Wal-Mart taking applications through Feb. 23

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Wal-Mart Stores and Sam's Club is looking for teachers in the area who deserve recognition and may be nominated for the Teacher of the Year program.

"Everyone has someone who inspired them to be successful, whether you're still a student or not," Alex Garcia, co-manager of Wal-Mart said. "(Our) community is full of great teachers who deserve our thanks. At Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, we're proud to recognize those who instill knowledge and passion into the minds of their students."

Each Wal-Mart and Sam's Club location across the United States will name a winning Teacher of the Year in honor of National Teacher's Day on May 8. Deadline to submit a teacher for recognition is Feb. 23.

The program will recognize more than 4,000 teachers nationwide with the foundation donating about $5 million for three types of awards.

Local winners will receive $1,000 for their school, $100 gift card to buy supplies for their classroom, a polo shirt and certificate.

Those teachers will be invited to apply for state recognition by completing and submitting a comprehensive application by June 1.

State winners, selected by members of the Phi Delta Kappa international educational fraternity, will receive $10,000 for their school campus, business cards a State Teacher of the Year certificate and a one-year membership to PDK. All state winners are automatically entered into the national competition.

One national winner will receive $25,000 as National Teacher of the Year. The award will be announced in November.

Since 1995, Wal-Mart Stores Teacher of the Year Program has honored more than 26,000 teachers nationwide and donated more than $23.5 million to local schools.

"We are looking for those teachers who go above and beyond the normal expectations of their teaching contract," Cathy Moore, Wal-Mart program manager said. "This program is all about recognizing teachers in our communities who are doing an outstanding job teaching, leading and mentoring America's youth."