In small groups we provided feedback to ED staff. Also, Bill Mendoza, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, was in my group. We took a selfie and he mentioned that I should come to Pablo in June when the Secretary speaks at SKC commencement. This invitation figures into events later in the evening.
In the evening the teachers and their guests dressed way past our normal level and headed into more driving rain to the US Institute of Peace for the gala. Just picture something from a movie...drinks handed out, a really excellent group of musicians playing, synchronized meal service. That was our life for a few hours.
After Secretary Duncan spoke he was mobbed right behind my chair by people wanting to take photos. When I told him I was from Montana and said I thought he would be in my neighborhood shortly, he said yes! At the tribal college! I said, "That's just 30 minutes from my house and Bill Mendoza indirectly invited me today." He said, "Of course, yes, we'll have to make sure you are there." Husband captured that conversation as well as the pose.
Sean McComb was named National Teacher of the Year and gave a very touching talk. He will make a wonderful ambassador for educators nationwide this year, and I'm proud to know him personally.
It was a day when teachers were heard and celebrated.