JP’s Gavin Smith Honored as Finalist for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year by Rep. Malia

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During a State House ceremony on June 21, state Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) honored three Bostonians for excellence in teaching.

Representative Malia (D-11th Suffolk) honors Gavin Smith of Jamaica Plain, Andrew Manning of Roxbury, and Aaron Osowiecki of Roslindale, during a State House ceremony of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Awards.

The ceremony honored Jamaica Plain's Gavin Smith, Roslindale's Aaron Osowiecki and Andrew Manning of Roxbury, for their excellence in teaching as members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Aaron Osowiecki of Roslindale received the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Since 1999, Osowiecki has been teaching physics at Boston Latin School. Intent on shifting the classroom towards the students, Osowiecki led the development on Energizing Physics, a progressive physics curriculum used at BLS and other schools throughout the country. He attained National Board Certification in 2011 and was selected as the National Science Teacher Association (NSA) 2016 Shell Science Teaching Award recipient.

Gavin Smith of Jamaica Plain was recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Award. Smith is a science educator with experience working in both charter and public school settings as biology teacher. Currently, he teaches at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science in Roxbury. His interest in sports, fitness, and the arts has him filling many roles outside of the classroom, including being a varsity track and basketball coach. Smith is also a member of many school councils, including the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and being a District Lead Teacher. He focuses on bridging the gaps in minority science education by creating partnerships with many companies and institutions within the Boston area. His work in this field has led him to recently being the first recipient of miniPCR’s Diversity in STEM Award. He will also be participating in Boston College’s Lynch Leadership Program for Aspiring Principals in the fall.

Andrew Manning of Roxbury was recognized as a semi-finalist for the 2019 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Award. Manning is an English Language Arts high school teacher at Dorchester Academy in Boston’s Fields Corner neighborhood. He has worked for the past five years with some of the city’s most at-risk youth focusing on social emotional learning and college and career readiness. By engaging students through project-based learning, he has created authentic experiences that illustrate the impact and importance of classroom learning beyond high school. Manning creates partnerships with families through regular outreach, such as the annual “Thanksgiving Turkey Drop”, in which he and the school’s program director deliver food to all of the school’s students and families for the holidays. As part of a dedicated and dynamic team of educators, Manning works closely with his colleagues to design cross content curriculum that holds students to high expectations while giving them the help they need to succeed in high school and beyond.

About the Award
Each year the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year program honors a Massachusetts teacher who exemplifies excellent teaching in the Commonwealth. Beyond celebrating the individual, the program looks at the complex work that is involved in educating all students through highlighting student achievement, commitment to the profession, innovations in education, and teacher leadership. It draws attention to issues of teacher quality and reiterates the importance of the teacher as the single most important school-based factor in improving student outcomes.

The National Teacher of the Year program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It is the oldest and most prestigious awards program, which focuses public attention annually on excellence in teaching. Since 1952, the national program has recognized and honored the contributions of classroom teachers by granting one outstanding teacher a one year paid sabbatical. During that year, the teacher travels the nation meets with a wide variety of audiences to address educational issues. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by VOYA, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).