A Dorchester teacher is in contention to be named national Teacher of the Year.
Sydney Chaffee, who teaches freshman humanities at Codman Academy, was named Massachusetts’ Teacher of the Year in May. On Monday, organizers from the Council of Chief State School Officers announced she was one of four finalists for the national honor.
Chaffee, who has taught at the charter school since 2007, has come to be recognized for her unyielding belief that any student can learn if the appropriate support system is in place, according to award organizers.
She also has distinguished herself with her conviction that education can be a transformative tool to inspire students in the fight for social justice, organizers said.
Chaffee also leads Codman’s humanities department and coordinates with students to organize a weekly, all-school assembly.
When school is out for the season, she manages The Summer Theatre Institute, a five-week program in which students put on a play at one of the Huntington Theatre Company’s venues.
“Ms. Chaffee’s dedication to her students and willingness to lead both inside and outside of the classroom are representative of the Commonwealth’s strong teaching force. I am proud to congratulate her on this well-deserved national recognition,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.
The other finalists for the national award are Megan Gross, a special education teacher in San Diego; Chris Gleason, a music teacher in Sun Prairie, Wis.; and Athanasia Kyriakakos, an art teacher in Baltimore.
The winner of the award will be announced in the spring after Chaffee and her fellow finalists undergo a series of interviews with the selection committee.
In addition to being named the national Teacher of the Year, the winner will be recognized by the president, a tradition that goes back to 1952.