National Teacher of the Year is celebrated at the White House
Rebecca Mieliwocki, a seventh-grade English teacher from Burbank, Calif., has been selected as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. In an upbeat ceremony at the White House on April 24, President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introduced the top teacher and the 53 other State Teachers of the Year to the nation.
Among the honorees were three University of Phoenix alumni or current students: Tong Chen, Deanna LeBlanc and Kristie Martorelli. Representatives of the University, including members of the College of Education faculty, were also on hand to present each participating teacher with an Amazon Kindle™ e-reader and a subscription to NBC Learn, an online educational resource that features 80 years of broadcast archives.
“This program is by far one of the most gratifying projects in which we participate,” says Pat Gottfried, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix. “These incredible, creative teachers from every state in the nation are passionate about their calling — and the children whose lives they impact.”
That passion was evident in Mieliwocki’s White House acceptance speech when she noted, “I have a warm and welcoming heart for all students. And I have the unshakable understanding that students can do anything they put their minds to.” Mieliwocki will spend the next year traveling the country and serving as a spokesperson for students’ and educators’ issues.
This is the fourth year the University has participated in the prestigious Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Teacher of the Year program. Last January in Houston, when the state representatives were announced, the University also provided each educator with a Teaching it Forward® scholarship that they can, in turn, award to a colleague or recent high school graduate.
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