IamA State Teacher of the Year! AMA!
Being named your State's Teacher of the Year is a life changing experience. In a heartbeat you are picked up out of your old life and dropped into a new life. This year I have been honored at the White House, met the President, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Secretary Arne Duncan and all of my state's Senators and Congresspeople.
It is especially humbling to be the first Special Education teacher in my state to win this award. Because of that I have been able to be a voice for so many who have never had a voice before.
I have made more than 200 appearances, travelled close to 40,000 miles and have met the biggest movers and shakers in the educational world. I have served on a national panel at NNSTOY and was honored to be asked to speak at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. For an openly gay teacher to stand at the base of that statue and speak of the rights of our our at-risk and gay youth will be a moment I will never forget.
Combining my Teacher of the Year Award with my NEA Foundation Excellence in Education Award and my National Association of Special Education Teachers Award for Outstanding Special Education Teacher I have become one of the most recognized voices in Special Education. To go from a teacher in a tiny program to becoming a voice for so many is truly inspiring.
Because of this I have been asked to speak to many college and university education programs. This is truly one of the best parts of the year. What an honor to speak to and inspire the future educators of America. I always give as much time as possible at my events for Q&A and I love the questions that come my way.
Since my year is wrapping up, I thought a round of Q&A on reddit, ( with future redducators) would be a terrific end to my "year of service." I will speak candidly but remember I am the representative of 40,000 teachers and education in my state and must always remain a gentleman.