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Prison Educator Named Teacher Of The Year

Peter Biello for NHPR

For the first time in its 67-year history, the New Hampshire's Teacher of the Year award has been given to an educator working in New Hampshire's prisons.

Kimberly Piper-Stoddard works for New Hampshire's Department of Corrections teaching English at the prisons' Granite State High School for both men and women.

In a surprise ceremony attended by her family as well as the commissioners of the Department of Education and the Department of Corrections, Piper-Stoddard accepted the award. She says part of her success as a teacher is recognizing her students as unique human beings.

"The students in my classroom are trying to get their lives back on track. And being able to help them and honor them along the way, and be tough with them when I need to be tough, and be supportive when they need support, that's the thing that's most rewarding about being here."

35 year-old Tony Hebert is one of Piper-Stoddard's students. He says she helps him with communications and parenting skills at the Family Connections Center. He says he's proud of her.

"For me it's - I go back to my children because for me that's what she's helped me with the most. Just the confidence that what I'm doing as a father has been very helpful and...it's working."

Piper-Stoddard now becomes New Hampshire's candidate for the national Teacher Of The Year award. 

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