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Capital City Charter School Teacher Wins 2020 D.C. Teacher of the Year

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    EL Education

Justin Lopez-Cardoze got the surprise of a lifetime Wednesday morning.

The District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, State Superintendent Hanseul Kang, and staff at Capital City Public Charter Middle School announced that Justin Lopez-Cardoze is the 2020 recipient of the D.C. Teacher of the Year award.

One eighth-grade student called him a "father-figure."

So it's no wonder why he was recognized with the big award.

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"He's like a father figure. He's that type of teacher that will never judge you based on what you look like or what you dress like. "I love him." Student, Capital City Public Charter School

Lopez-Cardoze thought he was attending a pep-rally for the schools improving test scores. However, his husband, mother and the entire school were behind the surprise.

“I was completely surprised because my principal and I don’t know who else was keeping this large surprise such a secret” said Lopez-Cardoze.

He currently serves as the school’s Science Department chair, seventh grade-level team lead, and middle school representative on the school’s Equity Core Committee.

“He just brings light to the room. He’s the type of person you can just be real with him” said Jacqueline from Capital City Public Charter School.

Lopez-Cardoze has been teaching at Capital City Public Charter School for the last four years.

The State Superintendent says he is a teacher committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. “We need to not have a one size fits all on education” said Lopez-Cardoze.

Kang says she chose him because of this. “His passion is evident. We love how much he is committed to growing as an educator.”

He was also awarded a $7,500 which he says will go right back to his students.

He will also receive an additional $1,500 to support travel to national conferences, workshops, and other professional development opportunities during his one-year term as 2020 DC Teacher of the Year.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education also awarded $1,500 to two other 2020 DC Teacher of the Year finalists — Beth Barkley an English Language Arts and Human Rights / Social Justice teacher at the Cardozo High School International Academy, and Dr. Daniel Spruill, a music educator at Center City Public Charter School’s Brightwood Campus.

Read the full article here.