Sydney Chaffee, the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, will speak at Sul Ross State University Wednesday, Dec. 6.
   Chaffee’s presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Pete P. Gallego Center, Room 129 (Fishbowl). The event is free and open to the public. Her visit is sponsored by the Sul Ross Education Department.
   Chaffee was named National Teacher of the Year in April. She has taught for 10 years, the past nine as a ninth grade humanities teacher at Codman Academy, Dorchester, MA. She received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a M.Ed. from Lesley University.
   Codman Academy is a charter public school where 98 percent of the students are minorities and 75 percent of them qualify for free or reduced lunch. One hundred percent of Codman Academy’s graduates are accepted into college.
   “Education must be authentic. There is no use in studying history if we believe it to be static and irrelevant to the future," Chaffee said. “Authentic learning enables students to see and create connections in the world around them.”
   One of her students describes her as “blunt, calm and nice at the same time.” Others in her classroom in Dorchester, Massachusetts, say she’s “a good listener” – simply “the best.”
   She tries to infuse the hard work of learning with joy, not only in her classroom but throughout the school. For example, she is the coordinator of a schoolwide Community Circle every Thursday where all students in the school come together to celebrate successes, share good news and dig into serious conversations together.
   For more information, contact Jeanne Qvarnstrom, (432) 837-8395 or