Indiana Charter School Teacher Announced as Finalist in 2014 National Teaching Award Competition

Indiana Charter School Teacher Announced as Finalist in 2014 National Teaching Award Competition

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Thousands of votes cast in parent-led competition to honor innovative charter school teachers

ARLINGTON, Va., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National parent organization,, today announced Hoosier Academy teacher Alissa Smith has been selected as a national runner up in its annual American Pioneer of Teaching award competition. Now in its fifth year, the annual competition is held to recognize top performing K-12 teachers who work in nontraditional public schools, such as virtual, charter and magnet schools.

The competition, which is held as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week, allows the online community to nominate teachers and vote through Facebook to select the winner. Hundreds of teachers from charter schools across the country were nominated this year and thousands of Facebook votes were cast to select the winner and national runners up.

"The exciting growth of this year's competition demonstrates the breadth and enthusiasm of the charter school community and its support for dedicated and innovative teachers," said Board member Amy Threewitt. "We congratulate Alissa Smith and the hundreds of teachers who were nominated because students and parents recognize their commitment to meeting the individualized learning needs of each and every student. As a parent of children enrolled in several different types of public charter schools, it is an honor to celebrate these teachers who make different learning environments possible."

In addition to Smith, Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy teacher Heather McFarland, Pennsylvania Connections Academy teacher William Erler, and Texas Virtual Academy teacher Priscilla Metting have been named as national runners up. Georgia Cyber Academy teacher Christian Kraus was named the winner. Information about the winner and 10 finalists is available at and its competition Facebook page.

"Virtual education provides an option for students that were not meeting their full potential in a traditional classroom and families that want more involvement in their child's education.  Education is very focused on differentiation and refusing to see all students as the same; virtual schools provide a choice for families to fit their unique needs," said Alissa Smith. "I am grateful for the opportunity to see my students succeed and organizations such as that advocate for families, students and teachers." is a national alliance of parents, students and teachers that supports and defends parents' rights to access the best public school options for their children. The organization advocates for the growth and expansion of these schools and for policies that support open enrollment and free and equal access to these public school options for all children without restrictions.

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