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‘Kelly and Michael,’ ‘Rachael Ray’ Shows Recognize and Reward Teachers

By Mark Walsh — May 07, 2015 2 min read
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It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and teachers have been getting some love on daytime TV.

On “Live with Kelly and Michael,” the syndicated morning talk show starring Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, the Top Teacher Search has run all week. The show has featured nice taped packages on four semifinalists, nominated by viewers.

The teachers are Lori Killino, a special education teacher in the Pocono Mountain district in Pennsylvania; Tal Thompson, a 4th grade math and social studies teacher in Blythewood, S.C.; Donn Harrison, an elementary teacher in Cameron, Mo.; and Kristie Downie, an elementary teacher in Bowling Green, Ky.

Killino’s segment was my favorite. It shows her not only in the classroom, but with the Pride Squad, a cheerleading squad for girls with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

The other profiles, as well as short follow-up segments with each teacher meeting the hosts, are here.

The “Kelly and Michael” show awarded all four semifinalists a trophy, a technology prize for their schools (which differed each day), and a personalized gift, such as a trip to Hawaii or new kitchen appliances. The Top Teacher champion will be announced Friday, and he or she will win a Ford Edge. Pretty nifty.

[UPDATE: Donn Harrison is the Top Teacher winner. In addition to the car, he gets a surprise check for $20,000. Here’s the video:]

Meanwhile, on “The Rachael Ray Show” on Thursday, the celebrity chef recognized teachers by welcoming second lady Jill Biden, the noted community college instructor (and wife of Vice President Joe Biden), and Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year.

Peeples was announced as the top teacher by President Barack Obama at the White House last week, in the program run by the Council of Chief State School Officers. She tells Rachael Ray that the program helps elevate all teachers.

So, I have one minor bone to pick (so to speak) with Rachael Ray. She welcomed the Teacher of the Year to her cooking show, where Ray is known for effortlessly whipping up such dishes as pasta carbonara with asparagus and peas, pacchieri alla Genovese, and garlicky chicken Kiev with herb salad.

And what does she serve Peeples? Chicken nuggets.

Granted, these were Jill Biden’s recipe for somewhat elevated nuggets. (The key is Italian breadcrumbs for the coating, the second lady said.) But doesn’t the average teacher get more than her share of school cafeteria chicken nuggets? Just a thought.

All in all, it was some nice recognition for teachers by two daytime shows.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.