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News Brief

Monday, April 23, 2012

CA Teacher Named 2012 National Teacher of the Year

Contact: Kate Dando; 303-818-4738
Paul Ferrari; 508-826-9212

Washington, DC - The Council of Chief State School Officers announced today that Rebecca Mieliwocki, a 7th grade English teacher in California is the 62nd National Teacher of the Year. Mieliwocki, along with all 2012 State Teachers of the Year will be recognized by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House, on Tuesday, April 24. 

Rebecca Mieliwocki is a 7th grade English teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School, which houses 1100 students in grades 6-8. She has been teaching for 14 years and has spent 9 years in her current position. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from California Polytechnic State University and her professional clear credential in Secondary English Education from California State University Northridge. She is the 2005 California League of Middle Schools Educator of the Year for Southern California, a 2009 PTA Honorary Service Award Winner, and a BTSA mentor, and has also served as a teacher expert for CSUN College of Education Panel titled "The ABC's of IEPs."

"Rebecca Mieliwocki is an inspiration to her students, to me, and to every California teacher. She brings enormous energy, enthusiasm and optimism to teaching -- a career that has never been more challenging, or more vital to our future," said Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction. "She's the perfect choice for this tremendous honor, and I know she'll do an outstanding job of teaching the nation about the great things happening every day in California's public schools."

"Students learn best when they have the most enthusiastic, engaged teachers possible," says Mieliwocki. "I firmly believe that teachers must be held accountable for their students' success, from helping them meet personal or school-wide learning goals to achieving on district and state level assessments. Our students are our future, so we, their teachers, must do our best to inspire them and guide them to greatness."

For a press kit with additional information about Rebecca Mieliwocki click here. For more information about the National Teacher of the Year program, click here.  There will be a media availability with Rebecca Mieliwocki on Monday, April 23 from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm Eastern.  To arrange an interview with her please contact Kate Dando ( or Paul Ferrari (   President Barack Obama will honor the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and all of the State Teachers of the Year at the White House April 24 at 10:05 am EDT. 

A panel of educators, representing 15 national education organizations, chose the finalists from the 2012 state teachers of the year in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and four U.S. extra-state jurisdictions.  State teachers of the year are selected on the basis of nominations by students, teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the states. Applications are then submitted to CCSSO, where the national selection committee reviews the data on each state candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then personally interviews each finalist before naming the National Teacher of the Year. The finalists for 2012 National Teacher of the Year are Gay Barnes (Alabama), Alvin Davis (Florida), and Angela Wilson (Department of Defense Education Activity).


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.