And the 2013 Teacher of the Year is…

Apr 23, 2013
…high school science teacherJeff Charbonneau, fromZillah, Washington! Here’s what you need to know about the 63rd National Teacher of the Year (aside from that fact that he’s a pro when it comes to teaching): Charbonneau has been teaching for 12 years, he teaches engineering, physics, and chemistry, and he’s the founder and director of the Zillah Robot Challenge, an awesome robotics competition for students. Congratulations to Jeff for his outstandingachievement. At Scholastic, we know there is nothing more valuable than a great teacher. That said, I thought it would be interesting to ask mycolleagueswho they would nominate for this distinguished award, if they could. It seems like everyone has had that one incredible teacher, who was maybe a little quirky, a littlefierce or a little crazy, but led the classroom with gusto, made you laugh,think, and question what you were learning. Most important, this person taught in a way that made you feel like you were being lifted right out of your chair. I’m lucky enough to have had many teachers that fit thisdescription. Some I am still in touch with and some I’ve only vague recollections of, but they each contributed to my education in a meaningful way. If I had to nominate one of them for teacher of the year, it would be Mr. Dougherty, my 11th and 12th grade English teacher. He was wonderful in so many ways, but there was one thing he did that has stayed with me since: he read to my English class out loud. On the floor, in a circle, in the middle of our classroom. At least once a week we’d pile onto the tiny rug in our classroom (even the giant football playerswouldcram on), and he’d read to us from whatever book we were reading as a class. I loved it. Lauren would nominate her8th grade English Teacher, Ms. Russell. “I fell in love with writing right around the time I had her as a teacher. She really encouraged me, made learning fun, and went above and beyond to support my desire to learn,” says Lauren. Alex would nominate herEnglish teacher (sensing a theme here?) from middle school, Ms. Crain. “She is a teacher I will never forget,” says Alex. “Not only was she an excellent English teacher, she also encouraged me to join the yearbook team, a club she oversaw. She fostered my love for writing and taking photos, which I carried on through high school—eventually becoming the editor-in-chief of the yearbook. Today, I am fortunate to still be in touch with Ms. Crain.” Suzanne wouldnominate Mrs. Newman, her fifth-grade teacher, even though she’s no longer with us. “Mrs. Newman was extremely kind and often read aloud to us, which was THE BEST THING EVER,” says Suzanne. “I can still remember her reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Almanzo’s family worked very hard all day, and they had corresponding appetites. Hearing about the apple turnovers andpancakes with maple syrup and freshly-churned butter always made me hungry. My siblings and many of our friends also had—and loved—Mrs. Newman. As a result, whenever her niece, one of my best friends, comes to a party at our house she’s treated like a celebrity.” Who would you nominate for Teacher of the Year? Share it with us here and on Twitter, using #ThankaTeacher! image viacristiancarrara