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[04/16/13 - 10:21 AM]
"Live with Kelly and Michael" Announces Top Five Finalists in "Live's Top Teacher Search"
Last Friday, April 12, the hosts announced the 12 semi-finalists who were selected from thousands of viewer-submitted nominations.

[via press release from Disney-ABC Domestic Television]

"LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL" ANNOUNCES TOP FIVE FINALISTS IN "LIVE'S TOP TEACHER SEARCH"

Hosts Kelly Ripa and Guest Co-Host Peter Facinelli Reveal the Five Educators Who Will be Honored During "Top Teacher Week" April 29 - May 3, 2013 on "LIVE"

NEW YORK, NY - April 16, 2013 - This morning on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," host Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Peter Facinelli announced the five exemplary educators chosen as finalists for "LIVE's Top Teacher Search," who will be featured on-air during the week of April 29 - May 3, 2013.

Back in March, "LIVE" announced the return of "Top Teacher Week," a search to honor the nation's best educators for being outstanding mentors to their students in and out of the classroom, for making their schools better, and for going above and beyond to serve their communities. Last Friday, April 12, the hosts announced the 12 semi-finalists who were selected from thousands of viewer-submitted nominations, and then it was up to the viewers to vote for their five favorites. The finalists are:

KATHY GREEN from Summerville, SC - Green is a 5th grade teacher at Summerville Elementary School and was nominated by parent Kristin Schulz. Schulz wrote that she first met Green when her daughter entered the 4th grade. Schulz' daughter came home one day and told her mom, "Mrs. Green makes me want to be a better person." Schulz added, "from the minute you step into her classroom, you know you will learn in a nurturing and challenging environment." Green is the type of educator who expects "the whole cookie - not the crumbs," and has been recognized as Summerville's Teacher of the Year, as well as the school district's Teacher of the Year.

ERIN PALONEN from Griswold, CT. - Palonen is a special education teacher at Griswold Middle School and was nominated by Lisa Coe, the mother of one of her students. Coe's daughter, Katie, is autistic and Palonen went above and beyond to work with her. Coe nominated Palonen because "she made us all better, and helped us to appreciate the gift of this extraordinary and rare child." In addition to her busy schedule of teaching and volunteer work, Palonen also is responsible for forming a speed-skating team at the school that competes each year in the Special Olympics.

ANN MARIE ROONEY from New Rochelle, NY - Rooney is a special education teacher at William B. Ward Elementary School and was nominated by Timothy Bavosa, a student's father. Bavosa's son is autistic and has suffered from emotional outbursts and tantrums throughout his childhood. Before he was seven years old, Bavosa's son, also Timothy, already had transferred to three schools before enrolling at William B. Ward Elementary in Rooney's class. Young Timothy came home after his first day and told his parents, "I love school and Mrs. Rooney is awesome," and since then his behavior and development have improved significantly. Bavosa wrote that "Mrs. Rooney has treated Timothy like her own child and has cared for him and guided him in a way that few could possibly conceive." Rooney is a hero to the Bavosa family.

SUZETTE STEWARD from Katy, TX - Steward is a special education teacher at Cinco Ranch Junior High School, and was nominated by parent Lisa Clements. In addition to her zest for teaching, Steward decided to take the fun and learning outside of the classroom and opened a camp to which her students can come on the weekends and during holiday and summer breaks. Clements wrote, "Suzette saw a 'need' for these kids to have a fun place to go and expand their social skills and abilities, as well as increase their academic standings."

RICK ZANO from Virginia Beach, VA - Zano is a social studies teacher at Princess Anne High School and was nominated by his colleague, Kim Love. Zano is known around his school for bringing history to life. It's not unusual to see him dressed as Marie Antoinette to discuss the French Revolution or transforming his classroom into a shipwreck. Zano also is quite active within the community and has organized school-wide assemblies centered around cyber-bullying, nutrition and diet and the dangers of texting while driving. "Rick Zano is a true 'EDU-tainer,'" Love writes, "an effective educator who enjoys entertaining his students in and out of the classroom."

After each finalist has been showcased during the week of April 29, "LIVE's" viewers will cast their votes for the overall Top Teacher. The 2013 Top Teacher will be announced on May 6.

Emmy Award-winning talk show "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" is distributed in national syndication by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York and executive produced by Michael Gelman, "LIVE" airs in more than 200 markets across the U.S. Visit "LIVE" on the web at LIVEKellyandMichael.com, on Facebook, or follow "LIVE" on Twitter, @KellyandMichael.





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