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UCSD Preuss School teacher a finalist for U.S. teacher of the year

An educator at The Preuss School at UCSD has been selected as one of four “National Teacher of the Year’’ finalists, it was announced Tuesday.

Kelly Kovacic teaches 12th-grade government and politics and 11th-grade history courses at The Preuss School.

She was among two local educators recently named as “California Teachers of the Year” by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. O’Connell also chose Kovacic to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

“Ms. Kovacic’s passion for teaching makes her a natural educator,” O’Connell said in a statement.

“During her relatively eight short years in the classroom, she has made a tremendous impact on the lives of her students,” he added. “Kelly has an innate ability to transcend the boundaries of her students’ world and provide them with the education, encouragement and resolve to overcome hurdles, and realize their own potential.”

It is the third consecutive year that a California teacher has reached the national finals.

The 2010 winner is expected to be announced in April by the Council of Chief State School Officers, and later honored at a White House ceremony.