Baumann has educated students at St. Mary’s for the past 28 years, teaching Chemistry and Environmental Science at the college-prep and AP levels. Through each course, Baumann incorporates real world experiences and opportunities for hands-on learning for each of her students.
Her students gather water samples from our campus property located on Spa Creek, cultivate spat and raise oysters in an effort to help repopulate the species in the Chesapeake Bay, and work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to learn about the ecology of the Bay and ways we can help to restore and preserve it. In addition, each year, a group of students from St. Mary’s Environmental Studies Program join Baumann and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a three-day excursion at the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore to take part in activities including marsh mucking, crab scraping and oyster dredging.
Baumann inspires her students to be environmentally conscientious and value the role the environment plays in each of their lives, ensuring no matter their future path, that they learn the lesson that our actions impact others and our world. Her students truly understand that one person can make a difference.
In addition to inspiring the next generation of environmental change agents through science, Baumann serves as an assistant coach for the St. Mary’s tennis team, moderates the Cooking Club and Pickleball Club and previously helped to establish St. Mary’s Environmental Studies Graduation Certificate Program.
Olechowski has taught at St. Mary’s since 2000 when she started off as an instructional assistant to the fifth and sixth grades. She then moved into a writing support staff role for the sixth and seventh grade before transitioning to a middle school Language Arts teacher. In 2016, she moved into her current position as the Art teacher for grades four through eight. Olechowski’s love of language and literature is embedded in all of the art projects she guides her students through.
Olechowski has led numerous beautification projects throughout St. Mary’s Elementary. She created a peace garden filled with hand painted rocks and inspirational sayings, worked with students on several hand-painted mural scenes on school hallways and has provided a multitude of seasonal artistic hallway decorations year after year. In addition to her art lessons in the classroom, Olechowski supports students as they extend their artistic abilities through several art clubs, including one for fifth and sixth graders and one for seventh and eighth graders.
Each year, Olechowski partners with her students to create and display their masterpieces through St. Mary’s “Celebrate the Arts” night—an evening when family and friends can view the hard work of the students from the entire academic year. Throughout her time at St. Mary’s, Olechowski has been able to inspire, encourage and develop countless young artists, leaving them feeling esteemed, confident and comfortable with their artistic talents. Her calm and professional demeanor makes her not only a wonderful teacher to all of her students, but also a respected colleague among her peers.
This year’s Anne Arundel County Independent Schools Teacher of the Year award winner will be announced on Thursday, April 16, at the 34th annual Excellence in Education Dinner at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum.