Sarah Jester, a music teacher at Northeast High School in Pasadena, has been named Anne Arundel County’s winner of the 2012 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award by The Washington Post. Jester is one of 21 winners of the honor, awarded annually by the newspaper to outstanding teachers.
The awards are named for Agnes Meyer, the wife of Eugene Meyer, a former publisher of The Washington Post. They recognize “teachers who have shown initiative, creativity, and an exceptional degree of professionalism in teaching,” and are accompanied by a $3,000 award.
“Each day I walk into my classroom I bring with me a piece of all of the teachers that have touched my life, and I hope to pass my passion for music on to my own students,” Jester said.
Jester has been a music teacher in Anne Arundel County since 2000, when she began her career at Chesapeake Bay Middle School. She taught sixth- through eighth-grade students and served as the school’s choral director before moving to Northeast in 2007.
At Northeast, Jester is the music department chair and conducts a concert choir of 90 students and a vocal ensemble of 17 students. In addition, she teaches piano, guitar, Honors music theory, and Advanced Placement music theory. She also is the advisor for the theater group, Tri-M Honor Society, and International Thespian Honor Society.
“Sarah Jester is the best teacher with whom I have worked in 25 years,” Northeast principal Dr. Kathryn Kubic said. “Her wing of the building has come alive under her leadership: the noise, noise, joyful noise of students engaged in learning music and performing in the theatre. She built a once almost extinct program into a foundation of our school, as evidenced in the quadrupling of student enrollment and the plethora of new student performance events.”
Northeast High senior Lindsey Bass said Jester’s teaching has changed her life.
“Ms. Jester’s influence has shaped me from a shy freshman not interested in continuing music into a confident performer,” she wrote in an endorsement letter. “Music is a relaxing escape from life’s stresses, and in the presence of a strong, funny, passionate teacher who opens her heart to her students, there are no limits to what can be achieved. As I pursue a degree in music, I will forever appreciate everything I’ve learned from Ms. Jester.”