Highland Elementary Educator Named a Finalist for State Teacher of the Year

August 25, 2011
Brian Freiss, a math teacher at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, has been named a finalist for the 2011–2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

The Maryland State Department of Education named Freiss and six other educators across the state as finalists for the honor. They were chosen by a panel of judges from education organizations that represent principals, teachers, school boards, unions, parents and higher education. Oral interviews will be conducted with the finalists on Saturday, Sept. 24, and the Maryland Teacher of the Year will be named on October 14.

“Congratulations to Brian for this well-deserved recognition of his excellence both inside and outside the classroom,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “Brian exemplifies the talent and dedication of teachers we have in our classrooms throughout MCPS.”

Freiss connects lessons to real-world experiences, tying in popular music or sports references, which keeps students engaged. Always willing to go the extra mile to help students achieve goals, he finds additional ways to support them—by building parent relationships, by tutoring after school, or simply by finding common ground.

Freiss leads outside the classroom as well. He is the sponsor of the Student Council, has organized an after-school basketball program and coordinated a program that brought members of the Washington Capitals to host a ‘Hockey School’ for students, many of whom had never been exposed to the sport.

Freiss has held education classes for parents, spearheaded a movement to bring more parents to Back-to-School Night and created Dinner for Dads, a program inviting fathers to dinner and discussion that has grown from about 10 fathers in the first session to more than 70.

As a Baldrige School Improvement team member and a National Board Certified Teacher, Freiss played a critical role in implementing school reform efforts that led Highland out of Corrective Action to become a National Blue Ribbon school. He earned a bachelor of arts and sciences degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000.

The Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced next April.

MSDE Press Release on Teacher of the Year Finalists

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