The World Affairs Council (WAC) presents their 2013 World Educator of the Year award to National Board Certified Teacher Noah Zeichner this evening at Town Hall Seattle. He will be honored alongside Mercy Corps founder Dan O’Neill, WAC’s World Citizen of the Year. Though I do not have the pleasure of attending tonight’s celebration, I have been fortunate to work, learn, and grow alongside Noah in his role as a teacherpreneur for the past 3 years.
This weekend’s Academy Awards got me thinking that celebrities shouldn’t get to have all the fun. If I had the honor of introducing Noah tonight, here’s what I might say…
Our next award winner needs a formal introduction, but he shouldn’t.
His name should be recognized by 3.2 million of his teaching colleagues across the country as a standard-bearer for the profession that makes all others possible. His influence should not be counted in the hundreds of students on his class roster, but in the millions across the country who are the leaders of today—not tomorrow, as they have previously been led to believe.
He is well-known in his school community, but he is not well-known enough for leadership that transcends his classroom and school, this city, state, and continent.
To his colleagues he is an expert practitioner, a leader, a confidante. To his students he is a turning point, a catalyst, and an occasional but essential kick in the pants. He asks hard questions, listens thoughtfully, leads methodically, and builds consensus by fostering relationships, honoring his commitments, and exercising intelligent humility.
Tonight’s next honoree represents a paradox of the modern teaching profession. He is the best of what teaching represents today while directly challenging the antiquated dogmas that keep the profession stuck in the early 20th century.
He’ll be the first to tell you that he is no exception—the majority of his colleagues want to lead beyond their classrooms. Our task as a community of those who give a damn: forge a pathway for the country’s best teachers to lead education without leaving the classroom.
Ladies and gentleman, I am honored to present the World Affair’s Council 2013 World Educator of the Year: Noah Zeichner.