Maryland Humanities Council

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The Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year Award

Faith Majors, Samuel Ogle Middle School

The Maryland Humanities Council is pleased to award the 2014 Christine D. Sarbanes Award to Faith Majors, 8th grade English/Language Arts Teacher at Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, MD (Prince George’s County). A Maryland native, Ms. Majors attended Bowie State University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who brings enthusiasm, structure, and creativity to her classroom. She focuses on the whole child when she teachers, going the extra mile to find books and materials that will interest even the most reluctant reader. Her hard work, and that of her students, has helped to increase her special education students’ measured reading level during their time with her each year.


Learning in Ms. Majors’ class is student-centered and fun. Using her background in theater, she incorporates activities to encourage student engagement. After reading Edgar Allen Poe's The Telltale Heart, students held a mock trial for the murder where they were assigned roles such as prosecuting attorney, police officer or jury member. Answers to questions during the trial had to come directly from text evidence or reasonable inferences, which required that the students fully immerse themselves in the details of the story.


Ms. Majors extends her work outside of the classroom, helping parents select appropriate materials for their families, planning technology-based interventions for struggling readers, and creating home-school incentive plans to support reading at home. She also works with interns from the University of Maryland as a mentor, encouraging the next generation of teachers to take creative approaches to meeting the learning goals of students. She stays in tune with new books and magazines that might interest her students with the help of her teenage son. 



The Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) offers a special prize in memory of Christine D. Sarbanes, former MHC board member. Honoring Christine Sarbanes' work as an educator, this annual award is part of the Maryland Letters About Literature (LAL) contest and recognizes a Maryland teacher who works avidly to promote reading in his or her school.

Maryland educators whose students participate in LAL and who have worked to promote reading and writing in their school by employing creative teaching methods to inspire students to read great literature are eligible for this award. Nominations are accepted from principals and colleagues.

Through a life of dedicated public service, Christine D. Sarbanes shared her love of literature and her passion for the humanities with the people of Maryland. Born in London, she received her B.A and M.A. in Classics from Oxford University, taught Classics for many years at the Gilman School in Baltimore, and was a lecturer at Goucher College. She devoted her free time serving on the boards of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Walters Art Museum, Meals on Wheels, U.S. Committee for UNICEF, the University of Maryland Medical School, and served as Vice Chair of the Society for Preservation of Greek Heritage. Christine Sarbanes was the wife of former U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes and the mother of U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes, Janet Sarbanes and Michael Sarbanes.

LAL is a national contest, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which encourages students in grades 4-12 to write to an author who has changed their view of the world or themselves. LAL is coordinated in Maryland by the Maryland Center for the Book, a program of MHC. The Christine D. Sarbanes Award is presented to the selected honoree at the LAL awards ceremony each spring at the Enoch Pratt Free Library during the CityLit Festival.