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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A huge congratulations goes out to a South Florida elementary school teacher who has been named Teacher of the Year.

Alexandre Lopes, 43, teaches a pre-kindergarten special education class at Carol City Elementary.

Thursday night, he was named Macy’s Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year for 2013 at an awards ceremony in Orlando.

Many of his students are autistic, cannot speak, or even use the restroom on their own. He uses music and dance to teach and communicate with them.

The award comes with a $10,000 check from the Macy’s Foundation and a trip to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, among other prizes.

Lopes was chosen from among some 20,000 Miami-Dade teachers to win teacher of the year for the county. He later was chosen as a finalist among the state’s 180,000 educators.

He is studying for a doctorate in special education at Florida International University.


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