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[04/29/14 - 01:14 PM]
"Live with Kelly and Michael" Announces Five Finalists in "Live's Top Teacher Search"
All five will travel to "Live's" New York City studio to appear on the show during "Top Teacher Week," May 12-16.

[via press release from Disney-ABC Domestic Television]

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

Hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan Reveal the Five Educators Who Will be Honored During "Top Teacher Week" May 12-16, 2014 on "LIVE"

NEW YORK, NY - April 29, 2014 - This morning on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced the five stellar educators chosen as finalists for the 2014 edition of "LIVE's Top Teacher Search." All five will travel to "LIVE's" New York City studio to appear on the show during "Top Teacher Week," May 12-16, 2014.

Back in March, "LIVE" announced the return of the show's annual search to honor teachers from across the country for making their schools better, and for their service and commitment to their students and communities. Last Friday, April 25, the hosts announced the 12 semi-finalists, and then it was up to the viewers to vote for their five favorites. After each finalist has been honored during the week of May 12, "LIVE's" viewers will cast their votes for the overall Top Teacher, whose name will be announced on May 20, and who will take home the grand prize of a 2015 Ford Escape.

The 2014 finalists are:

ATHENA DAVIS, English/AP English/Holocaust Literature, Cleveland High School, Cleveland, Tenn. - Davis was nominated by the parent of one of her students who described her as "an amazing and creative teacher," who "inspires greatness from her students" and "is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her." Herself an alumna of Cleveland High, Davis spearheads a faculty/student book club, sponsors the students' participation in Model UN, co-chairs the prom committee and works to seek out donations for students with money issues; and encourages her Holocaust Literature classes to take action with regard to current social issues.

JOHN MOTCHKAVITZ, Business Technology Dept. Head, Wm. A. Shine Great Neck South High, Great Neck, N.Y. - Motchkavitz, or "Motch" as he's known to members of the school and community, was nominated by fellow teacher Sheryl Burger and the rest of the Business/Technology Department at their school. In the nomination, Burger noted "When we think of a person that makes a difference both in the classroom, around school and in his community, Motch is that guy." Involved on all levels at Great Neck South High - Burger describes him as "the backbone" of the school - he also gives back to his community as a volunteer firefighter.

STACIE STARR, Intervention Specialist, Elyria High School, Elyria, Ohio - Maryann Verlotti, mother of one of Starr's students, wrote to "LIVE" to describe the profound effect Starr has had on her son, who, as a young child, was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. She talked about watching her son "blossom into the strong young man he is today" through his participation in Starr's mentoring group, and describes Starr as "the hardest-working, most selfless woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!"

NEBOJSA STOJKOVIC, Math Teacher, Walled Lake Central High School, Walled Lake, Mich. - Stojkovic was nominated by former student athlete Kelsey Prena, who gave him the ultimate compliment in her nomination letter: "I would not be the person I am today if I had not had him as a coach." In addition to utilizing fun and innovative methods to teach math, Stojkovic also coaches track and field, and beyond the classroom is a dedicated community volunteer who heads up a non-profit organization that raises money for a local children's hospital and for families in the community with high medical costs. Prena asserted that "He has single-handedly bettered the lives of his students, athletes, community members, and anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting him."

WENDY TICKEL, Special Needs Teacher, Belmont Elementary School, Roanoke Rapids, N.C. - Cindy Gentry, whose child was in Tickel's Special Needs class for seven years, wrote to "LIVE" and described Tickel's extraordinary efforts on behalf of her students, all of whom "have a variety of educational, physical, and special needs that cannot be met in a regular classroom." Gentry noted that "Not only does she teach her students the individual academic skills they need daily, but she goes far above and beyond what a normal teacher would ever be called upon to do." Local field trips as well as overnight travels provide her students "with experiences to assist them in preparing for life outside of school," and helping them to raise funds for the trips helps to "instill the values of responsibility and working hard to achieve a collective goal."

"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 and Instagram, @KellyandMichael.





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