FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A drama and choir teacher at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks is Alaska's new teacher of the year for 2003.
Alicia Lewis was notified Thursday by state education commissioner Shirley Holloway that she had been selected from among four finalists by a panel of educators, parents and administrators.
''It's an unbelievable honor to represent such high-caliber professionals,'' Lewis told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Lewis will be Alaska's representative in the national teacher of the year competition in Washington, D.C.
She had previously been honored as 2001 BP Teacher of the Year for Fairbanks.
Lewis, 39, began her professional life as a singer and actress.
''Right out of college, after my master's program, I was lucky enough to land a job with Michigan Opera Theater,'' she said. As an artist-in-residence with the company, she toured the state. ''That is when I first started working with the public school students.''
She became a teacher in the mid 1990s, came to Alaska in 1995 to teach at Point Hope and has been teaching in Fairbanks since 1997.
Her students are captivated by her, says Ann Shortt, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District superintendent.
''When you look at her, you know she is truly enjoying the whole process,'' Shortt said. ''She always sees just the best in students. She has high expectations of students. She is an inspiration.''
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