Who will be the next National Teacher of the Year?
The four finalists for the National Football League (NFL) were determined setting the stage for the crowing of the next Super Bowl champion. Representing the American and National Football Conferences, these teams included Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons with the Ravens and 49ers winning their respective conferences and advancing to Super Bowl XLVII.
Just as the NFL prepares to determine and announce the next Super Bowl champion, the search is also on to determine and announce the next National Teacher of the Year. With the selection process being narrowed to four teacher finalists, the critical questions to be asked are: Who will be the next National Teacher of the Year? How will the candidate be chosen? What are the roles of the National Teacher of the Year?
The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program, the oldest and most prestigious national honors program, focuses public attention on excellence in teaching and is operated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Through a National Selection Committee representing 15 national education organizations, each State Teacher of the Year submits a written application including biographical and professional information, eight essays on topics ranging from personal teaching philosophy to the issues confronting education and letters of endorsement. The National Selection Committee meets in early December to choose four finalists from the nominations received. The committee also participates in personal interviews with finalists in Washington, D.C. in late February and selects the NTOY. In April, the National Teacher of the Year is introduced to the nation by the President of the United States.
A State Teacher of the Year candidate is an exceptionally knowledgeable, dedicated and skilled prekindergarten through twelfth grade teacher in any state-approved or accredited school in an active teaching status according to the CCSSO. The candidate should have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; play an active and useful role in the community and school and be poised, articulate and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.
The Council of Chief State School Officers recently announced the four finalists for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. They include Jeffrey Charbonneau, 9-12th grade chemistry, physics and engineering teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Wash.; Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship, a 10-11th grade English teacher at Rising Sun High School in North East, Md.; Alex S. Lopes, a prekindergarten special education teacher at Carol City Elementary School in Miami-Dade County, Fla. and Heidi Welch, a 9-12th grade music teacher at Hillsboro-Deering High School in Hillsboro, N.H. For additional information about the finalist, please click on this link (National Teacher of the Year Program).
During the appointed year of recognition, the National Teacher of the Year is released from classroom responsibilities to travel nationally and internationally as an advocate and spokesperson for the teaching profession. As an example, 2012 National Teacher of the Year recipient, Rebecca Mieliwocki traveled to China and Singapore to expand her professional knowledge, compare curriculum and resources and discuss policies.
As we wait to announce the 63rd National Teacher of the Year, we sincerely congratulate the finalists and give accolades to CCSSO, education state agencies, school districts and others for focusing public awareness on excellence in the teaching profession.
Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of three books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education” and “How to Eradicate Hazing.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]