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Mount Alum Brandy Baptiste Named Finalist for FCPS Teacher of the Year

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20

Brandy Baptiste

Photo courtesy of Frederick County Public Schools

As a special education teacher for Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) since 2007, Brandy Baptiste gained exposure to the FCPS Pyramid Program by helping teach in the program during the summertime extended school year weeks. She fell in love with the Pyramid Program but had to wait patiently for a position to open.

Brandy Baptiste“Finally, in 2018, there was an opening, and I began my dream job!” she said. “A few years into this job, I realized I needed to learn more about behavior and ways to help my students.” On the advice of a few friends who are board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA), she pursued her post-master’s certificate at the Mount.

Baptiste, a special education teacher at Lewistown Elementary School in Thurmont, Maryland, continues to teach in the Pyramid Program, and last year earned her post-master’s certificate in applied behavior analysis (ABA) through Mount St. Mary’s University’s program.

The ABA training gave Baptiste confidence and a heightened skillset, enabling her to take proactive measures with her students and provide a more consistent, structured environment. “My confidence and knowledge in managing students with significant behavioral challenges was greatly impacted in a positive way, and I directly saw the results with my students this year,” she stated.

Baptiste’s prowess as a teacher has been recognized for years and resulted in her nomination for the Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award in 2021. This year she was named one of five finalists as FCPS Teacher of the Year for 2024-25, the highest honor awarded to an FCPS educator. Baptiste and her four fellow nominees will receive special thanks and recognition from the Superintendent, Cheryl Dyson, DOL, and the Frederick County Board of Education.

In a video produced by FCPS, Baptiste expressed her hope that being a Teacher of the Year finalist will highlight the success of the Pyramid Program, which provides a small, hands-on classroom experience for students with significant emotional and social challenges and disabilities. The program helps provide participating students with a curriculum that integrates intensive special education, therapeutic services, and engagement with peers in general education.

Overall, Baptiste’s experience at the Mount, both her time in classes and the ABA insight and foundation she took with her to the classroom, have positively impacted her career.

“Dr. Correll [Assistant Professor Rebecca Correll, Ph.D.] taught my first class and blew me away with her teaching style and her complete understanding of the field. That set the tone for me. Every other professor was just as knowledgeable and passionate,” Baptiste said. “The professors and the Mount made this process so seamless. I loved being able to actually have class in person and form relationships with other students. And the professors—I felt they truly cared and wanted all of their students to be successful.”

Baptiste also shared that several courses tailored to working as a supervisor in an ABA-related setting, such as Introduction to Personal Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management, gave her new direction in managing the assistant teachers in her classroom.

In addition to her post-master’s certificate in applied behavior analysis, Baptiste earned a Bachelor of Science degree in speech-language pathology from Clarion University, and a Master of Education from Slippery Rock University.

To learn more about Mount St. Mary’s ABA program, visit https://msmary.edu/academics/graduate-school/applied-behavior-analysis-certificate.html.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20