Alisha Yocum

Brandy Baptiste didn’t necessarily set out to become a teacher. In fact, it wasn’t until after college when she was working for a company that specialized in Autism that she found her calling to become a teacher while working at a summer camp.

“I absolutely loved everything about it. I loved the kids, the different personalities, everything. I knew then that I needed to go back to school and get my Master’s in Special Education,” Baptiste said.

Now, sixteen years after taking her first teaching job with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) as a Special Education Teacher at Centerville Elementary, Baptiste was selected as one of five finalists in the running for FCPS Teacher of the Year.

Baptiste currently is a teacher in the Pyramid Program at Lewistown Elementary and has students in third, fourth, and fifth grades.

The Pyramid Program is a specialized program for students with significant social and emotional needs, allowing them to get special education and therapeutic services in a small classroom setting.

Building relationships with her students is what motivates Baptiste every day. She knows that those relationships build a sense of safety that allows her students to grow and take risks in the classroom. 

Although Baptiste is extremely proud to be a finalist for the Teacher of the Year, what she wants most from her nomination is to be a platform for all the great things happening with the Pyramid Program and at Lewistown Elementary.

“ I have found at Lewistown, we have some of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. I cannot speak more highly of the staff and students I work with daily. They consistently go above and beyond what is expected of them,” said Baptiste.

“We are so pleased to have Ms. Baptiste representing Lewistown Elementary in this way. She is a committed and innovative educator who prioritizes her students’ needs each and every day,” said Principal Melissa Burton.

When not in the classroom, you will find Baptiste spending time outdoors. She especially enjoys hiking and riding her ATV at her camp in Pennsylvania (PA). Being from Pittsburgh, she is also a diehard Steelers fan and frequently goes back to PA to catch a game!

AnnaClaire Ayoub of Brunswick Elementary, Rebecca Delp of Lincoln Elementary, Heather O’Brien of Urbana High, and Ivette Taboas of Urbana Elementary are the four other finalists for 2024.

The winner of the FCPS Teacher of the Year will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Brandy Baptiste, teacher at Lewistown Elementary, is a finalist for Fredrick County Public School’s Teacher of the Year.

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