Immigrant named Alabama teacher of the year

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A native of Guatemala who mainly teaches Spanish-speaking students has been named Alabama's teacher of the year.

News outlets report that Ana Carolina Bechel of Weeden Elementary School in Florence was honored Wednesday night in Montgomery.

She calls the honor a "humbling experience."

Behel was raised in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish, and she's the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college. She's got degrees from the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama.

Behel says most of her students speak Spanish at home, and she teaches them English so they can connect with the community.

She now becomes Alabama's nominee for national teacher of the year. She will spend the year speaking for the state's education department and doing workshops for fellow educators.


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