Two Boston-area Teachers Win $25,000 Award

| The Boston Herald | Erica Moura

Two Boston-area teachers recognized for their outstanding classroom performance will be going home after the bell today with a $25,000 award.

“I was shocked,” said Zeke Phillips, a proud recipient, in front of his wide-eyed 5th grade class, who chanted “anything is possible.”

In it’s fourth year, the Fishman Prize, given by The New Teacher Project, honors the nation’s “most amazing” public school teachers in low-income districts.

The soft-spoken English teacher at Excel Academy in Chelsea was quick to point out that while the award symbolizes his growth as a teacher, it’s really about the kids.

“I’m really just proud and I feel like they’re deserving given the hard work they’ve put in everyday,” he said.

Nearly 800 teachers across the country applied for the prestigious monetary award and four were picked after writing essays, obtaining recommendations from colleagues, producing a video, a spontaneous classroom observation, and grueling interviews, according to the national nonprofit.

The monetary award also comes with a six-week residency in Washington D.C. to meet with education leaders and recipients will pen a paper on effective teaching practices that will be shared on the organization’s website as a tool for other teachers.

“I am going to spend it wisely,” Phillips said of his award check, looking to his family who was there for the surprise. “I’ll have to take some time to think.”

Erin Dukeshire, a 6th grade science teacher at Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Roxbury, received the same surprise at 1 p.m. Dukeshire is credited with helping Orchard Gardens earn its “turnaround school” status.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh made a quick appearance to surprise Dukeshire, saying: “This is a story of what’s positive in this school system.”

Blushing from the attention, Ms. Dukeshire said it was an honor to win the award because she’s often looked to past publications of TNTP to model her teaching style.

“The way that great teachers describe their teaching is really inspiring,” Dukeshire said. “I’ve read them and I’ve thought about how I could incorporate some of their ideas into my classroom and in many ways I have.”

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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