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Burbank's National Teacher of the Year winner returns to school

April 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Burbank teacher was honored by her students Monday after being named National Teacher of the Year. It was just last week that Rebecca Mieliwocki of Luther Burbank Middle School was honored by President Barack Obama.

Greeted with rousing cheers from students and her fellow teachers, Mieliwocki returned to the school. Her students were eager to let her know how much she means to them.

Mielwocki has been a seventh grade English teacher at Luther Burbank for nine years. She's praised by educators for her devotion to students. Burbank school officials say her top teacher honor lets the rest of the country know that Burbank isn't just an entertainment hub.

"What we were able to show them in these last few days in Washington, D.C., is that there's a whole different class of super heros that come from Burbank, and that's our teachers," said Stan Carrizosa, superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District.

She was recognized by President Obama last week in a ceremony at the White House. The president noted that Mielwocki is a self-proclaimed goofball.

"She was a little goofy when I met her," the president said with a laugh. "She was back there teasing me."

Mielwocki said she's proud of the honor and passionate about teaching. She will spend a year out of the classroom as a national spokeswoman for public education.