English language arts teacher Danielle Charbonneau of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School on Tuesday afternoon was named 2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.
Charbonneau is the first ever Martha’s Vineyard teacher to receive the Commonwealth’s highest honor for educators in the program’s 61 years of existence. Additionally, she automatically becomes Massachusetts’ nominee for the National Teacher of the Year award.
“Ms. Charbonneau is a caring and committed teacher who supports students at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in a meaningful way, preparing them for success in and out of the classroom,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. “We are proud to recognize her as the 2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.”
Charbonneau is an 18 year veteran teacher, seven of which she has taught in her school’s alternative education program, of which she is currently the program coordinator. The program is designed to engage students who were not thriving in the traditional high school structure. In addition, Charbonneau is the co-advisor to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s Gender Sexuality Alliance and is a member of the school’s Race-Equity and Cultural Proficiency Group.
“Ms. Charbonneau knows that learning starts with a student,” said state Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “Her commitment to adapting school to students’ needs has prepared her students for success in the classroom and beyond.”
The selection process for the award began with a call for nominations from administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders in January. After a review of the nominees, a pool of 12 semifinalists were selected which was then narrowed down to five, and then two finalists. Finally, Riley selected Charbonneau as the winner.
“There is immeasurable value in public education, but we need to be dynamic to be relevant. Students have every right to expect that they will encounter and explore new ideas,” Charbonneau wrote in her application. “We need to look closely at how to best help this very precarious generation, be honest with ourselves about what is working and what just preserves the status-quo, and be bold enough to make the changes that need to happen in our classrooms and in our schools.”