes excellent teachers at the school.
    In addition to his academic activities at Patap-sco, McComb has served as captain of a men’s Ultimate Frisbee club and coached both tennis and track.
    Outside of Patapsco, he has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Towson University’s School of Education for the past four years.
    McComb was drawn to teaching as a way to rise above a troubled past.
    “I was inspired to teach by my own high school teachers, who invested in me during a challenging time in my life.  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,” he recalled.
    Now, McComb strives to provide the same support for his students at Patapsco.
    At Monday’s ceremony, Patapsco 11th-grader Miguel Nisario said of McComb, “In the time that I have known him, he has shown me the rewards of determination and ambition by pushing me and challenging me to look into myself and do just that.”
    Patapsco principal Ryan Imbriale also had glowing words to describe McComb’s impact on his students and the school.
    “Sean McComb should be Teacher of the Year because he is one of those amazing educators who commands respect in a classroom, yet students love him and want to be in his classroom every single day,” Imbriale explained in a video played at Monday’s ceremony.
    Upon accepting the award, McComb thanked, among others, his wife Sarah, a history teacher at Patapsco, for her support.
    McComb also spoke about working with young people in the Dundalk community.
    “I would have never believed that my experiences  would have been so rich as those I have had serving and becoming a part of the Dundalk community,” he noted.
    Of his and his wife’s commitment to the area, McComb told The Eagle, “We truly care about this community. I believe our work here is incredibly important and noble to serve as role models for students, to hold a high bar of expectations for them and to push them to become the best they can be.”
    As Teacher of the Year, McComb will receive many gifts, including $1,000 for classroom supplies, a weekend getaway to Crowne Plaza Baltimore Hotel in Timonium, a Dell computer, tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a designated parking space at Patapsco.
    He will represent Baltimore County in the field of candidates for Maryland State Teacher of the Year.
    For more information and a video of the Teacher of the Year ceremony, visit www.bcps.org/video/2013/toy.html.