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National Online Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Three finalists for the National Online Teacher of the Year Award were announced yesterday by the Southern Regional Education Board and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. The two nonprofit groups created the award in 2010 to recognize outstanding K-12 teachers specializing in virtual education and to bring attention to high-impact practices in online teaching.

This year's finalists, selected by the judging committee from a pool 49 nominees, are:

Renee Citlau, online business teacher, Cypress High School, Anaheim (Calif.) Union High School District

Jennifer Currin, English teacher, North Carolina Virtual Public School

Michelle Licata, history and psychology teacher, Florida Virtual School

All three have been teaching in virtual-education environments for at least three years. According to their bios, they all also see online learning as offering new opportunities to engage struggling students and individualize instruction.

"[My students] come to me jaded, discouraged and unsure of their own potential. They need that second chance. They need a personalized learning experience," says Currin, who teaches credit-recovery classes to students who have fallen behind. "It is in the online classroom that I am able to give these students and their families the one-on-one attention and help that they need."

The award winner will be named on March 7.

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