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Career-Changer Transitions into the Classroom, Receives American Board Missouri Teacher of the Year Award

WASHINGTON, DC (August 8, 2013) – The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence today announced BIRDIE PRUESSNER, a math teacher at City Academy in St. Louis as the American Board Missouri Teacher of the Year. This award honors an American Board alum who exemplifies the organization’s belief that the inspiration to teach comes from a commitment to the community and the desire to make a difference.

Birdie Pruessner from Saint Louis MissouriIn addition to her classroom teaching, Pruessner plans curriculums for a variety of grade levels and subjects, including gardening and sustainability. “[She] has the ability to work with all ranges of youth,” stated Kelly Tyson, who nominated Pruessner for the award. “She adapts to age appropriate educational needs with ease. [She] demonstrates an outstanding ability to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes.”

“I work hard to be accessible to my students,” said Pruessner when asked what part of teaching she finds the most rewarding. “They know I care about them and that sentiment allows me to push them. I find the challenge of knowing each of my students personally and working to help them reach their goals extremely rewarding.”

The Teacher of the Year award celebrates teachers who completed the American Board’s program and who, in many cases, gave up high paying professional careers to pursue a love of teaching. “I was an insurance agent, newlywed, and full-time student when I enrolled in the American Board program,” said Pruessner. “When I realized the impact one teacher can have on a student, I knew I wanted to teach. My inspiration comes from the possibility, the pressure, and the practice of teaching.”

“As a former superintendent and principal, I recognize the value of finding teachers like Birdie who understand and care about their local community,” said SHAWN ARÉVALO McCOLLOUGH, President and CEO of the American Board. “A passionate and committed teacher truly inspires learning.”

For more information on all the winners, click here.

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Established by the U.S. Department of Education in 2001, the American Board ( is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to building strong communities by preparing, certifying, and supporting teachers. Through a flexible and cost-effective certification program, the American Board has awarded more than 4,000 teacher certifications across 12 states.