Four educators, hailing from Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, have been announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers as the finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Award. Here's the rundown, according to CCSSO's release:
Dorina Sackman teaches both 8th grade English for Speakers of Other Languages and Advancement Via Individual Determination (a college-ready program) at Westridge Middle School in Orlando, Fla. She has been a K-12 ESOL educator for more than 15 years in Florida and Massachusetts. "I educate children to communicate in English while celebrating every single one of their cultures," she said. "As a result, they too have become fueled by knowledge and armed with a voice." Sackman speaks five languages and is a frequent staff-development presenter.
Sean McComb is an English and AVID teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore, Md. He has seven years of experience and is serving as a staff-development teacher this year. "I work to engage my students and push them to achieve the excellence within them," said McComb. "I expect my students to leave my room better readers, writers, and thinkers, but I also hope they leave as better people." An adjunct instructor in education and writing at Towson University, he also works to help prepare teachers for their classrooms.
Ryan Devlin is an 11th grade English and 9-12th grade technology teacher at Brockway Area Junior/Senior High School in Brockway, Penn. He heads the school's English department and serves as the head cross country coach and the senior high gifted advisor. "Today's children will indeed become tomorrow's leaders, so we must teach them ways to find creative solutions to complex problems through collaborating with others and making the best use of technology," he said. Devlin helped write Pennsylvania's new Core Standards English Language Arts Curriculum and has won multiple grants for his innovative use of technology in the classroom.
Melissa Ann Porfirio is a 1st grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary in Springfield, Vir. As a cohort facilitator and committee chair for responsive classroom training and mentor to two first-year teachers, Porfirio is heavily involved in staff development and training. "I am committed to creating a classroom community that supports students' learning and maximum potential," she said.
A panel convened by CCSSO representing 15 national education organizations selected the four finalists from the 2014 state teachers of the year. The committee will personally interview each finalist before selecting the National Teacher of the Year, to be announced in April by CCSSO.
For further information about the National Teacher of the Year program, see our coverage of last year's winner, Jeffrey Charbonneau.