Silver Chips Online

Fillman, Sarah

By Ya Zhou, Online Connections Editor & Online Copy Editor
June 23, 2007
Name: Sarah Fillman
Department: English
Year started: 2002
Classes taught: On-level/Honors English 10, Honors English 12
Education: B.A. in English Education (Columbia Union College), Masters in Human Development (University of Maryland)
Previous jobs: Filed papers for insurance company, sold knives, taught gymnastics
Extracurricular Activities: Exercise, nutrition, shopping, making others feel good

Sarah Fillman stands in front of her fifth period class, flourishing her arms as she recites with a wretched grimace, "Et tu, Brute?" The fervor in her voice reverberates across the room. Fillman's presence resonates as an enthusiastic English teacher as well as a passionate artist.
One of Sarah Fillman's many head shots in her pursuit for fame.

<i>Photo courtesy of Fillman</i>
One of Sarah Fillman's many head shots in her pursuit for fame. Photo courtesy of Fillman

Fillman began her teaching career as student teacher under Blair ninth grade English teacher Carole Tomayko in 2002. A year later, Fillman formally taught ninth grade summer school at Blair. Since then has been teaching tenth grade and twelfth grade English classes at Blair.

Teaching is to Fillman as water is to fish essential. "I love learning. I've learned more as a teacher than as a student," Fillman claims with a quick smile. She enjoys learning about human nature through her students, especially when they "exhibit passions about reading and writing; that's the best part," she says. She admits she inherited her care for students. "I had a couple of teachers in high school who cared about us. That's my inspiration," Fillman states with conviction.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in English Education at Columbia Union College, Fillman continued her graduate education at the University of Maryland. She received her Masters degree in Human Development less than a month ago. She will continue to work at Blair, but hopes to earn another Masters or doctorate in Psychology.

While busy studying, Fillman also gained working experience. In her high school and college years, she worked for a grocery store and filed papers at an insurance company." I waited tables a lot," she laughs. "I've tried to sell knives, but I'm not a salesperson at all. I'm not very pushy." She also taught gymnastics in college, which she continues to do at Blair as coach of the cheerleading team.

Aside from teaching, Fillman is involved with many creative and artistic activities. Fillman's mantra: "I love making people feel good about themselves." Not only does she plan to go into exercise therapy, which combines her two passions, exercise and psychology, but she also loves making others beautiful. Fillman is part of a group of friends who take turns cutting each other's hair to revive their artistic beauty, and of course, to hang out. "I love doing make-up and cutting hair. I love making jewelry, it's a stress reliever and a way to create something," she says.

Then there is cheerleading, for which Fillman is widely known at Blair. Fillman started gymnastics at a young age, cart-wheeling around the house, until her mother took her to tumbling classes when she was ten. "My mom always said I came out of the womb cart-wheeling," Fillman reminisces. She later joined cheerleading in fifth grade and also cheered in middle school. She continued to cheer in high school, and in college, Fillman joined the nation's leading acrobatic cheerleading team, the AcroAirs of Columbia Union College. Although she did not compete in college, she toured the nation on weekends with AcroAirs in exhibitions at NBA halftimes, soccer game half times and various community events.

After arriving at Blair and watching her first Blair pep rally, Fillman gave the cheerleading coach, Roxanne Fus, her AcroAirs promo video. Shortly after, Fillman became the varsity head co-coach in the fall of 2004.

Fillman wants to pass down her love for cheerleading and hard work to all her cheerleaders and students. "People have this idea about cheerleading that it's just about wearing a cute skirt, [but] it's a lot of work," Fillman says. In fact, Fillman recently introduced her summer training program to her cheerleaders, which involves a daily workout routine throughout the summer.

Fillman is also very excited for the upcoming summer, when she will take twelve Blair students to Greece. Journalism teacher Anne Cullen was the coordinator of the trip, but could not make the trip. A distraught cheerleader who planned to go went to Fillman for help, who promptly took over. Recruiting students for the trip was difficult. "I would hound them," Fillman admits proudly.

Well then, she isn't that bad at being a salesperson.