On Thursday, three teachers from the Anchorage School District were surprised with news that they have been named 2019 BP Teachers of Excellence. They are three of five Anchorage teachers who received the honor. 

"Over the last few months, students, parents and colleagues have been nominating their teachers for the BP Teachers of Excellence award," Associate Director of Public Affairs for BP Alaska Tara Stevens said. "We just made the selections and so we're going to all the winners, letting them know that they will be honored at a ceremony this year which happens later this month."

ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop wanted to visit each of the Anchorage schools to surprise the winners. She also brings along pencils and erasers as gifts for the younger kids.

She had already notified Natasha Bergt from Huffman Elementary and Kelly Corrigan from Service High School that they had won. On Thursday, she and Stevens set out to notify the other three. 

The first teacher Bishop and Stevens surprised was Dimond High School English teacher Antara Brewer. Brewer said she didn't think she'd learn whether she won the award until May.

"I was totally surprised. I mean I knew that I had been nominated, obviously," Brewer said. 

Brewer was surprised during third hour when she didn't have a class. To pull off the surprise, Dimond High principal Tina Johnson-Harris called her to the gymnasium. When Brewer walked in, she was greeted with cheers and applause from a crowd of high school seniors.

"I don't think I could be the teacher that I am without the students that we have here an also very particularly without my colleagues," Brewer said.

The next teacher surprised was Northwood ABC Elementary kindergarten teacher Karen Gordon. Dr. Bishop and Stevens stopped by the classroom unannounced and shared the news, plus some pencils and erasers with the class.

"I feel honored to get this because I don't do it by myself," Gordon said. "I depend on my other friends here at work."

The last visit of the morning was to Bayshore Elementary School. Fourth grade teacher Trena Rose was busy with PEAKS testing when she got a call from principal Heidi Packer to come to the office. When Rose arrived, a group of former students, now fifth graders, greeted her with cheers and hugs. 

Rose said she was curious what her principal could want to talk about during such an important time like standardized testing.

"Totally surprised," Rose said. "In the middle of PEAKS testing it's very serious, and here comes my principal to ask for a minute of time." 

From across the state, a total of 21 educators will be recognized as BP Teachers of Excellence at a ceremony on April 24. 

Along with the teachers, the company will announce and recognize six Educational Allies from around the state at the ceremony. It will also award the grand prize to the statewide BP Teacher of the Year.

For more on the BP Teachers of Excellence, visit the program's website. click here www.bpteachers.com/

Here are the 21 winners statewide:

Jeannette Fortune Ladd Elementary School Fairbanks
Tanya Mendelowitz North Pole Elementary School North Pole
Rebecca Missler North Pole High School North Pole
Carolyn Soderlund Austin E. Lathrop High School Fairbanks
Rebecca Zaverl Denali Elementary School Fairbanks
Natasha Bergt Huffman Elementary School Anchorage
Antara Brewer AJ Dimond High School Anchorage
Kelly Corrigan Robert Service High School Anchorage
Karen Gordon Northwood ABC Elementary School Anchorage
Trena Rose Bayshore Elementary School Anchorage
Julie Doepken William H. Seward Elementary School Seward
Jennifer Hornung Nikisi Middle/High School  
Wendy Todd Paul Banks Elementary School Homer
Kimbelry Flinn Goose Bay Elementary School Wasilla
Sara Lamont Ron Larson Elementary School Palmer
Stacy Molina Academy Charter School Palmer
Sarah Shepard Colony High School Wasilla
Danielle Huerta St. Mary's School Kodiak
Candace Mudge Denali Borough School District Healy
Jody Smothers-Marcello Sitka High School Sitka
Gretchen Striker Tri-Valley School Healy

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