Congratulations to Guy Etienne, the headmaster at Collège Catts Pressoir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is one of the 10 finalists whose been shortlisted from 5,000 nominations for the “Global Teacher Prize ” of teaching award which is also considered the “Nobel Prize for teaching.
Mr. Etienne’s private school encourages students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to help address needs in their community.
According to Miami Herald,
A few years ago, a group of high school students attending the modest, privately run Collège Catts Pressoir came up with an innovative thought for their physics final: They would get a broken traffic light down the street to work again.
After studying how traffic lights work, they installed an inverter operated by 10 batteries in their classroom and ran an electrical cable to the nearby four-way intersection. Weeks later, at the corner of John Brown and Martin Luther King, the lights came alive.
“Difficulties are the ingredients of development,” said school headmaster and chemistry teacher Guy Etienne, recalling the day the lights came on. “What we are developing in students’ minds is that when you are confronted with a challenge, go find a solution; don’t just cross your arms and say you can’t because it’s difficult.”
That empowering philosophy has made Catts Pressoir one of Haiti’s most prestigious private schools. It also has given Etienne the biggest recognition yet of his 34-year teaching career: He is among 10 finalists for a $1 million award that is considered the “Nobel Prize for teaching.”
“For 30 years, a lot of parents haven’t agreed with me. But today, the world does,” said Etienne, who beat out more than 5,000 nominees from 127 countries for a chance to be recognized as the world’s most exceptional teacher. “This encourages me to keep doing the work that I am doing.”
Awarded by the Varkey Foundation, the prize is the brainchild of Indian-entrepreneur Sunny Varkey. Varkey said the competition isn’t about the money, but rather drawing attention to the enormous impact and achievements of teachers. He will name the winner Sunday at his Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. Etienne and his wife, Marilyn, also a teacher at the school, will be there.
“This is a great honor; not just for me but for the country,” said Etienne, 61. “What makes me proud is that every Haitian is identifying him or herself with this honor.”
Education Minister Nesmy Manigat, who named Etienne to his curriculum reform commission, isn’t surprised by his global spotlight.
“Guy is a leader and role model,” said Manigat, who has launch an aggressive push to fix Haiti’s broken education system — in which more than half of graduating students last year failed exit exams. “My wish is that our teachers use his nomination as a positive drive to help bring excellence to our schools.”
The 10 finalists for the first Global Teacher Prize are:
Azizullah Royesh, Marefat High School, Kabul, Afghanistan
Kiran Bir Sethi, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India
Guy Etienne, Collège Catts Pressoir, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Jacqueline Jumbe-Kahura, Bofa Primary school, Kilifi, Kenya
Nancie Atwell, The Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, Maine, USA
Naomi Volain, Springfield Central High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Phalla Neang, Phnom Penh Thmey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Madenjit Singh, GDI – SOLS 247 School (in Cambodia), Malaysia
Richard Spencer, Middlesbrough College, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Stephen Ritz, Public School 55, Bronx, New York, USA
Congratulations to all the teachers nominated but how incredible would it be for him to win the 1 million dollar prize. It’s so refreshing to see our Haitian leaders being selected for awards on such a global scale.