National Teacher of the Year honored at the White House
By Kimberleigh Doyle
Education Briefing Manager
Last month, on April 23, U.S. President Barack Obama honored Rebecca Mieliwocki, a seventh-grade English teacher from Luther Burbank High School in Burbank, California, as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan presented Rebecca with an engraved glass apple during a special ceremony in the East Room of the White House. President Obama stressed the importance of good teachers, and Rebecca spoke about her passion for teaching and her strong belief in maximizing the potential of each of her students.
It was an incredible week for the 54 teachers of the year from each of the 50 states, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. They too were honored at the White House, where they shook hands with and talked to President Obama. They also attended a reception at Vice President Biden’s home, toured the Smithsonian Museums, engaged in discussions with members of the Department of Education, enjoyed a formal dinner at the new U.S. Institute of Peace and participated in a hands-on workshop at SMART’s office in Arlington, Virginia. At this workshop, they were introduced to SMART Notebook 11 collaborative learning software, the SMART Response VE interactive response system and Bridgit conferencing software. The state teachers of the year collaborated in grade and subject level groups to create SMART Notebook lessons that they could take back to their classrooms.
SMART has sponsored the Council for Chief State School Officers National Teacher of the Year program for the past 12 years. Each year, SMART presents each state Teacher of the Year with a generous product package. This year’s package includes a SMART Board 885ix interactive whiteboard system or SMART Document Camera, a SMART Response PE system, a SMART Slate wireless slate and a software package that includes SMART Notebook Math Tools, 3D Tools for SMART Notebook software, SMART Sync classroom management software, Bridgit conferencing software and a subscription to SMART Response VE. In addition, the teachers receive two full-day professional development workshops (the first one took place in Dallas, Texas in January 2012) to familiarize them with their new SMART products and discuss ideas for integrating them into their classrooms. The teachers also receive additional training credit to continue their professional development in the coming years.
Congratulations to the 2012 state teachers of the year and to all of the outstanding teachers around the world who are doing an amazing job preparing their students for the future. Thank you for all the hard work, dedication, and passion you put into making a real difference in the lives of your students.