MIAMI (CBSMiami) –He reads stories, sings songs and teaches children who need special attention.

He’s also one of the most amazing teachers in Miami-Dade.

On Tuesday, the Miami-Dade Commission honored Alexandre Lopes who was selected from six finalists and named Miami-Dade County Public School’s “Teacher of the Year.”

Lopes teaches at Carol City Elementary School in the Learning Experiences: Alternative Program (LEAP) and educates autistic pre-kindergarten students.

“He reads us stories, he teaches the kids, he helps us, he’s really nice,” said Chanel Warrick, one of Lopes’ students.

“We have about four students with autism and eight atypical development students in these classrooms,” said Lopez.

But despite their differences, Lopes said all kids have a desire to learn.

“We teach them all the same, we prepare them for the future,” said Lopes.

Lopes said he stunned when he learned that he had been names “Teacher of the Year” and felt honored.

“It’s such a privilege, not only to me but to all the pre-kindergarten and special educators in the county,” said Lopes.

“Why do you think the Miami-Dade Commission believes you are the “Teacher of the Year,” asked CBS4’s Vanessa Borge.

“I wish I could answer that question myself” replied Lopes. “I’ve met the other finalists and I cannot believe they picked me.”

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Lopes is currently in his fourth semester as a doctoral student at Florida International University.

The county awarded Lopes several thousand dollars and new Toyota. Lopes said while that was appreciated, his students are reward enough.

“When you see somebody speaking in three words sentences when they were talking in barely single words,” said Lopes, “that gives a lot of satisfaction.”


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