2020-21 Innovator of the Year

2020-21 Innovator of the Year
Posted on 03/25/2021
Maia Bayuzick

Maia Bayuzick, the art teacher at Washington-Henry Elementary School (WHES), has been named the 2020-2021 Hanover County Public Schools Innovator of the Year. The award seeks to encourage and empower teachers to transform learning by continuously challenging, inspiring, and engaging students using new and relevant ideas. 

Bayuzick, who was recently surprised with the award at WHES by Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, and other special guests, received $1,000 from the Hanover Education Foundation.  She plans to use the money to expand her knowledge of integrating the arts across curriculum by taking a course through the Institute of Arts Integration and STEAM in Maryland. This is Bayuzick’s fourth year teaching in Hanover County Public Schools. 

“Receiving this recognition has been incredible! My colleagues and students inspire me to be innovative, so I am proud to represent WHES and our school community,” Bayuzick said. “Without the support from my administration and colleagues, I wouldn't have felt as comfortable to try new things. I am excited to continue to push my instruction and grow as an educator!”

Bayuzick’s classroom innovation is exemplified through a project she led with her fifth grade students this year. Knowing that she wanted to teach a digital art lesson while incorporating foundational knowledge, such as how computers display images, the project focused on students making their own animated pixel GIF. Students peer mentored one another throughout the lesson and shared what they knew with the class.

“Each student created an animated GIF that was absolutely unique to who they are as an artist, and I got to stand back and support their vision,” she said. “To me, this project was a perfect example of innovation since it allowed students to use their own voice to show what they know, connected students together (both in the classroom and between classrooms), and provided a safe space for risk-taking.” 

Washington-Henry Elementary School Principal Lisa Thompson said Bayuzick inspires students through the vehicle of art.

“In her lessons, she evokes sensory experiences which stimulates creativity in her students,” Thompson said. “She encourages them to examine themselves introspectively as artists and to use this knowledge to bring their own artwork to life.”

Thompson added: “She has developed the mindset in our children that anything is possible when you give yourself the freedom to explore. Her impact on our students will be seen for years to come."

Each year, HCPS will select one educator for this distinguished award to serve as a role model and ambassador for innovation throughout the division to foster higher student growth and achievement. 

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