Calvert County’s rise to the pinnacle of school systems has thousands of heroes—administrators, parents, taxpayers and students. On Thursday, April 10, Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) celebrated the catalysts for the system’s resounding success. The 2014 Teacher of the Year and Educational Support Person of the Year Celebration was held at the Rod ‘N’ Reel Restaurant in Chesapeake Beach.

Each school building—13 elementary, six middle and four high schools; plus Calvert Country School and the Career and Technology Academy had nominees in two categories. The CCPS Central Office also nominated an employee for the Support Person of the Year.

The school system’s top teacher for 2014 is Laura A. Collins, a science teacher at Plum Point Middle School (PPMS). After her name was announced as the winner, Collins was at a loss for words.

The Prince George’s County native began teaching science during the early 1990s. Collins said she took eight years off to have a family and resumed her career in Anne Arundel County. After she and her family moved to Calvert 14 years ago, she began teaching in the county.

Collins teaches physical, life and Earth science at PPMS. The most rewarding part of her job she said, was when her students develop a love for science and share her passion for the subject.

The summary on Collins submitted by her peers at PPMS compared her to television’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

“Just like Bill Nye, Ms. Collins uses her humor to make science entertaining and accessible to everyone,” PPMS staff stated. “She is a perfect fit in sixth grade science, motivating and inspiring students to develop an interest in science that lasts a lifetime.”

Collins indicated some of the new accountability and curriculum mandates teachers are dealing with pose a challenge and prompt concerns. “I worry so much that we’re trying to make them [students] the same,” said Collins.

The CCPS Support Staff Person of the Year for 2014 is Northern High School (NHS) guidance secretary Penny Martin. According to her NHS colleagues, Martin has been part of the staff for only two years but has had quite an impact. “Since her arrival, Mrs. Martin has reorganized and streamlined the guidance department,” staff stated. “She is heavily involved with planning, scheduling, testing, as wel