Sheri Eastman, mathematics teacher at the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College, was recently selected as recipient of the 2014 Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher Award. (Courtesy of Prince George's County Public Schools)

A veteran educator who decided she wanted to become a teacher when she was in elementary school was given the 2014 Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher award during an employee recognition dinner Thursday night in Greenbelt.

Sheri Eastman, a math teacher at the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s County Community College, was one of hundreds of long-time teachers and employees who were saluted during the event.

Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell said Eastman’s “creativity and exceptional instruction in the classroom make her the ideal candidate for this award.”

Prior to moving to the Academy of Health Science in 2012, Eastman taught for 16 years at Surrattsville and Largo high schools.

Eastman’s colleagues at the academy said they nominated her not only for her experience and effectiveness in the classroom, but for her dedication, knowledge and ability to excite students about math.

“It’s remarkable how students tackle their assignment with excitement and enthusiasm” in Eastman’s class, said Kathy Richard Andrews, principal of the academy. “She has shown a level of dedication above and beyond the scope of her job and always exhibits motivation, dedication, trustworthiness and talent.”

The winner of the Christa McAuliffe award is selected by a committee of educators in Prince George’s. It is named after McAuliffe, who died in the January 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. McAuliffe taught in Prince George’s County from 1971 to 1978.

In addition to Eastman’s award, Maxwell and the Board of Education acknowledged employees with 30 to 45 years of service in the school system, and R. Owen Johnson, chairman of the Excellence in Education Foundation for PGCPS Inc., handed out a total of $140,000 in scholarships to 50 students.