The president said that Rebecca Mieliwocki puts a lot extra in her work, from field trips to parents' nights. She has even had her students work in groups to film different versions of an O. Henry short story and has had them write 5-minute plays, which were then performed by professional actors.
"When kids finish a year in Rebecca's class, they're better readers and writers than when they started," Obama said. "But even more than that, they know how important they are. And they understand how bright their futures can be. And they know that if they work at it, there's no limit to what they can achieve."
The three runners-up were also recognized. They were Gay Barnes, who teaches first-grade at Horizon Elementary School in Madison, Ala.; Angela Wilson, who teaches at a middle school for the children of U.S. military families in Vicenza, Italy; and Alvin Aureliano Davis, who teaches music at Miramar High School in Florida.