CAROL CITY (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade County Public School teacher was in for a pleasant surprise on Friday that started with a fire alarm.
The surprise fire dill brought Alexandre Lopes, a pre-K special education teacher at Carol City Elementary School, and his students out of the classroom.
When firefighters arrived at the school, the State Department of Education Chancellor Pam Stewart was riding in on the fire truck and announced to Lopes the he had been chosen as a top five finalist for the 2013 Macy’s/Florida Department Of Education Teacher Of the Year award.
“Certainly to be selected as one of the five finalist,” said Stewart. “There are 180,000 teachers in the state, so he’s one of the top five and that an extreme honor.”
As one of the finalists, Lopes was rewarded with a $5,000 check from the Macy’s Foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card.
“It’s an honor, a privilege and amazing honor. It really is,” Lopes said.
Lopes, also named the 2013 Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year, wasn’t the only one who benefited from his hard work. Carol City Elementary School was also awarded a $1,000 check from the Macy’s Foundation.
“He really is a personification of what an extraordinary educator is,” said Carol City Elementary Principal, Patricia Bloodworth-Johnson.
The five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state.
The recognition is awarded based on a teacher’s ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service.
“You make so many choices in your life and this makes me realize that some of choices I have made are the right ones,” Lopes said.
The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.
The winner of the award will be announced July 12 at a ceremony held at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk, where he or she will walk away with a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, along with other rewards.
The remaining 67 nominees from around the state will also be recognized for their achievements and will be presented with a $750 cash award and a $250 grant for their school.