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Posted at 4:14 PM ET, 04/29/2010

Obama awards Teacher of the Year

By Valerie Strauss

President Obama presented Sarah Brown Wessling from Iowa with the 2010 National Teacher of the Year award today at a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

He also publicly encouraged legislative efforts spearheaded by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to provide funds to keep teachers in classrooms, as some 300,000 may be laid off before the next school year because of budget cuts in states across the country.

“Recovery efforts must continue as states face budget shortfalls that put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk,” Obama said. “Because we need — our children need — those teachers in the classroom.”

Wessling teaches English to sophomores, juniors and seniors at Johnston High School in Johnston, where she has been working for 10 of her 11 years in the education profession.

She was joined in the Rose Garden by other Teachers of the Year from every other state, the District and overseas schools.

Obama quoted a student in one of her classes as saying that in her class, there was “no discussion fruitless, no assignment pointless and not one day was boring."

Then he added: "I’m not sure I could have said that when I was in school."
Wessling, who incorporate things like songs and Facebook into her lesson plans, said, "When I look in a classroom, I see a story in every learner, unique and yearning to be read."

The teachers traveled to Washington and spent several days together, taking a visit on Monday to the official residence of Vice President Joe Biden and the Second Lady, Professor Jill Biden.

The other three finalists were:

* Megan Marie Allen—2010 Florida Teacher of the Year: Allen is a fourth-grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary School in Tampa, Fla. She has taught for five years, the last four at Cleveland Elementary, which has 343 students.
* Robert L. Stephenson—2010 Michigan Teacher of the Year: Stephenson is a third-grade teacher at Wardcliff Elementary School in the Okemos Public Schools of East Lansing, Mich. He has been an educator at Wardcliff, a school of 240 students, for all 15 of his years as an educator.
* Kelly A. Kovacic—2010 California Teacher of the Year: Kovacic is an 11th and 12th-grade social studies teacher at the Preuss School in La Jolla, Calif. She has taught a total of eight years, all at Preuss, a school of 819 students.


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By Valerie Strauss  | April 29, 2010; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  president obama, sara brown wessling, teacher of the year, teacher of the year winner, teachers, wessling and teacher of the year  
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Some educator "reformers" would have us believe these teachers have been teaching too long.
Congratulations, anyway.

Posted by: edlharris | April 30, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

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