Christine O'Neil, 2018 Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year Nomination
Going to work every day is routine, but for some it is a passion and part of who they are. Teaching comes naturally to Christine O’Neil, a reading teacher for grades 3-5, who recently was nominated for the 2018 Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. O'Neil has been teaching for 23 years, the last three at St. Mary’s School. What motivates her about teaching? “The kids. I love being around them, seeing their faces and hearing their ideas. They are the reason why we are all here. Helping them grow is what it is all about, plus, they make me laugh!”
Seeing Mrs. O'Neil in the classroom is nothing short of excellence. She relates to the students and they gravitate to her energy. St. Mary’s School is a special place and makes Christine smile when thinking about the school community. She enjoys coming to work every day because of the people, the kids, parents and her colleagues. Being surrounded by support and the happiness of the students is contagious. The wonderful traditions and details that are woven into what St. Mary’s does as a school. “Today, my daughter's grade supplied lunches for the lighthouse shelter. Things like that seem small but on their own add up and make St. Mary's who we are. I also love catching a glimpse of my daughter on campus.That always makes me smile and I feel very lucky to be able to share this experience with her.”
She is a natural fit for this nomination and well earned. She was definitely surprised, overwhelmed and honored; we knew it was a perfect match. Making an impact on your students is crucial and part of why teaching is such a passion. You put your whole being into making a difference in the lives of your students. Teaching becomes who you are; you think about your students as your own, their highs and lows are yours too! Mrs. O'Neil wants to ensure the message she leaves with her students is “I want my kids to know, to truly believe that they each have their own collection of gifts and talents and traits that make them unique. I try to show them every day that I recognize all of those strengths, the special things that make you who you are and I and value them. That being said, it is in pushing ourselves to face our challenges that we grow. Do not let your struggles limit you. If you put in the work, you can overcome those things. It will probably be hard, and it may take longer than those around you may, but if you invest in yourself and do not give up, you will grow into the person and student that you are meant to be. That person does NOT have to be or look like anyone else...just YOU! Most importantly, I want them to know that I am (really, we all are--teachers, parents, admin) prepared to make that journey with them and put in the work too.”
Principal Rebecca Zimmerman stated, "Mrs. O'Neil is a dynamic educator who instills a true love of literacy and learning in all of her students. She creates engaging and inspiring lessons that are differentiated to meet the needs of all of her learners. St. Mary's is blessed to have Mrs. O'Neil and her many gifts."
When Mrs. O'Neil is not at St. Mary’s, she enjoys reading, running, spending time with her family especially if that means at the beach!
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.