Meet Sean McComb, 2014 National Teacher of the Year

Sean McComb, an English teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts  in Baltimore County, was named 2014 National Teacher of the Year on Wednesday. McComb, along with all 2014 State Teachers of the Year, will be recognized by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House on May 1, 2014.

The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers CCSO).

“An immense ‘thank you’ to family, friends, students and colleagues who have contribute to my life. This is an incredible blessing,” McComb tweeted upon hearing the news.

At Patapsco, McComb, a member of the National Education Association and the Maryland State Education Association focuses on creating critical readers, strong writers, and judicious thinkers.  As coordinator of the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, helping hone student work habits and academic skills. The AVID program has thrived under McComb’s leadership. In the AVID program’s last two graduating classes at the school, 98 percent of students were admitted to four-year colleges. This program, paired with a dedicated faculty and administration, helped Patapsco, for the first time in its 50-year history, receive recognition as a top high school from The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. McComb also teaches the value of service, working on projects with students that help feed the hungry in the community.

It’s very challenging to meet all the students where they are,” says Patapsco principal Craig Reed, “and yet expect great things out of them. Sean tends to really embrace that struggle.”

“Our schools must provide the opportunity for any individual to become educated and economically competitive,” McComb said.  “My teaching is built on the belief that relationships and engagement can turn challenges into opportunity for excellence for all students.  As we embrace the truth, we create citizens who can live the American dream.”

“On behalf of the National Education Association and its 3 million members, I congratulate Sean McComb on being named this year’s National Teacher of the Year,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Sean inspires his students to realize their potential and achieve their dreams, and he serves as a great example of how teachers transform the lives of their students every day. Sean’s ability to instill a love of learning among his students and motivate them to reach for the stars is an inspiration to all teachers nationwide.”

“I was lucky to have some teachers who really invested in me during my sophomore and junior year,” McComb recalls. “They showed me how academics could be a pathway to understanding the world that I didn’t have before and that I was capable of more than I was expecting in myself. They showed me who I could be. I’ve been lucky to be able to repay that to some students here at Patapsco.”

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