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Honoring Teachers of the Year

On Tuesday I had the honor of attending the National Teacher of the Year ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, where 55 state teachers of the year and National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer were honored by President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Each teacher had a chance for a photo op with the president before joining the stage at the Rose Garden to be honored for the work they do each day to ensure great student learning.,

As the president gave his remarks at the ceremony, I waited to hear him mention professional development. For me his most important statement was "the most effective teachers are those who are constantly striving to get better." I agree with this statement one hundred percent, and this is why we advocate for professional development grounded in a process of continuous improvement and in teachers working and learning together to improve their practice This is the professional development that all teachers deserve, and we must ensure they continue to have access to it.

Our national teacher of the year, Michelle Shearer, is an AP chemistry teacher from Urbana High School in Maryland. In her passionate and powerful speech, Michelle talked about her students, her colleagues, her family, and her community, and how each contributed to her success as a teacher. She shared responsibility and success. One more example of what it will take if this country is to achieve its goals for all students.

As listened to Michelle's speech and looked at the 55 teachers behind her, I thought of the thousands behind them that equally deserve recognition. And I am sure if any one of them had been selected as the national teacher of the year he or she would have recognized others who helped them achieve the recognition. This is a profession that demands that we collaborate, that we continue to improve, that we acknowledge mistakes and share successes. As the president said, the future of our nation depends on teachers, and working and learning together there is nothing they cannot accomplish.

Stephanie Hirsh
Executive Director, Learning Forward

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