The Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank have announced their Touchdown for Teachers finalists and grand prize winner. The program recognizes and honors local teachers for their leadership, dedication and commitment to education, and for their outstanding service to their school, students and community.
The 2017 Touchdown for Teachers finalists are:
Antonio Mason – Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School (grand prize winner)
Kirk Crawley – Frederick Douglass High School
Ashley Murphy – Ilchester Elementary School
Joy Medley – Meade Senior High School
Amber Gaede – Seventh District Elementary School
The grand prize was awarded to Antonio Mason, who is the third grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle and is a three-time Teacher of the Year nominee for Baltimore City.
Outside of the classroom, Mr. Mason helped develop the school's athletic department, eventually earning the role of athletic director. He is directly responsible for creating and facilitating after-school activities that include sports, tutoring and mentoring programs. In addition, he serves as the ELA team leader, the third-fifth grade team leader, the Instructional Leadership team chair, Student Family Council coordinator and after-school supports coordinator.
Mr. Mason has established significant relationships with students and their families at Hazelwood, serving as the school's Family Council Chair and Family Community Engagement Chair. As a mentor, he is known for his dedication to the welfare of his students, helping them in times of need, and has implemented resources from The Family Tree, a nonprofit organization in Maryland with the goal of helping families in all aspects of life.
The five finalists each received a personalized Ravens jersey and an award plaque. The runners-up were also awarded $500 in grant funds, while Mason was presented with a check for $2,000 in grant funds. Additionally, he will receive a classroom visit by a Ravens' coach or player, accompanied by Ravens mascot Poe and cheerleaders before the end of the 2017 school year. (Details to follow the week of the event.)
"It's important to recognize the outstanding work our teachers are doing in the community," said Augie Chiasera, President of M&T Bank's Greater Baltimore and Chesapeake markets. "Teachers can literally turn lives around and inspire our young people to reach their potential. The Touchdown for Teachers program is a way to celebrate the positive impact teachers have on students and the entire community."