Sean McComb, an English teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Dundalk and an adjunct instructor for Towson University’s College of Education, has been named the 2014 National Teacher of the Year. Just 30 years old, he is one of the youngest recipients to ever receive the award.
He will be recognized by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, May 1.
McComb is the 64th National Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to one of four finalists chosen from among the 2014 state teachers of the year. McComb was named Maryland’s Teacher of the Year last October.
An educator for eight years, McComb also coordinates the Advancement via Individual Determination, or AVID, program at Patapsco, which offers mentorship and college prep to promising yet underserved high school students. The program has been hugely successful, with 98 percent of its last two graduating classes having been admitted to four-year colleges.
“My teaching is built on the belief that relationships and engagement can turn challenges into opportunities for excellence for all students,” McComb said in a statement to the CCSSO. “As we embrace that truth, we help awaken students to their full potential and the possibility to live out the American dream.”
McComb is devoted to serving his community, and works with his students to plant trees, clean up waterways or serve meals to the homeless, among other initiatives. He is active in the Baltimore County China Cultural Exchange Program, and regularly sacrifices his own spring break to provide bus tours to students. He also coaches tennis and track at Patapsco and was captain of a men’s elite Ultimate Frisbee club.
According to the CCSSO, the National Teacher of the Year is released from classroom duties for the year of their recognition to travel nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession. McComb will attend approximately 150 events, appear in television, radio and print media, and sit on national and state commissions and policy advising bodies, among other duties.