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Fall River teacher to be recognized as 2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Semifinalist



Fall River, Mass. — Atlantis Charter School, a public charter school in Fall River serving students in Kindergarten through Grade 12, will see one of their teachers recognized Tuesday as a 2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Semifinalist.

Second-grade teacher Samantha Roman McKee is the educator being recognized at the Devens Common Center by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Each year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education honors a licensed PreK-12 Massachusetts public school teacher who exemplifies excellent teaching in the Commonwealth. The Teacher of the Year program highlights student achievement, educators’ commitment to the profession, innovations in education, and teacher leadership.

“Samantha McKee’s ability to engage her students, utilize technology, and share best practices is unmatched and unprecedented,” said Atlantis Lower School principal Corrie Marchand. “She greets her students with music, challenges, and a vast array of online programs that they navigate seamlessly thanks to her teaching and modeling. Her students are growing and learning despite the many challenges they face, and that is due to her dedication. We are fortunate to have her on our staff.”

McKee, of North Attleboro, joined the Atlantis teaching staff as a first-grade teacher in 2016 through Teach for America and moved to second grade in 2017 where she remains today. According to the school, McKee has become a role model for other teachers at the school, regularly sharing her practices with staff at professional development sessions and taking time to work one-on-one with new staff members or team members who are struggling.

Atlantis stated that McKee is fluent in English and Spanish. She is in the process of completing her Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and a Graduate Bilingual Education Certificate.

“I started graduate school in the fall of 2020. I was inspired to act when I saw that ELL students were some of the most affected by online learning,” McKee said. “Being bilingual myself gives me a unique perspective to help students of a similar background. I wanted more tools to promote educational equity for all my students, especially my ELLs.”

McKee looks to make an impact on students each school day.

“I try to make small, meaningful changes every day. My mantra in my classroom is “Practice Makes Progress.” I don’t aim for perfection because I do not believe it exists. There are always ways to improve. It doesn’t matter how long It takes to reach your goal as long as you make progress along the way.”

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