Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Back to a familiar school

Former student returns to Cedar Grove as teacher

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Chris Rossi⁄The Gazette
Cedar Grove Elementary School Principal Lee Derby greets parents and students during an open house on Friday.
Brian Humphrey experienced the first day of school from the other side of the teacher’s desk.

The 23-year-old Damascus resident began his teaching career Monday as a fourth-grade teacher at Cedar Grove Elementary School, the same school he attended through second grade.

‘‘I’m rather excited to start the first year, also a little scared,” he said last week. ‘‘There’s a lot to do ... I’m ready to get started.”

Humphrey took a break from organizing his classroom on Aug. 22 to talk about his expectations for the coming year.

‘‘I always expected to be a teacher, at least in high school,” said the 2002 Damascus High School graduate.

Humphrey graduated from McDaniel College in Westminster in May 2006 with a degree in sociology, then completed his student-teaching requirement the following fall in Carroll County to earn a teaching certificate. In the spring, he worked for The ARC of Montgomery County’s special education program at Gaithersburg High School.

‘‘I was very impressed in our interview with both his knowledge of instruction and good teaching and his dedication to his students,” said Lee Derby, 43, the new principal at Cedar Grove.

Last spring, DHS athletic director Rob Leonard called to ask Humphrey to coach the junior varsity basketball team.

‘‘He connected well with the players and they responded to him,” Leonard said.

Humphrey expects to bring his love of sports into the classroom. Reading groups will be named after his favorite teams — Redskins, Orioles, Wizards and Terrapins, he said.

‘‘In student teaching, I was a Redskin fan, they were Ravens fans,” Humphrey said.

He would use statistics from the Redskin glory days of the 1980s in math lessons to show why the Redskins were better, he said.

As a student, Humphrey was transferred out of Cedar Grove after second grade when Lois P. Rockwell Elementary opened.

‘‘I’ve had a few reminiscences with teachers who were here when I was here,” he said.