School Choice & Charters

Charter School Educator Wins 2017 National Teacher of the Year

By Lesli A. Maxwell — April 20, 2017 1 min read

A teacher at a Boston charter school has been selected as the nation’s top teacher of the year, and is likely the first-ever charter educator chosen for the award.

Sydney Chaffee, who had been selected as the top teacher for Massachusetts, teaches freshman humanities at Codman Academy Charter Public School in the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston. She was one of four finalists in the running for the national honor given by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The Codman Academy charter school first opened in 2001 as a grades 9-12 high school and has since expanded to include grades K-8.

Chaffee was the first charter teacher selected for the top teaching award in Massachusetts, according to Mitchell Chester, the state’s education commissioner. And according to the CCSSO’s limited records, the group believes she is the first National Teacher of the Year to be named while teaching in a public charter school.

Since 2000, seven finalists for the teaching award taught in nontraditional schools, including alternative schools, magnet schools, and a private school, a CCSSO spokeswoman said.

To learn more about Chaffee’s teaching style and philosophy, check out her interview with Education Week Teacher Assistant Editor Madeline Will over at the Teaching Now blog.

Photo courtesy of CCSSO


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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.