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Local educator is finalist for statewide honor

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Tiffany Doster, a Barack Obama Elementary School teacher, is one of seven educators vying for Maryland Teacher of the Year honor.

Tiffany Doster, a Barack Obama Elementary School teacher, is one of seven educators vying for Maryland Teacher of the Year honor.

Published on: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

By Howard Feintuch

Tiffany Doster’s fifth-grade classroom at Barack Obama Elementary School in Upper Marlboro exudes positive energy as she facilitates reading and math exercises with her students.

Whether a student answers a question correctly or incorrectly, Doster is quick to complement them. It is clear she is a big believer in positive reinforcement at all times.

“It is okay to make a mistake. I just care that you try,” she said to a student who incorrectly answered a math question.

Doster, the 2009-2010 Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year, is one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year. The pool of candidates started at 24, with each county’s teacher of the year under consideration.

The final seven were selected primarily based on an essay and short videotaped interview, Doster said. The next step will be a 30 minute interview with the selection committee, as well as an oral presentation.

For Doster, teaching is not about receiving accolades— it is all about her students excelling in the classroom.

“I do what I do for the children. Teaching is my passion. My goal every year is to produce highly motivated, successful students,” she said. “I believe every child can learn. Some just learn differently, and it is my job to recognize that and help them succeed.”

Her energy in the classroom transfers to her students at Obama Elementary, who are enthusiastic about answering her questions as she roves around the room, never standing still in one place for long. The students are also exceedingly well-behaved. This is not a classroom ruled by fear, though. It is obvious that Doster’s students genuinely like their teacher.

Doster encourages teamwork among her students. For math, she divided the class into several groups, giving each a team name. The students then worked together to solve problems.

Doster has been a full-time teacher for nine years. She began teaching in Maryland in the fall of 2004 at James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton.

“After interviewing Tiffany I knew she would make a great teacher,” said Principal Dr. Marilyn Goldsmith of James Ryder Randall Elementary, who hired her to teach fourth grade. “She had such a passion and drive to want to help students.”

Doster’s strongest quality as a teacher is “her ability to excite every student that comes through her classroom door about learning,” Goldsmith said. “She goes above and beyond the needs of every student in the classroom. Her expectations are high for every student, regardless of whether they are general education, speech-impaired, orthopedic-impaired or autistic. She encourages them all to do their best.”

The winner of the Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced Oct. 8 at an event at Martin’s West in Baltimore.

“It would be an amazing honor to be Maryland Teacher of the Year. I cannot come up with words to describe how it would feel,” Doster said. “I am a little nervous, though.”

Nervous is one thing Doster is clearly not when in the classroom in front of her students. She said it surprises a lot of parents that she actually began her professional career as a recruiter in the financial industry before going back to school to become a teacher, as opposed to originally studying education in college.

“I look forward to coming to work every day. I love what I do,” she said.

Reader Comments - 6 Total

captcha 440fb57cbc9a4d33a4e7c400b520b150

Posted By: Ericka Vaughn On: 12/15/2011

Title: Congratulations !!

I am very proud of you and your accomplishments!!! Many Blessings!!

Posted By: GLENNELL FAIRLEY On: 9/26/2010



Posted By: Mr. & Mrs. John Jenkins On: 9/21/2010

Title: Local Education is Finalist for statewide honor

Ms. Doster is a fantastic teacher! She truly helped us with my son. He hated school and his progress reports were always below average. He was a great kid and never got in trouble at school, but he always had a difficult time with his studies. He said he just didn't understand. Ms. Doster took him under her wings and taught him a different way of learning by breaking down the subjects on his level and then bringing him back up to her level of teaching. My son now wakes up before us and is anxious to get to school. He says he really loves Ms. Doster and he wished she would be his teacher all through school. His progress reports have improved tremenddously and we owe it all to Ms. Doster. Thank you Ms. Doster for being such a wonderful and caring teacher. We wish there were more of you!!!

Posted By: Dianne Burford On: 9/20/2010

Title: Local Educator is Finalist for statewide honor

Tiffany Doster is a fantastic teacher! My son did not like school at all and it was always an effort just getting him up and ready. He now wakes up on his own and really looks forward to going to school. He said he loves Ms. Doster and that she is the only teacher that has really helped him to understand the work. She just keeps breaking it down until you understand. Ms. Doster has a special way of making class work fun and interesting while we're learning at the same time. I applaud Ms. Doster because my son has really come a long way and he is now studying diligently every night without us having to tell him. He said he wants to make Ms. Doster proud.

Posted By: Dorothy V Harris On: 9/20/2010


I Have known Tiffany all of her life and I know first hand that she is a loyal and very polished young lady. Tiffany has worked hard all of her life and she has always stayed focused on what ever she set out to do. I am so proud that she has been considered for the position of Maryland's Teacher of the year. You won't find anyone more qualifies. Go Tif!
Educator...for Los Angeles Unified

Posted By: Veronica "Roni" Gillette On: 9/16/2010

Title: Local Educator is Finalist

I am so proud of Tiffany. I've known her and her mother since Tiffany started her college education at UMES. It is so wonderful that Tiffany is getting the recognition for her industry. I think that TEACHERS are so seldom recognize for the iimpact they have on our children and our lives. Giving the passion and making school exciting to come to everyday is almost instintive to Tiffany. It makes that little difference to young kids, that I can make a mistake and not be embarrassed to answer or participate. Tiffany way of teaching gives them confidence. Thank you Tiffany. I know Roberta is PROUD!


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