September 16, 2011

Chancellor Henderson names DCPS Teacher of the Year 

Math Teacher Shira Fishman of McKinley Technology High School to be Honored Sept. 19 at A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers

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Shira Fishman, a math teacher at McKinley Technology High School, has been named District of Columbia Public Schools Teacher of the Year, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced today.

Shira Fishman exemplifies the best DCPS has to offer, and the caliber of teacher we want in all our classrooms,” Chancellor Henderson said. “Because of her tireless efforts to ensure her students’ success, Ms. Fishman has helped them make over 20% gains on the district interim assessments and has closed the 17-point achievement gap between her students above and below the poverty line. In addition, her mastery of teaching is evident in the five perfect scores of 4.0 that she earned this year during each of her classroom observations.”

Fishman changed careers eight years ago to become a math teacher in DCPS after working as a mechanical engineer. Her knowledge of math and her passion for education have inspired and motivated her students to succeed, and her lessons keep them active and engaged.

“I was working 40-plus hours a week and coaching basketball after work at my local high school,” Fishman said. “Eventually, I realized that I got more joy out of my two hours of coaching than during the 40-plus hours I spent working in the engineering field.”

The first obstacle she faces when introducing a new group of students to her class is their fear of failure, Fishman said. By helping her students conquer the fear of being wrong, Fishman gives them the confidence to move forward, learning, asking questions, and becoming curious about the world around them.

Fishman will receive her award Monday, September 19, during A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The second-annual event, featuring Grammy Award-winning recording artist John Legend and other national and local celebrities, will honor more than 660 DCPS educators who earned ratings of Highly Effective under the IMPACT educator evaluation system.

The event will also recognize 33 educators, including Fishman, who have received 2011 teaching and leadership awards, which come with $10,000 or $5,000 prizes provided by David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group and chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Fishman is one of the seven Excellence in Teaching Award winners who will be honored that night, along with one Excellence in Leadership Award winner, twenty Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching winners and five principals receiving Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Leadership.

For more information about the award winners, including profiles of last year’s recipients, visit dcps.dc.gov. For more information about A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers, visit http://www.standingovationfordcteachers.org/.

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