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Press Release

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Florida's Teacher of the Year is National Finalist

- Pre-K special education teacher one of four contenders for National Teacher of the Year -

Tallahassee, Fla., January 17, 2013 - For the fourth year in a row, the Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year is a contender for the National Teacher of the Year award. Alex Lopes, Florida's 2013 Teacher of the Year, was named one of four finalists for the prestigious award today by the Council of Chief State School Officers. He joins educators from Maryland, New Hampshire, and Washington in line for the national award. The winner will be announced at a White House ceremony during National Recognition Week April 21-26, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

Governor Rick Scott said, "Florida's teachers are the backbone of our classrooms and they help students obtain the skills and talents they will need to get a job, build a family, and live their version of the American Dream. I look forward to continuing to find ways we can support our educators so they have the tools they need to succeed. On behalf of all Floridians, I would like to wish Alex the best of luck."

"Florida has a strong tradition of quality, passionate educators and Mr. Lopes is no exception," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "It is important to recognize those who go above and beyond in the teaching profession and serve our students so diligently. I congratulate Mr. Lopes on being a finalist for one of our nation's highest teaching honors."

Alex Lopes, a prekindergarten special education teacher from Carol City Elementary School in Miami-Dade County, was named 2013 Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year and Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education in July 2012. He serves as an education advocate and goodwill ambassador representing teachers throughout the Sunshine State.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers. It began in 1952 and is the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The national winner is chosen from among state teachers of the year by a selection committee representing 15 national education organizations. The National Teacher of the Year is selected based on the following criteria: inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school; be poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule. Each year, the National Teacher of the Year is introduced to the American people by the President of the United States.

For the past 25 years, Macy's has partnered with the Florida Department of Education as the major sponsor of the Teacher of the Year program. The company has annually contributed $100,000 to the program, making it one of the largest corporate contributors to Florida public schools. To date, Macy's has donated more than $2 million to teachers throughout the state as part of the Teacher of the Year program.

For more information, visit National Teacher of the Year Program.