So, I dropped by the East Wing…
Below is the wonderful letter that nominated me. I am truly humbled and feel fortunate to have gone. I realize that the school I teach at and the staff I teach with is a huge part of what got me the invite…
From: Hoover, JoLisa [mailto:JoLisa.Hoover@ed.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 1:11 PM
To: Rooney, Sarah <SRooney@mathforamerica.org>
Subject: Thank you teachers
As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, the US Department of Education asked for nominations of amazing educators across the United States. You were one of the educators nominated as a person who is influencing lives in your classroom and beyond. On behalf of the Department, we want to thank you for your service and commend you for your excellence. While Teacher Appreciation Week may be over, our nation’s appreciation towards teachers should not be confined to one week and we want to take this time to say thank you. In your anonymous nomination, we asked why you are an excellent educator and received this response:
Michael Paoli is being nominated to attend the US Department of Education teacher celebration event because of his innovative teaching practices and ways that he connects with his students. With over 16 years of teaching experience, Michael promotes exploration and discussion in his classroom. He received a Fund for Teachers grant this past summer, where he traveled to France and the UK to investigate aquaculture. Most notably, he designed and constructed a self-sustaining aquaponics system with his 7th and 8th grade math and science students, where they debated the ethics behind eating the fish they raised in tanks in class. Due to this work, Michael arranged to have his students (and himself) present a TEDx talk about aquaponics, which is an extremely exciting opportunity. In addition to his excellence in the classroom, Michael is an MƒA Master Teacher and participates in the MƒA community through attending MƒA courses, ranging in topic from non-routine problem solving to viewing microscopic creatures aboard the BioBus, to keep learning and growing in his career. Michael received his B.Sc from the University of Toronto, B.Ed. from Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, and M.Ed. from Hunter College.
I want to thank you for being a dedicated educator and also invite you to read the letter below from Secretary King thanking teachers. If you are part of our listserve, you most likely received this letter but if you aren’t part of our listserve, we would love to have you join by signing up here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/subscriber/new?topic_id=USED_34
This week, our nation recognizes and honors teachers across the country for their tireless efforts on behalf of our students, everywhere from small towns and suburbs, to rural communities and Tribal lands, to big cities. Teachers have one of the most challenging and fulfilling jobs — literally shaping and changing lives.
If you are a teacher, or if you know one, you know the long hours and hard work that go into designing challenging lessons, guiding students and providing feedback, engaging with parents and families, collaborating with colleagues, reflecting on instruction, and staying abreast of research.
But much of the work you do also is about the intangible — it’s about fostering that almost indescribable, and yet unmistakable, spark between you and your students. It’s there when you see the potential in every student who walks through your door, even when he may not yet recognize his own gifts.
For me, the importance of teachers is personal. My own teachers saved my life providing me with the love, support, safety, and skills that laid the foundation for the many opportunities I’ve been fortunate to have throughout my career in education.
Teaching is truly the profession that launches every career. Thank you for sharing with your students your passion for world languages, music, literature, math, science, theater, history, and myriad other subjects. Thank you for empowering our youth and for furthering social justice by never being satisfied until every child has access to an excellent education.
We understand that teacher voice is a crucial part of conversations that impact your classroom and your profession, and we are committed to ensuring you are supported so you can do your best work on behalf of our children every day.
Today and every day, we celebrate and thank you for the vital role that you play in supporting students and strengthening the future of our nation.
With immense gratitude,
John B. King, Jr.
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education