Last week, Urbana High School (UHS) social studies teacher Norman Crosby was recognized as Frederick County Public School‚Äôs (FCPS) Teacher of the Year at the state school board meeting. Crosby joined teachers from every Maryland county in a ceremony on May 22 in Baltimore City that honored their dedication, hard work and commitment to not only their profession, but above all, their students.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think I do any more than most [teachers],‚ÄĚ said Crosby, somewhat embarrassed by the spotlight. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think I am the exception, I am a representation.‚ÄĚ
Crosby added that his job was to make students think. ‚ÄúIn a representative democracy, public education is the most important thing,‚ÄĚ he emphasized.
When asked what he loves most about his job, Crosby responded: ‚ÄúWhen you make that connection with the student. Some of my most cherished moments are when students who don‚Äôt even have a connection to school, ‚Ä¶ something in my class makes them like school. ‚Ä¶ Or the student who says ‚ÄėI was flipping the channels and stopped to watch something on the History Channel.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
A self-professed ‚Äúunabashed history nerd,‚ÄĚ Crosby shares his love of history with his students on a daily basis. Crosby is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, a professional society dedicated to promoting the study of history.
‚ÄúI am never at a point that I am bored with it,‚ÄĚ he said. His goal is to get the students to see and share that excitement.
A native of Concord, Mass., Crosby credits his own high school history teacher Dennis Cleary with sparking his lifelong love of the subject. ‚ÄúHe made me a teacher,‚ÄĚ said Crosby, who at first considered a career in sports broadcast journalism. He earned a bachelor‚Äôs in history from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and then a master‚Äôs equivalency in history from Northeastern University.
Crosby moved to Maryland for a job and began teaching at Frederick High School in 1986. When Urbana High opened in 1995, Crosby accepted the position as social studies department chair.
‚ÄúI know how many wonderful teachers there are here, and in Frederick County,‚ÄĚ UHS Principal Kathy Campagnoli said. As for Crosby, she said, ‚ÄúThis is really way overdue. He is so deserving of this.‚ÄĚ
She describes him as a gentleman, a kind and caring husband and father, a selfless friend and colleague, a dedicated teacher, and an intellectual with a passion to share. She said he is the kind of teacher who students come back to 20 years later and say ‚Äúyou made a difference in my life.‚ÄĚ
Crosby estimates that some 56 students of his have become teachers as well. ‚ÄúThat is especially rewarding,‚ÄĚ noted Crosby, likening it to a ‚Äúpay it forward.‚ÄĚ
Crosby is an avid mentor also for new and student teachers. For many years, he served as the social studies instructor for new teacher training workshops and as lead mentor for new teachers in social studies and UHS‚Äôs new teacher coordinator. He also serves as a mentor teacher for Phase I and II student interns from Hood College.
‚ÄúHe is very interested in giving back ‚Ä¶ working with other teachers ‚Ä¶ teaching other teachers,‚ÄĚ said Campagnoli.
Crosby was the runner up for the 2003-2004 FCPS Teacher of the Year Award and nominated for the Institute of American History‚Äôs National History Teacher of the Year Award (2011-2012) and Disney‚Äôs National Teacher of the Year Award (2000).¬†He was recognized by local radio station Key 103.1 as Urbana High‚Äôs Teacher of the Year (2010) and awarded the Curriculum Supervisors Award for Advisor Academic Team (2001). He was named the American History Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Daughters of the American Revolution (2009) and Who‚Äôs Who in American Education nine times, most recently in 2011.
As for this most recent recognition, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the right time,‚ÄĚ said Crosby. ‚ÄúI can appreciate it. I am far enough in my career.‚ÄĚ And, he joked, ‚Äúit means I get to hold my own at home.‚ÄĚ Crosby‚Äôs wife is a kindergarten teacher, and he said her job is way harder than his.
Crosby believes in hard work, and he works hard. ‚ÄúI love to see hard work pay off,‚ÄĚ said Crosby.
‚ÄúJohn Addams is one of my favorite presidents,‚ÄĚ he said, in sharing this quote: ‚Äú‚ÄėWe cannot guarantee success, but we can deserve it.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Editor‚Äôs Note: A state-wide gala is set for Oct. 5 at Martin‚Äôs West in Baltimore, where Crosby will join 23 other county Teachers of the Year honorees. One will be selected the Maryland Teacher of the Year and go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award.