GREENBELT—Renee Roth, a third grade science teacher at Tulip Grove Elementary School in Bowie, won the 2015 Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year title in an awards ceremony held at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt on April 23.
“Our new Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year epitomizes excellence in teaching,” said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO, in a press release. “Ms. Roth not only demonstrates mastery in the field of science; she instills a passion for learning in her students and prepares them for future success as they enter the next level in their education.”
According to?PGCPS, Roth’s Tulip Grove peers nominated her not only for her skills in the classroom, but for her support of colleagues through her role as professional development lead teacher. Christopher Taylor, fourth grade teacher of reading and science at Tulip Grove Elementary, said Roth is an inspiration.
“She inspires me in lots of different ways,” he said. “First and foremost, her dedication to the teaching profession is very inspiring to me. She takes time and is a very thoughtful planner and has taught me over the years that the key to successful teaching is to be prepared for the kids when they walk in in the morning.”
Tulip Grove Principal Jaime Coffen said she was “not surprised at all” that Roth won the award.
“Since the nomination process I had been telling her that she was going to win, and the reason being because Mrs. Roth embodies what an educator should be,” Coffen said. “She has a keen focus on the students and all that they are learning and doing in their classrooms. She also has the heart and desire to help her colleagues to enhance their class and then she also helps to prepare college students who want to become educators and that’s what it’s all about, giving back to the profession.”
Considering the competition of what Roth called “16 outstanding nominees,” she said she felt “very surprised” when she won the title and winning it brought her an “amazing feeling.”
But Roth said the award is not hers alone.
“Over the 30 years that I’ve taught I’ve met so many inspiring people and I’ve taken pieces of them with me—teachers, administrators, parents and children—and here at Tulip Grove too, I feel like this is kind of our staff award because any one of us could have been chosen as the winner,” she said.
Roth worked as a teacher for PGCPS for the past 30 years, starting as a teacher at Berkshire Elementary School in August 1985 before transferring to Tulip Grove Elementary School in 1998, where she teaches third and fourth graders in reading/language arts, science, social studies and health. Coffen said Roth’s classroom is “organized” and “highly effective.”
Coffen said when she observes Roth’s classroom, she “rarely sees children sitting at desks” because they’re “up and moving around” engaging in the learning process through a hands-on approach. Roth knows how to reach her students at their level and expand their horizons, she said.
“One day, I was walking by her classroom and I heard a lot of chattering going on. So I walked in and I just saw her children,” Coffen said. “The reason I didn’t see her was because she was on the floor with the children just kind of kneeling down, figuring out what they were reading and asking them questions. So for me, I think that it shows who she is. She doesn’t put herself above the children, she puts herself right down at the same level with them and I think because of that, she’s able to reach them.”
Coffen said Roth’s title as Teacher of the Year will raise the standard of excellence in her school.
“I think that at Tulip Grove we have many excellent teachers,” Coffen said. “But I think when you have the Teacher of the Year on your staff, it does make you want to think, ‘I want to be able to represent us in that way’ or ‘I want to be able to be that next Teacher of the Year.’ So I think it will help, it will continue to motivate our teachers to want to enhance their craft.”
Taylor said Roth’s award will serve as a source of motivation for him and the rest of his colleagues.
“She is a great ambassador for Tulip Grove and for all of Prince George’s County,” he said. “She is really what a great teacher should be and she is a great example of what people should strive for and that’s going to motivate everybody in the building. It really has brought us together.”