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Teachers Recognized on the National Stage

CT 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger.

Connecticut 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger teaches fifth grade at Cromwell’s Woodside Intermediate School.

Teacher Appreciation Week, which starts Monday, helps bring needed attention to the dedication and hard work that teachers around the country engage in every day.

Last week that dedication and hard work received the recognition it deserves on the national stage when fifty-four teachers of the year from around the country, including Connecticut’s own Blaise Messinger, were honored in a ceremony at the White House. “Teaching is a profession and it should be treated like one,” President Obama said.

Messinger said his visit to Washington was “really amazing.” As he and the other teachers sat in the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office he said he realized, “There we were at the seat of power, and yet the power that educators have to change students’ lives is one of the most important powers anyone could have.”

National Teacher of the Year Emphasizes What’s Right With Education

This year’s national teacher of the year is a science teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington. Jeff Charbonneau is a National Board Certified Teacher and co-president of the Zillah Education Association.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “Jeff wants the best for his students and understands the importance of challenging them and engaging them. We’re proud to have Jeff as an NEA member and leader as he puts a great face to the millions of NEA members who bring their very best to their classrooms every day for their students.”

Education Week spoke with Charbonneau after the Teacher of the Year Ceremony at the White House.

[Charbonneau] described how when students approach him with a problem, he will first “lift them up and tell them what they did right.” He said it’s important to do the same in discussing education. “There’s so much going right in education, and we need to celebrate that. Fundamentally speaking, we’re a nation of succeeding schools.” He pointed to after-school programming and extended-learning time as evidence that students in the United States have unique opportunities to be successful.

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