BURBANK (CBS) — An English teacher in Burbank was granted the nation’s oldest and most prestigious teaching honor on Monday.

Rebecca Mieliwocki was named the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and earned a trip to the White House for a Rose Garden ceremony in which she will be formally recognized by President Barack Obama.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports Mieliwocki has been a teacher for 13 years, including nine years at Luther Burbank Middle School, where she teaches general education and Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) classes.

“Not many people can say at the end of the day they’ve made a difference in someone’s life and their future,” said Mieliwocki.

The Cal State Poly San Luis Obispo graduate said she never intended to become an educator, initially studying law and then going into publishing before finally realizing that she could make the most of her talents inside a classroom.

“I think I have just a positive thirst for my job,” said Mieliwocki. “I love kids, I love what I do, I’m happy to be there every day.”

Mieliwocki will serve a year as a national education spokeswoman in her role as the 62nd National Teacher of the Year.

Sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, the National Teacher of the Year Program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador programs.

It was the CCSSO that announced Mieliwocki had been chosen first among the nation’s 3.2 million teachers.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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