Education, Teachers — January 19, 2014 at 7:47 am

4 Awesome Educators Are Finalists For 2014 National Teacher of the Year


As the 2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year, it has been an awesome opportunity thus far to serve the state of Michigan, my school and district, and all the educators and students around the state. I have had the opportunity to travel around the state to visit schools, learn together with other educators, and meet with policymakers to support student learning. Part of being a state teacher of the year means participating in the application process for the National Teacher of the Year. All 50 states and 8 extra-state U.S. territories have a state teacher of the year.

In addition to applying for the National Teacher of the Year position, this cohort of 58 of the top teachers in the U.S. go through a one-year training program focused on leadership in education. They meet as a cohort several times throughout the year around the country. Working with this brain trust of educators from all over the country will be a tremendous opportunity to share ideas and bring that back to Michigan schools. The organization that runs the National Teacher of the Year program, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced their selection for the finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year. These four outstanding teachers will travel to Washington D.C. in March for interviews for the position and a winner will be announced in April at a special ceremony at the White House. The state of Michigan has been tremendously supportive of my work, and those here at Eclectablog have been wonderful in helping me to work for Michigan students by sharing my expertise during this year of honor. I’d like to thank everyone who has been instrumental in making this year possible.

While I was not selected as a finalist, I am so proud to even be part of the same league as those who were. It has been an honor to be selected as one of the top 58 teachers in the nation, and I would like to introduce you to the top 4. These impressive individuals embody what all of us would want in our kids’ teachers. Without any further ado, I introduce to you the four educators who have been selected as finalists for 2014 National Teacher of the Year.

This press release is cross-posted from the CCSSO, originally posted here on January 15, 2014.


Today, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that educators from Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia are finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year spends a year representing educators across the country and advocating on behalf of the teaching profession. Outside of their classrooms, the four finalists focus on sharing their knowledge with colleagues through mentorship, staff development and training opportunities to help ensure every teacher is equipped to prepare all of their students for success.

The four finalists for National Teacher of the Year include:

Dorina M. Sackman, 2014 Florida Teacher of the Year
Dorina Sackman teaches both 8th grade English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Westridge Middle School in Orlando, Florida. She has been an ESOL educator for more than 15 years, in elementary, middle and high schools in Florida and Massachusetts. “My passion drives me,” Sackman said. “I educate children to communicate in English while celebrating every single one of their cultures. As a result, they too have become fueled by knowledge and armed with a voice.” Sackman encourages students to volunteer to help others outside of class through running 5Ks with her for local charities and projects like the student-run Unique Boutique, a donated clothing store for families in need. Sackman serves on the boards of the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools and The Florida Education Foundation. She is also an active member of the Sunshine State TESOL of Florida, the TESOL International Association, and the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Governor’s Shine Award and the Paul Harris Fellow Award. An avid traveler, who speaks five languages, Sackman is also a frequent presenter on staff development related to the Florida Standards and English language learners. A graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, New York with a Bachelor of Arts in French and International Economics, Sackman received a M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also holds a certification in French History, Art and Language from L’Institut Université d’Américain, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Twitter: @2014FloridaTOY

Sean McComb, 2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year
Sean McComb is a high school English and AVID teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland.  McComb has more than seven years of experience teaching, and is serving this year as a staff development teacher at the school. He also prepares other teachers for the classroom, as an adjunct instructor in education and writing at Towson University. “I work to engage my students and push them to achieve the excellence within them,” said McComb. “I expect my students to leave my room better readers, writers and thinkers, but I also hope they leave as better people.” McComb has won several awards, including being named a Capital One Community Champion and being recognized by Baltimore County for his outstanding leadership of the AVID College Preparatory Program. He belongs to several professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Association of School Business Officers, and the Maryland State Education Association. McComb holds a B.A. in English Literature and a Masters of Education in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds a Certificate in School Improvement Leadership from Goucher College.

Twitter: @Mr_McComb

Ryan Devlin, 2014 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year
Ryan Devlin is an 11th-grade English and 9- 12th-grade technology teacher at Brockway Area Junior/Senior High School in Brockway, Pennsylvania, where he has taught for seven years and serves as head of the English department. Devlin also serves as the school’s head cross country coach and the senior high gifted advisor. He is an active member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, National Education Association, and the Brockway Area Education Association.  Outside of school, he frequently speaks at state conferences and college campuses and is a cooperating teacher for Clarion University’s student teaching program.  Devlin also helped write Pennsylvania’s new Core Standards English Language Arts Curriculum and over the years has won multiple grants for his innovative use of technology in the classroom.  “Today’s children will indeed become tomorrow’s leaders, so we must teach them ways to find creative solutions to complex problems through collaborating with others and making the best use of technology,” Devlin said. With a B.A. in secondary English education from Waynesburg University and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from California University of Pennsylvania, Devlin also holds teaching certificates in English (grades 7-12), business/computers (grades K-12), and library science (grades K-12).

Twitter: @RyDev22

Melissa Ann Porfirio, 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year
Melissa Ann Porfirio is a first grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia with more than eight years’ teaching experience. “My personal mission is to better understand the whole child,” Porfirio said. “I am committed to creating a classroom community that supports students’ learning and maximum potential.” A member of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, she has received several awards, including the Virginia Teachers of Promise Award and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Recognition of Excellence. Porfirio is involved in staff development training through her role as cohort facilitator and committee chair for responsive classroom training, and as a mentor to two first-year teachers. She is a graduate of The Catholic University of America with a B.A. in social work, and also holds an M.A. of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

About the National Teacher of the Year Program

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Every year states select a teacher of the year to participate in the National Teacher of the Year Program. A panel convened by CCSSO, representing 15 national education organizations, chose the four finalists from the 2014 state teachers of the year. The selection committee will personally interview each finalist before selecting the National Teacher of the Year, to be announced in April by CCSSO. The President of the United States recognizes the National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony.

Learn more about the National Teacher of the Year program here.

Join the conversation about the National Teacher of the Year program with #NTOY14.