- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A special-education teacher in Woonsocket has been named Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year.

A special-education teacher and coordinator at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, Nikos Giannopoulos, received the honor in a surprise ceremony Thursday.

Giannopoulos is the state’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.

He was selected at the end of this school year, but will serve as Teacher of the Year at the beginning of next school year and be a candidate for the national contest for 2017.

Board of Education Chair Barbara Cottam says Giannopoulos helps students do their best in school, especially in difficult subjects.

She says he has innovative ideas and builds trusting relationships with students.

He has taught at Beacon for six years and coordinates the school’s Gay Straight Alliance.

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