This morning on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced Stacie Starr from Elyria, Ohio, was chosen as the winner of "LIVE's 2014 Top Teacher Search."
Starr is an intervention specialist at Elyria High School. She was announced as one of the 12 semi-finalists and went on to be named one of five finalists who flew to New York last week to appear on "LIVE." From May 16-19, "LIVE's" viewers voted on which of the finalists should be named top teacher.
Ripa and Strahan surprised Starr 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. Starr received the grand prize: a brand-new Ford Escape.
Her nomination was sent in by Maryann Verlotti, mother of one of Starr's students, who described the profound effect Starr has had on her son, who as a young child was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. She wrote about watching her son "blossom into the strong young man he is today" through his participation in Starr's mentoring group, and describes Starr as "the hardest-working, most selfless woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!"
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 HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 devices; 30 Intel-powered Dell Latitude 10 tablets; five eInstruction by Turning Technologies classroom packages; a set of Compass Learning software; and, for Elyria High School, a school specialty ultimate championship All American 8000 football scoreboard. Among the surprises for the teachers were a trip to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa at the luxurious Dan Panorama Hotels; an Alaskan vacation aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship; a trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii; and a vacation to the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.
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