To this day, Urbana High School social studies teacher Norman Crosby remembers Mr. Cleary, a history teacher who first inspired him to become an educator.
And now Crosby is inspiring his own students to follow the same path.
A veteran educator who has taught in Frederick County for 26 years, Crosby has students who have gone on to work for school systems in New York, South Carolina and Virginia.
“I guess it’s a way of paying it forward,” Crosby said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have interesting and interested students.”
For his dedication to the profession and to his students, Crosby has been named Frederick County’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-13.
The Frederick County school system gives out the annual award to a teacher who stands out by providing engaging and relevant lessons.
The winner is selected by a committee that typically includes school system representatives, the business community, representatives of the Parent Teachers Association and the teachers’ union, as well as the previous local teachers of the year, said school system spokeswoman Marita Loose.
The Maryland Board of Education will honor Crosby and the winners from Maryland’s 23 other school districts at a state board meeting May 22 and at a gala Oct. 5 in Baltimore.
Because Crosby is the Teacher of the Year at the county level, he will compete for the Maryland Teacher of the Year title. The state winner then will enter the National Teacher of the Year competition.
With his award , Crosby has entered the same path that in 2011 led another Urbana High School teacher — Michelle Shearer — to become the first Frederick County teacher selected for the National Teacher of the Year award.
“I don’t think you can ever expect anything like this. I am a little overwhelmed,” Crosby said. “I teach with some remarkable colleagues.”
According to his co-workers, during his decades-long career with Frederick County, Crosby has left a deep impact on countless students who took his classes and young teachers he mentored.
“He has a real ability telling the stories of history so that the kids today are interested,” said Mark Kavanaugh, an Urbana High Spanish teacher who has known Crosby for 20 years. “I think kids really like him on a personal level.”
A 50-year-old father of three who lives in Frederick, Crosby has worked in Frederick County Public Schools since 1986, when he became a teacher at Frederick High School.
Born and raised in Concord, Mass., the location of the first battles in the American Revolutionary War, Crosby developed an interest in history early, and chose to follow it through teaching. He completed his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and his master’s equivalency in history at Northeastern University.
At Urbana High, Crosby has served as the social studies department chairman since the school opened in 1995. Under his leadership and guidance, the department has grown from two to 12 members.
For years, he has mentored new teachers through the school system’s teacher training workshops; he is the school system’s lead mentor for new teachers in social studies and serves as a mentor for student teacher interns from Hood College.
In 2009, Crosby was named the American History Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Daughters of the American Revolution and his name appeared in Who’s Who in American Education nine times, most recently in 2011.
He also was nominated for the Institute of American History’s National History Teacher of the Year Award for 2011-12 and Disney’s National Teacher of the Year Award in 2000.
The honors were not what drove Crosby to continue putting all his energy into teaching.
“My expectation for myself is to continue teaching my students,” he said.