Wicomico Celebrates Its Maryland Teacher of the Year Finalist, Christy Briggs of Bennett Middle
Congratulations to Christy Briggs of Bennett Middle School, the 2016-2017 Wicomico Teacher of the Year and one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. Briggs and the other 23 school system Teachers of the Year were celebrated at the Oct. 7 Maryland Teacher of the Year Gala, where Athanasia Kyriakakos of Baltimore City Public Schools was named the Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Briggs runs a student book club at Bennett Middle, mentors aspiring teachers in her classroom, helps lead her school’s faith-based partnership with Oak Ridge Baptist Church (including a schoolwide carnival and a Hope for the Holidays outreach program), and is active in state and local reading councils. A 20-year teacher who is National Board Certified in Early/Middle Childhood Reading/Language Arts, Briggs has long been recognized and appreciated as an outstanding educator. In recent years she has been a Teacher of the Year finalist twice, a semifinalist twice, and now the 2016-2017 Wicomico Teacher of the Year and finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year.
“Maryland teachers rank among the nation’s best, and the work of these exemplary finalists represents the exceptional creativity and energy found in classrooms through the State,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland Superintendent of Schools. “Maryland’s classroom educators offer our students world-class instruction, providing a passport to their future success.”
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. Finalists were measured against a rigorous set of national criteria that include teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement.
2016-2017 Wicomico Teacher of the Year Christy Briggs
Briggs, a 6th-Grade English Language Arts teacher at Bennett Middle who has a passion for literacy and a strong belief in her own responsibility to model lifelong learning, was named the 2016-2017 Wicomico Teacher of the Year March 17 at the annual Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet at the Commons at Salisbury University.
“What I love about teaching is I get to make history every single day,” Briggs said during her semifinalist video interview. “I get to make mistakes, I get to learn from my mistakes, and I get to show my students that I do this so they can see that as something they will be doing for the rest of their lives. I love that I get to introduce new authors and genres to students. I love that I get to see their passion about reading develop and grow. I love that they find me years later and tell me that they’re still reading, or that they loved my class, or that they’re writing something and they’re enjoying it. I love that I hear from my students’ parents on a regular basis about how I’ve impacted their child’s life.”
Briggs is a 1991 graduate of Parkside High School, and is part of a family committed to public education in Wicomico County. In this generation alone: Her husband, Brian Briggs, is an assistant principal at Parkside High School. Her sister-in-law, Kristen Briggs, is an elementary TAD (Thinking and Doing) teacher married to Brian’s brother, Frederick “Rick” Briggs, the principal of James M. Bennett High.
Briggs received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Salisbury University in 1995, and her Masters of Education in Reading from SU in 2001. She has been an educator in Wicomico County Public Schools since 1997, teaching at Prince Street Elementary (1997-2007), Fruitland Intermediate (2007-2014), and Bennett Middle (2014-present). Briggs enjoys both participating in and delivering professional development on the craft of teaching.
“I strive to continue to grow and improve as a teacher, but even as a seasoned teacher I recognize that I cannot do that alone. The best way to improve public education is to hire quality teachers, invest in the professional development of new and seasoned teachers, and recognize that programs do not fix schools, great teachers do. This will only happen if we invest in ALL of our teachers,” she wrote in her writing prompt for the Teacher of the Year judging process.
As Wicomico Teacher of the Year, Briggs represents the outstanding staff of Bennett Middle and the more than 1,250 teachers of Wicomico County Public Schools. Now she is representing Wicomico County Public Schools as a finalist in the Maryland Teacher of the Year contest. Wicomico is proud to have three former Maryland Teachers of the Year, Bonnie Walston, Aaron Deal and April Todd, working in the school system on behalf of students.