President Obama announced the National Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, April 28. Anthony “Tony” Mullen is a special education teacher at the ARCH School in Greenwich and a former police officer.
Mullen retired from his job as a New York Police Department narcotics detective after 20 years. He has been teaching for eight years, seven of which have been at the ARCH School. The ARCH School is an alternative school for at-risk youth in New York City. For many, it is their “last-chance” to get an education.
“As a police officer, so many of the kids, you get involved with them when it’s too late,” Mullen said. “With teaching, you get to spend a lot more time with these at-risk students and prevent them from either going to jail or harming other people, turning into something productive instead of destructive.”
In addition to his teaching job, Mullen also oversees an after-school program that provides academic support for students who have been expelled. He also advocates for resources to combat the problems of students who want to drop out of school.
President Obama chose Mullen because of Mullen’s dedication to students who need the most help in school. Obama, who is highly concerned with the education of America’s youth, called Mullen one of “the special few who were there for us when we needed it most; who pushed us when we were afraid; who pulled us back when we were headed in the wrong direction; who refused to give up on us, no matter how difficult we were.”
School Superintendent Betty Sternberg echoed Obama’s praises, saying, “kids relate to him because they know he really cares… Tony has the ability to look past all the struggles to find the strength and the hook to pull these kids up. He’s really a classic in terms of a teacher who saves kids’ lives.”
The National Teacher of the Year program began in 1952. A committee of members of education organizations selects the winner. After winning, the National Teacher of the Year spends a year traveling the nation and advocating for education.
Via Yahoo! News.