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For Immediate Release
Monday, January 9, 2017
Contact:Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115

Massachusetts Educator Named Finalist for National Teacher of the Year

Boston charter school teacher is one of four finalists

MALDEN - The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that the Council of Chief State School Officers has named Sydney Chaffee of Codman Academy Charter Public School one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Chaffee became the 2017 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in May, and she is the sixth Massachusetts teacher of the year to become a national finalist.

"Ms. Chaffee's dedication to her students and willingness to lead both inside and outside of the classroom are representative of the Commonwealth's strong teaching force," said Governor Charlie Baker. "I am proud to congratulate her on this well-deserved national recognition."

Ms. Chaffee, a ninth grade humanities teacher, has taught English language arts and social studies at Codman Academy in Dorchester since 2007.

"It's a joy to be recognized for doing something I love," Ms. Chaffee said. "I am honored and humbled to be among the finalists, and I look forward to learning from all of the state teachers of the year."

"Sydney Chaffee exemplifies the broad and deep talent pool of teachers in the Commonwealth," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "It is an honor to have a Massachusetts teacher among the four national finalists."

Ms. Chaffee, a Dorchester resident, has sought to grow as an educator while remaining in the classroom, and her responsibilities include mentoring student teachers; serving as humanities department chair; coordinating a weekly, student-led, all-school assembly; and coordinating Codman Academy's partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company. She believes that all students can learn with appropriate supports and challenges and that education is a transformative tool for social justice.

In 2013, Ms. Chaffee worked as a consultant on EL Education's curriculum design project, collaborating with educators from across the country to write eighth grade English language art curricula. Since their publication, these curricula have been downloaded more than 3 million times and implemented by over 1,000 schools nationwide. Ms. Chaffee is a member of ESE's Teacher Advisory Cabinet and is a Teach Plus policy fellow. She holds a bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a master's from Lesley University.

The other three finalists are Chris Gleason, an instrumental music teacher and band director in Sun Prairie, Wis.; Megan Gross, a special education teacher in San Diego; and Athanasia Kyriakakos, an artist and teacher in Baltimore, Md.

The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and presented by Voya Financial, Inc., identifies exceptional teachers nationwide, celebrates their effective work in and outside of the classroom, amplifies their voices and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national levels. The National Teacher of the Year will be announced this spring after the four finalists have in-person interviews with the selection committee.

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Last Updated: January 9, 2017
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