The White House state dinner will honor the nation's greatest teachers, according to Jill Biden.

Washington — Top teachers get new advice from Jill Biden. The first lady, a teacher, said they will be the guests of honor at a state dinner at the White House later this year, the first time diplomats will honor educators.  

Missy Testerman of Tennessee, the newly crowned National Teacher of the Year, was surprised by Biden on national television on Wednesday.  

“As you well know, I've been teaching over 30 years, just like Missy has, and I always say teachers are our heroes. I wanted to be here today to celebrate Missy because I love celebrating teachers and I have a special announcement, Missy,” Biden added.  

When you come to the White House, we are going to have a state dinner for the teachers,” Biden told “CBS Mornings.” Your dress must be chosen. First time ever.”  

To Testerman, that would be “absolutely amazing.” “I’m incredibly touched,” she told Biden. "I know how devoted you are to teaching, even as the first lady of the United States, and I know that we share the joy of education."  

The other state teachers of the year will be "so incredibly excited to hear this news," she said. Thank you for helping us.” Northern Virginia Community College English and writing professor Biden called honoring the nation's best teachers “one of my favorite events at the White House.” She did not announce a date for the teachers' meal, but a White House official said it will likely be May 1 when the teachers visit Washington.  

A black-tie state banquet honors a close U.S. ally's leader, highlighting bilateral relations. On April 10 and May 23, President Joe Biden and the first lady will host state dinners for Japan and Kenya. Though new, a teacher state dinner is a familiar concept.  

Michelle Obama, whose trademark initiative improved children's health and nutrition, hosted the first of six kids' state dinners in 2012. In 2014, Obama hosted a state dinner for African leaders invited to a Washington summit. The Council of Chief State School Officers selects state and national teachers of the year. Testerman and Alaska, Georgia, and New Jersey instructors were 2024 national award finalists.  

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