A teacher in north-central Iowa is zipping around in a new red convertible while his school ponders ways to spend tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. Don Dye was voted national Teacher of the Year on the ABC-TV program “Live with Regis and Kelly” on Monday. Dye teaches English at Belmond Klemme High School and says it’s the thrill of a lifetime.
Dye says, “Staples gave the school a $20,000 gift certificate to use any way that we see fit so it was absolutely monumental for me and for the school both, because with budget cuts everywhere these days regarding schools, it’s a very, very welcome help to us here at Belmond Klemme.” The school also got a $10,000 gift certificate for books from Barnes and Noble. In addition to a red 2011 Ford Mustang, Dye was also stunned by a trip that’s being arranged for him as another prize.
Dye is a big fan of singer Michael Buble, as are many of his students. The program is sending Dye on an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans this summer for a Buble concert, including back-stage passes and an arranged meeting with the crooner. Dye says out of the thousands of nomination letters that were sent to the show, the list of the nation’s top teachers was whittled down to ten, and then the ten were narrowed to five by an on-line vote. He says he was “thunderstruck” to be named the nation’s overall winner.
“I even had some former students serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who organized blocks of votes over there,” he says. “It’s global and it’s very humbling and overwhelming.” Dye has been teaching since 1971 and has been at Belmond-Klemme 37 years. He has no plans to retire and says he loves his job.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City