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Jodie Hogan, a Spanish teacher at South River High School in Edgewater, tonight was named as the 2012-2013 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. The surprise announcement culminated an evening of celebration at the 27th annual Excellence in Education Awards, presented by AACPS and the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Comcast.

Debora Coates Consugar, a teacher at The Summit School, was named the 2012-2013 Private Schools Teacher of the Year.

Two local businesses were also honored as Business Partners of the Year for their outstanding contributions to county schools. Dayspring Presbyterian Church was selected as the small business (less than 50 employees) winner for its work with Hilltop Elementary School. In the large business (more than 50 employees) category, Under Armour won for its many efforts to help launch the Business, Innovation, and Leadership signature program at Severna Park High School.

Hogan is the first South River teacher and the first World and Classical Languages teacher to win the award since its inception in 1986-87. She will now represent county public school teachers as the school system’s nominee for Maryland Teacher of the Year.

In accepting the award, Hogan thanked her family, friends, and co-workers, and then turned her attention to her students, whom she said inspire her daily.

“Without them I would not be the person that I am,” she said. “Without them I wouldn’t be motivated to teach them the way that I do. I just feel so incredibly blessed and passionate about this job and career. It’s just so exciting to be able to wake up every day and go to work to do something that I love so much.”

Fifty-two educators from public and private schools were recognized during the event. Other finalists for this year’s Public Schools Teacher of the Year honor were: Lori-Ann Balzano, a second-grade teacher at Davidsonville Elementary School; Jennifer Bender, a social studies teacher at Chesapeake High School; Ruth Goldstraw, a math teacher at Old Mill High School; and Christiana Grue, a physical education teacher at Marley Middle School. The other finalist for this year’s Private Schools Teacher of the Year was Tim Decker of Eagle Cove School.

Hogan, who arrived at South River in 1999 and has spent her entire career there, is known for the passion with which she shares her love of language, culture, and travel with her students in multi-dimensional ways that have them returning eager to learn more. “She makes learning fun and has helped instill a sense of school pride and respect for cultural differences in our student body,” South River Foreign Language Department Chair Karen Packal wrote in her nomination letter for Hogan.

In addition to her high school classes, Hogan is an instructor for higher-aspiring educators at Gratz College. In 2011, she was named Maryland Language Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Foreign Language Association.

Other educators honored at tonight’s event were: