Last week, I was honored to help present Roseann Maurantonio with a Milken National Educator Award. She is an elementary teacher at Rosendale Elementary School in Niskayuna, NY. You can catch a glimpse of me at the end of the video, holding the big check. Obviously, she was shocked and overwhelmed with receiving such a great honor. I too was just as shocked and overwhelmed when I won in 2001.
I was an 8th grade math teacher who was entering my seventh year of teaching. I consider that a rookie as I am now in my 21st year of teaching. I was just a guy who loved working with the students and staff of Newport Middle High School in Newport NH. Then, in the fall of 2001, these people show up to our small rural school and award me this prestigious award. To this day, I still ask myself "Why?". Why me, out of the thousands of educators across the country? Why me out of the many colleagues in Newport who I considered to me more deserving than me? And why so early in my career - don't I need to prove myself more? Don't I need to pay my dues?
I still don't know why, but I do know that the award has given me a great power. And as the quote goes: "With great power comes great responsibility." As a Milken Educator, I feel a responsibility to continue to do my best for my students and for my colleagues. Sometimes, my family wishes that wasn't the case as I attend many games, performances, meetings. But they know and I know it is what I enjoy doing.
For me, teaching isn't a job. It is a lifestyle. I look forward to seeing and working with my students and colleagues. I know Roseann feels the same. I hope all teachers fee that way as well.