This morning on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced that Suzette Steward from Katy, Texas, was chosen as the winner of "LIVE's 2013 Top Teacher Search."
Steward is a special education teacher at Cinco Ranch Junior High. After she was announced as one of the 12 semi-finalists selected from thousands of viewer-submitted nominations, she went on to be named one of five finalists who flew to New York last week to appear on "LIVE." From May 3-6, "LIVE's" viewers voted on which of the finalists should be named Top Teacher. Today, Steward was surprised by Ripa and Strahan with the news live on the air via satellite during the show, as the beloved teacher was surrounded by students and fellow educators in front of the school.
Steward received the grand prize, a brand-new 2014 Ford Escape. In addition, "LIVE" partnered with The Hillshire Brands Company to give Steward's school $25,000.
Steward was nominated by parent Lisa Clements. In addition to her zest for teaching and exemplary work at school with her students, Steward decided to take the fun and learning outside of the classroom and opened a camp to which her students can come on the weekends and during holiday and summer breaks. Clements wrote, "Suzette saw a 'need' for these kids to have a fun place to go and expand their social skills and abilities, as well as increase their academic standings."
Each day during "Top Teacher Week," Ripa and Strahan surprised the finalists with a wide variety of gifts as a "thank you" for all that they do for their students and their communities. The gifts for the schools included 30 Intel-powered Lenovo Thinkpad 2 Tablets; 30 Intel Inspired Toshiba Ultrabook Convertibles; a new school playground from GameTime; five Insight 360 classroom instruction systems from eInstruction; and 30 Surface tablets pre-loaded with Skype from Microsoft. Among the surprises for the teachers were a $5,000 gift certificate from Talbot's, a luxurious trip to The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and a backyard makeover courtesy of Lowe's.
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