BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County Public Schools has announced its Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year.

Heather Carnaghan, a 13-year teaching veteran and eighth-grade social studies teacher at Monarch Global Academy Public Contract School, has been named as the recipient.

“I just want to say that the years and years and years that I have worked with educators like everyone in this room is what made it possible to be in this spot,” Carnaghan said at the surprise announcement at Thursday’s 32nd annual Excellence in Education Awards in Anne Arundel County.

RELATED: Baltimore City Schools Name 2018 Teacher Of The Year

Carnaghan, who is a National Board Certified Teacher, is the first charter or contract school teacher to win the award, which has been given annually since 1987. She will compete for Maryland State Teacher of the Year, an honor that will be announced in the fall.

One parent called Carnaghan “the teacher that parents hope and dream of for our children,” according to AACPS.

The school system says Carnaghan “spends significant time mentoring students and staff to build a great sense of community.”

In her four years at Monarch, Carnaghan has taught kindergarten, third grade, and eighth grade, AACPS said in a statement.

“In each grade level, she has consistently demonstrated her effectiveness as a teacher through her strong example, tireless work ethic, and high expectations for her students, fellow staff members, and herself,” Monarch Principal Donna O’Shea wrote in her nomination of Carnaghan.

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