(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that District of Columbia’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, Jermar “Coach” Rountree, has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year. Coach Roundtree is a pre-K to eighth grade health and physical education teacher at Center City Public Charter School’s Brightwood campus. Coach Rountree is the third DC Teacher of the Year to be in the running for the national honor since 2005.
“Jermar Rountree is an outstanding educator, a leader in his school and community, a role model for teachers across the District, and a vital source of support and inspiration for the students and families he serves,” said Mayor Bowser. “For his students, Coach Rountree is so much more than a teacher – he is a problem solver, a trusted confidant, and a mentor. DC is proud to have him representing our city’s incredible educators on the national stage.”
An educator with 16 years of experience, Coach Rountree takes a holistic approach to his work with the children and the school community he serves at Center City PCS-Brightwood Campus. In addition to his work at Center City PCS’s Brightwood Campus, Coach Rountree serves as the District Teacher Lead for the Physical Education and Health Department. He has led the OSSE Physical Education Cadre, which evaluates elementary through secondary health curricula, and he shares that information with physical educators throughout the District. He serves as an ambassador to other District educators, and he recently led a webinar to share best practices around student attendance.
“Teaching is where I belong,” said Jermar Rountree. “I love what I do and that will not change. I am dedicated to my kids, families, and colleagues. That is what pushes me along no matter what. I want to be that trusted person, that father figure, that coach that my students can rely on no matter what. I am so honored to represent the District of Columbia as a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.”
Coach Rountree began his career in 2008, working with children of all ages at the YMCA in Danbury, CT. He soon launched a business that instructed childcare staff on how to provide safe and fun physical education. In 2012, he moved to Washington, DC and began teaching physical education and health for elementary school students. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Western Connecticut State University, and a master’s degree in elementary school education from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Six years ago, he took a position at Center City PCS-Brightwood Campus, where he is known for not only for developing healthy minds and bodies among his young learners, but for also building strong relationships with students and their families across all grade levels.
“We are so lucky to have Jermar as a teacher here,” said Rachel Tommelleo, principal at Center City PCS-Brightwood. “He goes above and beyond for our students, his colleagues, and our community members every single day. He wants everyone to be successful and feel supported. He is a huge part of why our students are excited to come to school every day. We are who we are because of dedicated teachers like Coach Rountree.”
Over the years, Coach Rountree has hosted fitness classes and health-focused events for families, including a back-to-school BBQ, a fun run, and a family movie night. Rountree also helped streamline Center City PCS-Brightwood’s before- and after-school clubs program; launched a swimming program for middle school students; and organized fun programs such as a fencing, wrestling and cooking clubs, and family boot camps.
“At a time when our young students need positive role models who care deeply about their lives, in school, at home, and in the community, Coach Rountree is the educator we need - here in the District of Columbia and nationally,” said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. “As 2023 DC Teacher of the Year, Coach Rountree has shown us how to meaningfully connect with our families, support our students, and build healthy school communities where everyone thrives. Thank you, Coach Rountree, for the amazing work you do for our students and families.”
Every year, the National Teacher of the Year Program, run by the Council for Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO), selects four finalists from a group of 57 State Teachers of the Year based on a specific set of criteria. The National Teacher of the Year is then selected after rigorous in-person interviews with the selection committee, which includes representatives from 16 renowned education and community organizations, which collectively represent millions of educators.
One of the finalists announced today will be named the 2023 National Teacher of the Year this spring by a national selection committee and will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students. Each year, since 1952, the President of the United States has recognized the National Teacher of the Year at a White House ceremony in the spring.
Additional information on the 2023 National Teacher of the Year finalists can be found on CCSSO’s website.