After winning the national Horace Mann award for teaching excellence last year, Casey Keyser, a third-grade teacher at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School, has gone on to win a second national honor.
Keyser was recently named the 2021 recipient of the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence, given annually to an educator who demonstrates exemplary teaching, attention to diversity and advocacy for the profession, according to Frederick County Public Schools officials.
Her passion for education and creativity in the classroom were cited as reasons for ultimately receiving the award out of five finalists.
Keyser is a Frederick County Public Schools alum. She graduated from Brunswick High School and went on to complete degrees at both Towson University and Mount St. Mary’s University. She has spent the past 11 years teaching in FCPS schools.
In an email, Keyser said she is honored and humbled by the award and is proud to represent her community.
“I can safely say that I never thought I would be accepting this national recognition,” she said. “There have been many incredible educators that have helped guide and teach me along the way. I accept this award for them and all the other amazing educators out there.”
One action Keyser has taken in the last year that was recognized along with her reception of the award was her founding of the Bow Tie Club at Butterfly Ridge Elementary.
The club not only encourages students to dress for success, it also aims to inspire the next generation of male African American student leaders, Keyser said.
“The mission of the program is to engage students in problem solving and teamwork skills, critical thinking, communication and to build leadership within their school and community,” she said.
In a statement, FCPS superintendent Terry Alban said she was thrilled to see Keyser earn the distinction.
“She is so deserving of this honor and always focuses on what is best for her students,” Alban said.
Keyser, who describes teaching as her passion, said she plans to have a long career in education.
“My main goal is to make everyone feel welcome, safe and engaged in my classroom,” Keyser said. “I plan to use my platform to help students and colleagues have a voice. I will continue to advocate for them and their rights as long as I can.”