Six Educators Selected as Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Finalists

MALDEN - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that six educators from across the Commonwealth have been selected as finalists in the 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Program. The recipient of this year's top state honor for educators will be named on National Teacher Day, which is May 8, 2012.

The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Program is administered by the Patrick-Murray Administration in partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets. The program annually recognizes excellence in teaching across the Commonwealth by selecting a teacher who exemplifies the dedication, commitment and positive contributions of educators statewide. The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the state's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program.

"Teachers are the gateway to success for young learners," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I congratulate these six outstanding teachers for their deep commitment to their profession and the well-being of all students and thank all of our teachers for their work every day to help our students grow."

"Massachusetts's teachers are delivering high quality instruction to students across the Commonwealth each and every day," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The state's Teacher of the Year Program annually recognizes a single Massachusetts educator to represent the hard work and accomplishments of the entire profession. I look forward to naming this year's recipient on May 8th."

"I commend these six individuals and our teachers across the state for their hard work to empower young learners to develop into the future leaders of our Commonwealth, our nation and our world," said Education Secretary Paul Reville.

The six finalists are:

    Scott Balicki, a Chemistry teacher at Boston Latin School in Boston;

    Maureen Knowlton, a Special Education teacher at Millis Middle School in Millis;

    Paula Plock, an Elementary Education teacher at Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown;

    John Scopelleti, an English teacher at South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School in Hanover; 

    Alison Spade, an Elementary Education teacher at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School in Boston; and

    Kathleen Turner, a French teacher at Sharon High School in Sharon.

The selection process for the 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year began last fall with a call for nominations. An initial review of each nominated teacher's written application led to the selection of semifinalists, who then submitted additional supporting material. The six finalists who have been chosen will now be interviewed by an independent review panel of experts, including past Massachusetts Teachers of the Year. That panel will then recommend one finalist to be named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year by Commissioner Chester.

In addition to being named the 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year on May 8th, this year's recipient will join other outstanding educators, including the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the Milken Family Foundation Award winner for Massachusetts, the finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists, to be honored at an awards ceremony on June 18, 2012.