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Green Street Academy Special Educator Named Teacher Of The Year

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It was a joyous day at a Southwest Baltimore grade school. There were five finalists for the Baltimore City Public Schools Teacher Of The Year, but only one winner.

Mike Schuh reports on the moment this year's winner learned of her honor.

Thirty-three-year-old Lekia Stokes is ready, her gift to her twin sister held patiently.

"I like my sister," she said.

At the Green Street Academy, Lekia's sister, Ketia, patiently leads a classroom of autistic students.

"I believe she knew it was a gift from God. She utilized her gift to help her sister first. Once she helped her sister and then she was able to go out and use her gift to help others," said Linda Stokes, mom.

In a moment, flowers will be the first thing Ketia Stokes sees.

Dr. Andres Alonso, the superintendent, started out as a special education teacher, just like Ketia Stokes, who was one of five finalists for City Teacher of the Year.

Her mother says she's been a teacher all her life.

"It really started after her twin had not one, but two surgeries for brain tumors," Linda Stokes said. "Ketia just knew what her role was. At 8 years old she became her sister's teacher, then a teacher of autistic children."

Alonso seemed delighted to present her with the honor.

"I've always felt ever since I was little that I was called to be a teacher," Ketia Stokes said. "That was my gift to give back to others,  to help them be more independent by striving them to achieve for more because I grew up in a family who always pushed me to be my best and my sister pushed me the most."

Listening in was her student, 11-year-old Zachary Wilkins.

"I want to recognize Ms. Stokes from a great place. She's a great teacher at Green Street," Wilkins said.

Ketia Stokes says her background opens doors with her students and with their families.

"I think it helps me to have a special patience and understanding with the families because I'm not only teaching, I'm living. I'm still currently living that life," Ketia Stokes said.

Ketia Stokes will now go on to vie for the Maryland State Teacher Of The Year award.

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