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Press Release



August 8, 2017

AAE Members Enthusiastically Congratulate National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee

Alexandria, VA – The Association of American Educators, a non-union, non-profit, professional association serving teachers in all fifty states, enthusiastically and emphatically congratulates Sydney Chaffee on her being recognized as the 2017 National Teacher of the Year.

In a survey of AAE members, 95.8% support “recognizing and congratulating 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee as an example of the many great educators nationwide and as an example to the many young people who should consider becoming an educator.” Over 70% of the survey respondents are public district teachers and 16% are public charter school teachers.

In honor of Sydney’s tremendous accomplishment, AAE’s Chairman and President Gary Beckner released the following statement:

“Throughout the country, educators tirelessly, creatively, and passionately serve our nation’s schoolchildren. It would be impossible to individually recognize each for his or her contributions—although it would be worthwhile for us to try—and so the National Teacher of the Year program identifies phenomenal examples of excellent teachers. I have been fortunate enough to know several previous winners, each of whom is an impressive example to the country’s teaching corps. Sydney is an inspiration and AAE members wholeheartedly congratulate their colleague. She will undoubtedly inspire more young people to consider education as a career path. The fact that Sydney is from a public charter school is a reminder that great educators serve students in all environments, and we at AAE are honored to serve them.”

Sydney’s extraordinary accomplishment was not without controversy. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the teachers union in Sydney’s home state, voted to not congratulate the first national teacher of the year to come from Massachusetts. Sydney teaches at Codman Academy Public Charter School near Boston, which is not unionized and is not a member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

AAE’s Executive Vice President Colin Sharkey noted the controversy in the following statement:

"I’m proud but not surprised that AAE’s members so emphatically recognized Sydney’s achievement. AAE members see a fellow educator who shares their devotion to students, not a political opportunity. That the union chose to snub a fellow educator due to their politics reveals more about their agenda and values than they even realize. Fortunately, Sydney did not let the insult distract her from her effort to encourage educators of all backgrounds to serve our nation’s students. In fact, the grace and class with which she weathered the slight was one of her first opportunities to illustrate what educators nationwide must face on a regular basis—the shortsighted politics of adults trying to distract from a noble purpose: educating our nation’s children."

The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, non-union, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student-oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month which includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources and many other benefits. Visit for information.