OCEAN CITY – Officials recognized Worcester Technical High School’s Julia Hill as the county’s top teacher at the 2017 Worcester County Teacher of the Year celebration.
The announcement that Hill, a Stephen Decatur High School graduate, was the 2017 Teacher of the Year was met with waves of applause Friday evening. Hundreds of teachers, school system administrators, county officials and community members were in attendance at the 30th annual Worcester County Teacher of the Year event at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel.
“It’s truly an honor to represent our county,” Hill said. “Our county is filled with so many amazing teachers and students and support staff and administrators. I just feel so blessed to be a part of it.”
Teachers from each of the county’s 14 schools were recognized at Friday’s banquet before Hill received the top honor.
“This evening focuses on our exemplary teachers,” Superintendent Lou Taylor said. “The most important people that make the difference in our schools bar none are the teachers.”
Carol Rose, who presented Hill with proclamations on behalf of Delegate Mary Beth Carozza and Senator Jim Mathias, told the crowd the county had a long history of excellence in education. She described the impact her own fourth grade teacher at Buckingham Elementary School had had 60 years ago. She also shared fond memories of her “Problems of Democracy” teacher at Stephen Decatur High School.
“The reason I’m giving you these antidotes of my youth tonight is to let you know that excellence in Worcester County education began decades ago,” Rose said. “I’m so proud the tradition continues today with all of you here.”
Worcester County Commissioner Jim Bunting also praised the county’s teachers.
“Tonight is about the teachers,” he said. “Each and every commissioner is very proud of every teacher in this school system.”
Hill, who teaches pre-calculus and other math courses at Worcester Tech, is in her 13th year of teaching. In addition her time in the classroom, she’s a SkillsUSA advisor, member of Worcester Tech’s School Improvement Team and a developer of the county’s math curriculum.
Following the announcement that Hill was the 2017 Teacher of the Year, she was quick to thank her family for their support. Her husband, Stephen Decatur Middle School teacher Trevor Hill, was also one of the nominees honored at this year’s banquet.
“Thank you to Mr. Taylor for taking a chance on me and giving me my first job,” Hill said. “Thank you all for being so supportive. Any time I’ve ever needed anything the math department and the entire county has stepped up to the plate and been so helpful. I really feel like we’re a family. Thank you all so much.”
In an interview at Worcester Tech this week, Hill said she was still getting over the shock of Friday’s recognition. She said that as she watched the video highlighting each of the year’s nominees during the Teacher of the Year banquet, she was struck by the effort put forth by her fellow teachers.
“I just thought all these people are doing such amazing things,” she said.
Though she started her career at Stephen Decatur High School, Hill has been teaching at Worcester Tech since 2010. At the tech school she teaches a variety of math classes based on student needs. The changing courses enable her to see students more than once.
“I love getting to build relationships with my students,” she said. “It’s fun to watch them grow.”
When asked what she liked about teaching in Worcester County, Hill again referenced the close-knit school community.
“I like how we’re a family,” she said. “It’s small enough that most of us know each other. We support each other whether it’s school stuff or personal. I appreciate that.”
As the 2017 Worcester County Teacher of the Year, Hill will receive various gifts from local businesses, a new laptop and an expense paid trip to an educational conference. She will join the top teachers from each of Maryland’s other counties to compete for the state Teacher of the Year title.