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[via press release from Disney/ABC Domestic Television]


Four Stellar Educators Will Travel to New York City to Be Honored on "LIVE" the Week of May 4-8, 2015

New York, NY - April 22, 2015 - On today's "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan revealed the four finalists in "LIVE's" sixth annual "Top Teacher Search." The four standout educators will travel to New York City to be honored on "LIVE" during "Top Teacher Week," May 4-8, 2015.

After the 2015 edition of "Top Teacher Week" was announced last month on "LIVE," educators from across the nation were nominated for going above and beyond for their schools, communities and students. Yesterday, Tuesday, April 21, Ripa and Strahan announced the 12 semi-finalists and encouraged viewers to weigh in on their favorite. Following today's news, each finalist will appear on "LIVE" from May 4-7, and then viewers will cast their votes to choose the winner. On Friday, May 8, the educator who has received the most votes will be named this year's Top Teacher live on air and take home the grand prize.

The 2015 finalists are:

Kristie Downing - Second and Third Grade at Rich Pond Elementary in Bowling Green, Kentucky - Downing was nominated by the parent of one of her students, who describes her as "the most kind, compassionate, and life-changing" teacher she has ever met. She is an educator who "students never forget" and one who has the adoration and respect of her community. Downing attends her students' extracurricular activities, spends time with them outside of the classroom (whether it's visiting a student in the hospital or taking one to a baseball game) and even provides Christmas presents and clothing for students in need. Most importantly, Downing has an innate ability for making each child feel loved and special.

Donn Harrison - Kindergarten at Parkview Elementary in Cameron, Missouri - Harrison not only is a beloved teacher of 21 years, but also is an integral member of his community who fights fires and is considered "the voice of Cameron." After witnessing a student fall, Harrison became an EMT so he could be better equipped to handle emergency situations, and currently works summers and weekends on the ambulance. He founded DECA, which fosters leadership skills by teaming students with people in business, has created reading lessons that have been used by other districts and is always the first one to lend a helping hand in school. Plus, every morning, rain or shine, he can be found greeting families as Parkview Elementary's crossing guard.

Lori Killino - Emotional Support Teacher, Sixth Grade, at Clear Run Intermediate School in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania - Amy Quinn wrote to "LIVE" to describe the incredible impact that Killino has had on her daughter Abby, an 8 year old who has Down Syndrome. Killino came into their lives when Abby joined "Coach Lori's" special needs cheerleading squad, The Pride Squad. Quinn notes that Killino works "tirelessly on behalf of children with special needs both in school and out of school." Through the Pride Squad, Killino enables special needs children to "do what they love, be happy and accepted by others," ultimately changing many young lives. Quinn also adds that Killino is "truly an angel on Earth." In the classroom, she teaches math, English, social studies and social skills to special needs students, has created her own unique reading program, and also launched a network that connects parents of special needs children to one another.

Tal Thompson - Fourth Grade at Lake Carolina Elementary Upper Campus in Blythewood, South Carolina - "LIVE" received 17 nominations for Thompson, from students, parents, interns, a former principal and his wife. It's hard to miss the 6'8" Thompson when he walks into school, and his energy in the classroom is unmatched. A parent of one of Thompson's student explains that he does more than just teach, he "demonstrates, engages, sings and energizes," and he strives to "create young leaders, lifelong learners and confident citizens." Thompson writes his own lyrics to popular songs to help students learn challenging material in math and science, turns his classroom into a science habitat five times a year and records mini lessons on YouTube. He also implemented the "Amazing Shake" program, which aims to prepare students for the real world by practicing eye contact with peers, faculty and the community.

"LIVE with Kelly and Michael" is distributed in national syndication by Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution. 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.

  [april 2015]  


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