Amy Mangold has called John Archer her second home for 13 years.
The school serves around 100 students each with severe disabilities, and Mangold teaches students from 3 to 5 years old.
“Truly when we look at students here at John Archer it’s not just me, everybody here we don’t look at students with disabilities we look at students with abilities,” said Mangold. “That’s what I love about the climate and culture of the school here. Everybody works to make that student as independent and successful as their highest potential.”
The payoff for Mangold is seeing her students pride in their accomplishments.
“They don’t give up, they persevere and I will do the same. If I haven’t found a way to help that child be successful with a particular task I’m going to try and look for another way or I’m going to talk to someone who might have another idea.”
She was named the 2017 Harford County Teacher of the year last year.
When she talks to new educators her biggest advice is to embrace the team atmosphere.
“Paraeducators are invaluable, I’ve always said they are the backbone of special education. They support everything the special educator is working to implement in order to make that child successful.”
She's heard students say their first words and take their first steps, cultivating students and families with all the passion and patience the children need.
“Even just this week I have a queue that I tell students 3,2,1 we are all done. This week I went 3,2,1 we are all and I pushed. One of my students in here said “done” and that was the first word she had ever spoken.”
This year's Harford County teacher of the year is Paula Stanton.
She's an English teacher at Bel Air High School.