Thursday, May 1, 2014

And the Winner Is...

It was a black-tie gala event in Washington, D.C. held at the United States Institute of Peace.  Champagne flowed, musicians moved among the guests playing strings, and dinner featured house-made pasta presented with dollops of corn puree, roasted red pepper sauce, jumbo lump crab meat and arugula pesto for the first course.  Statler chicken breast marinated in herbs and white wine on a bed of portobello mushrooms, finished with lemon gremolata and paired with Bonterra Chardonnay 2011 was the main.

What was the occasion for such an event?  It was the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Recognition Dinner.  That's right.  It was an evening to celebrate teachers.  Since every teacher in the nation would not fit even in the cavernous USIP, each state sent one representative.  Indiana teachers, you were at table 21 along with the teachers from Wyoming and Oregon.

I was joined by my wife, Melissa, and it was, simply put, a fairy tale evening.  Yet it was also an inspiring evening.  We watched videos of the three finalists for National Teacher of the Year, and each one was motivating.  There was Melissa Porfirio of Virginia, Ryan Devlin of Pennsylvania, and Dorina Sackman of Florida.  Check them out and share them with your colleagues.  These are great teachers and remind me of the teachers leading our children throughout Indiana.

We heard from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other speakers who again challenged, inspired, and motivated all of us who are dedicated to the mission of guiding children on the shared journey of discovery.

And then Sean was introduced.  Sean McComb is the 2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year and the 2014 National Teacher of the Year.  As you will see from Sean's video, he is a dynamic young teacher who represents the best in U.S. education and will make an exciting ambassador across the country and around the world.

The evening was filled with inspiration and celebration, and that is how it should be.  Teachers inspire and must be celebrated for the work they do to ensure each community's legacy is secure and that the grand object of education continues.  I hope the amazing educators of Indiana can get a taste of how they were being honored.

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