alex_lopes_web.jpgORLANDO — Alex Lopes, pre-kindergarten special education teacher from Carol City Elementary School in Miami-Dade County was named the 2013 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year during the awards gala held July 12 at Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando.

Hundreds of teachers from throughout the state, as well as a group of Lopes’ family and friends, were on hand to celebrate his achievement following the program, which was hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Deborah Norville.


The announcement was made by Mike Krauter, Macy’s president of Stores, and Florida Commissioner of Education Gerard Robinson.

Macy’s presented Lopes with a check totaling $10,000, a $1,000 wardrobe, a $1,000 check for his school and an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

“Alex exhibits the bold leadership skills and dedicated commitment that exemplifies an outstanding role model for Florida educators and students,” said Education Commissioner Robinson.

“Tonight we celebrate the positive impact effective teaching has on student achievement. Through Florida’s teachers’ continued dedication to achieve excellence in their classroom, Florida's students, families, and district school leaders are all winners.”

This marks the 24th year of Macy’s sponsorship of the Florida Teacher of the Year program.

In May, Macy’s awarded $5,000 to each of the other four finalists — 9th through 12th English and Technology teacher Jeffrey Pribble of Escambia High School in Escambia County; 4th and 5th Grade General Education teacher Megan Crombie of Riversink Elementary School in Wakulla County; 6th through 8th Social Studies teacher Dawn Voyer of Cypress Lake

Middle School in Lee County; and 9th through 12th Grade Reading and College Readiness teacher Nanci Brillant of Saint Cloud High School in Osceola County. Each of their respective schools also received $1,000.

Additionally, Macy’s presented the Magic of Teaching Award to Tesfa Wondemagegnehu from Freedom High School in Orange County.

Macy’s Magic of Teaching award is presented to a teacher who goes beyond the basic job description with a unique ability to continue positive growth in their students. Tesfa was honored with the award and a $1,000 Macy’s gift card.

Macy’s has annually contributed $100,000 to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, making it one of the largest corporate cash contributions to Florida public schools. To date, Macy’s has contributed more than $2 million to teachers throughout the state.

During the awards ceremony, 67 district winners were recognized and received $750 from Macy’s, plus $250 for programs at their respective schools.

The Florida Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Florida’s top educator is selected on the basis of the superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching and outstanding school and community service. The most important qualification is the teacher’s ability to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. 

“Macy’s congratulates Alex Lopes for achieving such a prestigious honor among so many accomplished teachers in Florida.

“Alex’s love of teaching and dynamic style is evident in his students’ successes,” said Mike Krauter, Macy’s president of Stores.

“Alex not only equips them with the fundamentals, but also empowers them with the confidence to meet life’s challenges.”

Photo: Alex Lopes