• Rick Joseph

Washington Week - Wow!

When I first found out I would be the Michigan Teacher of the Year, I was certainly excited about the opportunity to join my TOY colleagues from around the country to meet President Obama. I was impressed with President Obama's down-to-earth disposition and thanked him for his pending trip to Flint the next day to meet with eight year-old Amariyanna Copeny, a girl also known as "Little Miss Flint" who wrote the President a a letter asking to meet with him regarding the Flint Water Crisis. His reply to me, "You got it. It's a priority."

Not only did I have the extraordinary opportunity to meet President Obama, I was also able to meet Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at their residence. Dr. Biden is the only first lady in U.S. history to retain her civilian job while her spouse was in office. She teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College. Her deep commitment to students and their learning was very evident as she spoke about her work with schools serving families on U.S. military bases.

The entire Washington Week experience was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event which I will always cherish. Most importantly, I am reminded of the importance of serving others, of being a servant leader and of working to promote the common good - a promise that represents the very nature of public education in out country. I aspire to be bold and to act without fear - like Amariyanna Copeny.

My spouse, Mary Beth Seefelt, and I outside the gate of the Vice Presidential residence

Dale Jackson, a volunteer at the ArtLab at the Hirshhorn Gallery, discusses the power of after-school art programs for DC area youth

I thanked the President for his trip the next day to Flint to meet Amariyanna Copeny

Jahana Hayes, National Teacher of the Year 2016, before her speech in the East Room of the White House

Iowa Teacher of the Year Scott Slechta makes a point at a policy meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

The National State Teachers of the Year 2016