Daniel Moses, Friendship Teacher of the Year

Barrington M. Salmon | 6/7/2012, 5:29 p.m.

In his third year at Friendship Collegiate Academy, Daniel Moses is Friendship Public Charter Schools' 2012 Teacher of the Year.

Moses, 32, bested 10 of his colleagues for the honor. Moses, who now teaches history, said he didn't expect to win.

"I was confident I would do well because I taught a really good lesson. But I didn't expect necessarily to win," said Moses. "It was a huge surprise, especially for my parents. The kids are really excited. They made me throw them a pizza party."

"I was highly motivated before but this has given me greater impetus," he said. "It's been nose to the grindstone. My students have been studying AP World History."

Moses taught general education for two years and this is his first year teaching history, said the Illinois native who followed his wife here from Chicago.

His recipe for being an exceptional teacher?

"What's most important is consistency, understanding, rigor, and maintaining those standards every day. I let my students know you will do this because I love you and it's good for you," he said.

Moses learned the good news at a sumptuous, black-tie awards ceremony held recently at the JW Marriott Hotel in Northwest. More than 800 staff members from the school attended the event where the friendly rivalry and school spirit energized what can sometimes be rather staid and restrained.

As each teacher of the year nominee was presented to their peers, the crowd broke into raucous cheers, with many standing up and yelling their support of the honorees for their accomplishments. Participants enjoyed video presentations of principals, fellow teachers, parents and students who shared the reasons why the nominees are exceptional teachers.

Several times during the program, faculty and staff from individual schools jumped up to bellow school cheers.

TV host Roland Martin returned to emcee the event.

"Any man who comes up, I suggest you give your wife a shout out so there won't be any problems," he joked.

Event Chairman W. Ed Walter was effusive in his praise.

"This has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations," he said of the event which is in its fifth year. "We celebrate the best teachers and this confers on them the extra value they have to our organization. They exhibit patience, enthusiasm, courage, and showmanship. Teachers provide a special reward by their success. You've made ... an impact on our children's future.

"I congratulate all the nominees. You're the best of the best."

Friendship is the largest public charter school in the Washington, D.C. area. Friendship is on 11 campuses in the District and Baltimore in partnership with District of Columbia Public Schools and Baltimore City Public School. At present, Friendship, which was started in 1998, serves about 8,000 students from pre-K to 12th grade.

Friendship Collegiate Academy is the charter school's flagship school in Northeast. It has an 85 percent graduation rate and 100 percent of the graduating class is accepted to college.

Five students have been chosen as Gates Millennium Scholars which means that they are awarded $500,000 to finance their educations with what Gates officials call "a good-through-graduation" scholarship. The money will support the students' academic endeavors for however long they pursue their educations at the college or university of their choice.