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Alex Lopes, Florida Teacher of the Year, Is National Finalist

Whatever happens, prekindergarten special education teacher Alex Lopes -- Florida 2013 Teacher of the Year -- is already a winner. But on Thursday he found out he's one of four finalists for the prestigious National Teacher of the Year award.

Lopes joins teachers from Maryland, New Hampshire and Washington for the honor. The winner will be announced at a White House ceremony during National Recognition Week April 16-21, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

Said Gov. Rick Scott, Floridas teachers are the backbone of our classrooms and they help students obtain the skills and talents they will need to get a job, build a family, and live their version of the American dream. I look forward to continuing to find ways we can support our educators so they have the tools they need to succeed. On behalf of all Floridians, I would like to wish Alex the best of luck.

Lopes teaches at Carol City Elementary School in Miami-Dade County. He now serves as an education advocate and goodwill ambassador representing teachers throughout the Sunshine State.

The National Teacher of the Year is selected based on the following criteria: inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school; be poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.

Each year, the National Teacher of the Year is introduced to the American people by the president of the United States.

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