BPS Educator of the Year Award Goes to…


Congratulations to Ms. Pinchem on winning BPS Educator of the Year! (Source: Mary Bosch (II))

In January, Boston Latin School history teacher Ms. Cheralyn Pinchem received the 2021 Boston Public Schools Educator of the Year Award.

Ms. Pinchem has taught AP World History and African American Studies at BLS for nine years. As one of six teachers to receive this honor, Ms. Pinchem recalls, “I didn’t [even] know I was nominated. I got an email from [Boston Public School Superintendent] Dr. Cassellius saying congratulations. I forwarded the email to [Head of School] Skerritt, and she said she had nothing to do with it. I found out in January that [history teacher] Mr. [Brian] Smith had nominated me.”

The BPS Educator of the Year Award is an annual recognition for exceptional teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, librarians and other support staff. The winners are initially nominated by any person — educators, families, students and community members.

The nominations were supplemented with evidence of each educator’s work, student work samples, letters of support, conduct history and a confidential vetting process.

This year’s award also included candidates from nominations made in 2020 due to the postponements accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a competitive pool of 400 nominations.

These nominations were narrowed down to 12 winners: six teachers, two paraprofessionals, two nurses and two related service providers.

Mr. Thomas Kennelly, Head of the BLS History Department, says, “Ms. Pinchem is a great teacher for a number of reasons. She does a great job of engaging and getting to know her students. It’s a very supportive classroom atmosphere. She clearly puts a significant amount of time into developing and refining her lessons.”

25 years of teaching was not Ms. Pinchem’s original career goal. She started college as a political science major with the goal of going to law school. She realized early on, however, that the path was not for her. Ms. Pinchem says, “I worked at a daycare center, and that made me realize, ‘Wow, I’m really doing something that’s going to impact this little person for the rest of their life.’”

Ms. Pinchem’s students feel this impact through her lessons and personal interactions. Caitlin McDonough (III) says, “My favorite part is that she’s really energetic and vibrant. […] She also does current events on Fridays, which I really enjoy. It’s just […] more of a sense of what the world is, and that’s something that I haven’t done in any classes this year.”

When asked about her teaching philosophies, Ms. Pinchem replies, “You teach who you are.” This phrase, which she learned early on in her career, reflects that authenticity is the most important part of being a teacher.

Ms. Pinchem’s favorite part of teaching is the students. Even though a new roster of students arrive every year, she believes that the limited time makes each class special.

She concludes, “Once the 180 days are over, they move on. I have to make sure all those days count.”