Wyclef Jean rapped for them. The mayor regaled them.
And educators in the nation’s capital donned tuxedos and gowns at a star-studded event to celebrate the teachers and administrators who serve more than 48,000 students in D.C. Public Schools.
“You know why I’m here? A high school teacher saved my life,” Jean said as he launched into a performance of “Hips Don’t Lie.”
The school system’s annual “Standing Ovation” event took place Thursday at the Anthem — a concert venue at the Wharf in Southwest Washington. Tim Gunn, a D.C. native and television and fashion personality, helped emcee.
Tenia Pritchard, head of Whittier Education Campus in Ward 4, was named principal of the year. Tumeka Coleman, a third-grade teacher at Walker-Jones Education Campus in Ward 6, was named teacher of the year.
“I’m making sure that I’m attuned with them at all times of the day,” Coleman said in a video about her teaching philosophy. “Because they’re kids, and it’s important for them to be happy.”
Around 30 teachers, administrators and school staff were honored.
Philanthropists Alice and David M. Rubenstein donate $230,000 in cash prizes for the event each year.
Other awards include excellence in service and excellence in family engagement. Ward 4’s Truesdell Education Campus and its principal, Mary Ann Stinson, were honored for excellence by an academic leadership team.
Eastern High School’s Kareem Farah, a math teacher, was recognized for classroom innovation.
“Instead of lecturing, I decided I was going to deliver that content through video, so a kid that really needed to spend two, three days on a lesson can take that time and then transition to the next lesson when they’re ready,” Farah said in a video aired at the ceremony. “Students in my class cannot go to the next lesson without showing mastery of the previous lesson.”