Even after 31 years, Gunpowder Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Anne Cross feels like her career is just beginning.
Cross, who has taught at the school in Perry Hall since 1991, was recognized by Baltimore County school officials as the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year during an award ceremony Monday at Loch Raven High School.
She was chosen from a group of 119 nominees and is the first elementary school teacher to win the award since 2010-2011.
"I'm grateful for the acknowledgment at this point in my career," Cross said. "Many people who have taught for this long feel like they're at the end, but I don't feel that way at all."
Cross began her career at St. Dominic School in Baltimore and said she chose her career from a desire to be of service to others.
She credited her mother, Isabelle Corbett, 76, as her source of inspiration for choosing the profession.
"It's from my mom that I drew the lesson of selfless love, sacrifice and patience," Cross said.
Cross, who lives in Bel Air with her husband of 23 years, Bruce Cross, will compete in the Maryland State Teacher of the Year competition.
As the county's Teacher of the Year, she will receive a $1,000 gift for classroom supplies and technology, a $1,000 cash award, 40-inch flat-screen television, laptop computer and a personalized iPad, memberships to fitness centers and nature centers, tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Orioles, 50 free books, $500 in school library resources, and gift certificates to a spa, restaurants, movie showings, and health screenings from the school system and the county's business community.
Four other finalists were honored during the event: Adam Carney, an English teacher and technology liaison at New Town High in Owings Mills; Kimberly Culbertson, a chemistry and forensic science teacher at Dulaney High in Timonium; Julie Krause, a first-grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary in Middle River; and Michelle Webster, a reading specialist at Woodholme Elementary in Pikesville.
Pat Goldys, of Norwood Elementary, was named 2014-2015 Principal of the Year. This was the second year the award has been given.
"Principals are teachers. People need to understand that. We teach," Goldys said. "I'll honestly never aspired to be anything other than a teacher. I love teaching."
Goldys, who began her career as a teacher and has been a principal for 19 years, said she enjoys "raising kids to be leaders."
"I want them to look beyond what they think they can be," Goldys said.
Goldys lives in Perry Hall with her husband of 36 years, Marty Goldys. They have three sons, Matt, Marty and Mike.
The other finalists for the award were: Doug Elmendorf of Chase Elementary; Andrew Last of Hereford High; Barbara McLennan of Dundalk Elementary; and Sam Mustipher of New Town High.
National Teacher of the Year winner Sean McComb from Patapsco High School, the Baltimore County Teacher of the Year last year, was among those who attended the ceremony.