Rebecca Mieliwocki, known for inspiring her seventh-grade English students at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, was named today as National Teacher of the Year from among 3.2 million U.S. educators.
Mieliwocki grew up in Napa, the daughter of two career teachers. She had studied to be a lawyer, but switched to teaching 14 years when her chosen profession proved unrewarding.
"Students learn best when they have the most enthusiastic, engaged teachers possible," Mieliwocki said in a statement. "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." Mieliwocki (pronounced Milwaukee) was nominated for the award by Tom Torlakson, California's superintendent of public instruction. "Rebecca Mieliwocki is an inspiration to her students, to me, and to every California teacher," he said. "She brings enormous energy, enthusiasm and optimism to teaching -- a career that has never been more challenging, or more vital to our future. "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."