Thursday, June 16, 2011

Excellence in Teaching Celebration

     Last night, the Bruins won the seventh game in the series to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston.  It was a great hockey game and all across New England, folks are celebrating and rightly so. Today I attended  a different type of celebration at the State House. It was a celebration to honor some all-star educators. From various speakers we learned about the achievements and dedication of these teachers to their students and to their communities. The media was not there to cover this inspiring, positive story, so let me tell you who was honored. Jessica Kodys of the Milford Public Schools was honored as the 2011 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year. Michael Flynn of the Southampton Public Schools and Wai Chin Ng of the Boston Public Schools were the Massachusetts Finalists for the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. The 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Adam William Gray, a mathematics teacher from Monument High School in Boston, was also honored at this wonderful event.
     Why was I at this luncheon? Well, back in 1999 I had the amazing honor of being named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. Roni Gold of the Springfield Public Schools is this year's latest recipient becoming the thirty-ninth Massachusetts Milken Educator. As former recipients, we are all invited to this event, and today ten of us were there to pose for this family photo.
Roni is seated in the middle of the front row. Also in the photo is Deborah Walker (second row, fourth from the left) who is the Director of Educator Recognition Programs for the Massachusetts Department of Education and in the back row on the left is journalist and television host, Josh Binswanger.
     Sue Pandiani in pink in the front row wanted me to include a piece about what happened after the celebration. Sue and I had a terrible time trying to leave the State House. We walked around and around the building searching for an exit. Though we found plenty of exits, each one had a large sign indicating not to attempt to use that exit. We were beginning to feel a bit like Charlie on the MBTA. Finally, we approached a young man who was busy texting, and we asked him how we could find our way out. He regarded us dimly with eyes rolled up to the ceiling and said, "Just look for an EXIT sign." This set us both to laughing as we had had no problem finding exit signs and indeed the exits themselves, but we just couldn't seem to find an EXIT that would actually let us exit. Eventually, another person did give us directions, and we were finally able to exit an EXIT. Now lest you think that Sue and I are a bit dim, we discovered that though there are twenty-two exits from the State House, post 9/11, only two can actually be used.

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