Local teacher receives high honor
TAMARAC, Fla. (WSVN) -- It wasn't your average start to the school day at Tamarac Elementary.
"Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!" shouted Simone Ryals.
It's not every day a teacher finds out she's one of the best in the country. "This is Mr. Runcie, Superintendent of all of Broward County Schools telling me I'm a finalist for a science teacher of the year award," she said to her class after Superintendent Robert Runcie arrived in her class with flowers.
Fifth grade teacher Simone Ryals just learned she is a finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. It's the highest honor an educator can earn in the United States.
While she may be shocked, her students aren't surprised by the honor. "Ms. Ryals is just an awesome teacher," said current student, Andrea Rega. "She makes a lot of learning fun, and you never get bored in this class. There is always something to do. She makes games into learning."
Ryals is known as an innovator. Her lessons are engaging, and her class is always paying attention. "Boys and girls, we have visitors, and they want to be impressed," said Ryals. "Everything is connected. Let's start with our alpha..."
"Beta, gamma, delta, epsilon," her students shouted back.
As a finalist, Ryals is already in elite company. But to her, an award comes a distant second to the reward of shaping young lives day after day. "You don't do the jobs for the perks," said Ryals. "You do it because you love the children, and you want them to have the very best education possible."
Ms. Ryals said she's not in it for the perks. But if she wins, she gets an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., gets to meet the president and will receive $10,000.
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