By John Martin, CNN
(CNN) – President Obama praised more than 50 teachers at a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. The educators were previously honored by their states and territories as Teachers of the Year. President Obama told the group “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for teachers like these.”
On Monday, The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that Rebecca Mieliwocki, a 7th grade English teacher from California, is the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. The 14-year veteran educator said, ““I have an unshakeable understanding that when children have a strong education, they can do anything.”
Earlier in an interview, Mieliwocki said, “I'm not the best teacher in America; I'm one of so many.”
California chose Mieliwocki as the state’s Teacher of the Year from among its roughly 287,000 teachers. The state’s selection process included a written application, visits by officials to her classroom and an interview. Mieliwocki is known for her teaching techniques at Luther Burbank Middle School. She would play music on her iPad while students work, or use playing cards to select students randomly to read in class.
One of Mieliwocki’s colleagues, Sue Lipschultz, told the Los Angeles Daily News, “My feeling is that [Mieliwocki] should be training teachers – she's that good – but she loves those kids and loves being in the classroom."
A panel of educators from 15 national organizations chose Mieliwocki from the Teachers of the Year of all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., four U.S. territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity. State teachers of the year are nominated by students, teachers, principals and district administrators.