Congratulations are in order for De’Shawn Washington.
On Nov. 3, the fourth-grade teacher at Maria Hastings Elementary School in Lexington, Massachusetts, was honored with the esteemed Teacher of the Year award. Washington has become the first Black male teacher in the state to receive the coveted honor.
On Friday, the Massachusetts Teachers Association announced the historic news on X, formerly Twitter. According to the post, Washington is a “proud member” of the Lexington Education Association, an organization that helps teachers obtain certification and advocates for equity and parity across all facets of the education system.
On Friday, Washington was honored with the state’s top award for educators in front of his students and faculty at Maria Hastings Elementary School. Students rallied and cheered as he accepted the historic accolade.
Washington thanked his precious students during his acceptance speech.
“You’ve made the work joyous for me over the last three or so years that I have been here. I’m grateful for every one of you, becuase I’ve learned so much from you,” the proud teacher gushed.
“You are the great teachers that I have been able to learn from.”
Washington has been teaching for seven years, according to the Lexington Observer. Before he joined the Maria Hastings family, the historic educator was an elementary school teacher in the Boston Public School system. Washington taught third-grade students at Young Achievers Science And Math Pilot School in the city. He was also an instructor at the University Of Massachusets, where he led workshops designed to help educational professionals pass the Massachusetts Tests for Education Licensure (MTEL), according to his LinkedIn Page.
In a statement, the passionate teacher vowed to keep elevating as a community leader, “teacher, advocate, student, and a cultivator of young changemakers.”
“It is my duty to continuously learn how to empower my students to not only master grade-level standards but to be upstanding individuals with the capacity to ignite change in their communities,” he added.
Thanks to his historic award, Washington will now serve as an ambassador of public education and he plans to share stories about the incredible work that teachers in Massachusetts are doing to develop and shape their students’ academic skills, the Lexington Observer noted. In April, the dedicated educator will travel to Washington to represent Massachusetts in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Washington is a doctoral student at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University studying Educational Leadership and Policy with a K-12 Concentration. In the future, he plans to use his doctorate to further expand pathways for educators to enter and stay in the teaching profession while supporting the next generation of changemakers in education.
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