This being the 10th anniversary year of the Blackboard Awards, it seems only fitting to recall the involvement of the awards’ patron saint, the legendary teacher and author Frank McCourt. You may remember that McCourt was the career high school English teacher who, in retirement, wrote the mega-bestselling memoir about his childhood in Ireland, Angela’s Ashes. He then followed that up with an account of years as a New York City public school teacher, called Teacher Man.
McCourt emceed all the Blackboard Award ceremonies until his death in 2009, and I have no doubt his words and wisdom still echo in the minds of many the educators—teachers and principals alike—who were there during those ceremonies. They certainly do in me. McCourt’s message was that only a teacher really knows what it’s like to stand in front of classroom full of kids and get them to learn something. He bristled about how the teaching profession was besieged by so-called experts telling teachers what to do, when many of the experts themselves were never teachers. Mostly, though, he expressed a lot of camaraderie, respect and dark-humored sympathy for his fellow educators.
Only Frank could say it like Frank, but we try to carry his message forth in our own way: hoping to express that you, our dedicated and talented local educators, are deeply appreciated by many around you, your colleagues, students and parents. Chances are it was one of them who put in the nomination for you or your school.
Originally founded by the leaders of Manhattan Media, Tom Allon and Richard Burns, the Blackboard Awards are dedicated to honoring excellence in local education wherever it exists—public, private, charter or parochial school. It humbles us to learn about the good work you do, and that, in turn, impassions us to get out the word.
Speaking for all my colleagues at Manhattan Media, I have two final words for you: Thank you.
—Eric Messinger, Editor, New York Family
2012 Blackboard Award Winners
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