Riverside ESL teacher is Durham's Teacher of the Year

Posted May 10, 2012 10:07 p.m. EDT

— An English as a Second Language teacher at Riverside High School was named 2012 Teacher of the Year by Durham Public Schools during a banquet Thursday evening.

Alaina Burr has been a teacher for seven years and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in education from Greensboro College, according to a school system spokesman.

Burr was selected for the top honor out of four finalists – herself, Carrie Jacobsohn, Karen Lodata and Yolanda Reilly – by a committee of former teachers of the year.

She was awarded a $1,000 cash prize during a banquet at Washington Duke Inn. The other finalists received $500.

Burr said she is proud of the learning environment she has created for students.

"In my classroom, students no longer feel inhibited by their language abilities and take on leadership roles," she said in a news release. "As Durham Public Schools continues to embrace cultural diversity and global awareness, I recognize what an important asset these students are, and I strive to help them realize their potential."

Burr will now compete for Central Region Teacher of the Year.