Howell Named Maryland Teacher of the Year Finalist

Mark Howell, a history teacher at Westlake High School and Charles County Public School’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, is one of seven state finalists chosen for the Maryland Teacher of the Year award. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (August 31, 2010)—Mark Howell, a history teacher at Westlake High School and Charles County Public School’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, was named one of seven Maryland Teacher of the Year finalists by the Maryland State Department of Education. He advances to the state level along with teachers from Calvert, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

State finalists were selected by a panel of judges from Maryland education organizations that represent principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. Finalists were selected based on criteria that include teaching style and philosophy, community involvement and knowledge of general education issues.

Finalist interviews will be conducted Sept. 11, and the winner will be announced at a gala reception and dinner scheduled for Oct. 8 at Martin’s West. The state winner receives a cash award, a new car, and will be considered for the National Teacher of the Year honor.

Howell was nominated for the county award by Westlake Principal Chrystal Benson and school staff. Throughout his 30-year career in education, Howell has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He was instrumental in bringing the Civics Mosaic Russian partnership and Civic Voices instruction to students in Charles County. In 2003, CCPS launched a partnership with a school in Penza, Russia through the Civics Mosaic program, in which students learn about political systems and ideology through the use of comparative methods. Howell was chosen as one of two initial Mosaic Fellows and traveled to Russia to collaborate with teachers and teach with students.

Howell has maintained his connection with Penza, and uses videoconferencing capabilities in class so his students can participate in live conversations with Russian students to discuss the differences in history, political and educational systems and culture. In his efforts to provide his students with a diverse understanding of history, Howell became involved with the Civic Voices program. The program provides teachers with the tools to work with their students to gather oral histories from civic activists. Once the histories are compiled, the content is uploaded to the Civic Voices Web site as part of an International Democracy Memory Bank, which features the work of students across eight countries.

Beyond the classroom, Howell is heavily involved in the musical activities of his church, where he serves as the volunteer music director. He works with children and adult choirs, hand-bell choirs and leads the praise band. He also helps teach Sunday School and enjoys traveling cross country with his wife, Judith, who is also a longtime CCPS educator, and his two children.

Howell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and history, with a concentration in music from Westminster College in Pennsylvania. He has also participated in AP course training at La Salle University and Manhattan College, and holds an Advanced Professional Certificate (APC).

Source: Charles County Public School System

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