Teaching Profession

Baltimore English Teacher McComb Named 2014 National Teacher of the Year

By Ross Brenneman — April 30, 2014 2 min read
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The Council of Chief State School Officers has named high school English teacher Sean McComb, of Maryland, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year.

A roaring applause greeted the announcement at Washington’s Fairfax Hotel, where the CCSSO had convened a breakfast for the State Teachers of the Year. The announcement came via the CBS morning news program “This Morning.”

McComb, one of the youngest educators to ever win (he’s 30 years old), teaches at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore. He is currently in his eighth year of teaching.

In addition to teaching English, McComb also heads his school’s AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a mentor-based, college-readiness program. He is also active in leading student service projects and has been closely involved in cultural-exchange programs in his district.

“I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed,” McComb said in an interview. “It’s a wonderful day, a great opportunity for a lot of special people in my life to share in this moment, and it’s also the beginning of a new journey.”

McComb is the 12th English teacher to be named Teacher of the Year since the honor started in 1952. (However, some of the past winners haven’t had clear-cut subject areas.) He’s joined in Washington by his wife, who is also a teacher, and his 8-month-old son.

McComb gives ample credit to his school for the opportunities that have come his way.

“We have administrators who have facilitated a lot of teacher leadership and opportunities to take a lead in helping to care for kids,” he said. “We’re really focused on children at Patapsco and I got inspired and motivated by what my fellow colleagues are doing every single day.”

An English teacher had a 50 percent chance of winning the award; also nominated were high school English and technology teacher Ryan Devlin, of Brockway, Pa.; 8th grade ESOL teacher Dorina Sackman, of Orlando, Fla.; and Melissa Ann Porfirio, a first grade teacher in Springfield, Va.

McComb was selected from the four finalists by a panel convened by the CCSSO that represents 15 national education organizations.

“My teaching is built on the belief that relationships and engagement can turn challenges into opportunities for excellence for all students,” McComb said in a statement released by the CCSSO. “As we embrace that truth, we help awaken students to their full potential and the possibility to live out the American dream.”

All of the state teachers of the year, along with McComb, will be honored by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony Thursday.

Below is a Teaching Channel video profile of McComb. Videos of the other finalists can be seen here.

Image: English teacher Sean McComb talks with his students at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore. —Baltimore County Public Schools-File

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.