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Ecuadorian Teacher in Des Moines Named ‘Iowa Teacher of the Year’

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year Award recipient says her hope is that all immigrant children in the state see her success as affirmation for their own potential.

Governor Terry Branstad awarded Clemencia Spizzirri, a Spanish teacher at Merrill Middle School, and immigrant from Ecuador, as 'Teacher of the Year' Friday in front of an assembly of teachers and students. Applicants for the award are judged by a committee including representatives from the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa State Education Association, the School Administrators of Iowa, and the Iowa Association of School Boards, to name a few.

Spizzirri grew up as the youngest of seven children in Quito - Ecuador's capital. She taught English in the city before moving to the U.S. in 2003. Governor Branstad called Spizzirri an inspiration for all students who speak English as a second language.