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GCPS librarian in running for million dollar prize

September 24, 2021

     Cicely Lewis, the media specialist at Meadowcreek High School, is a finalist for the 2021 Global Teacher Prize. Sponsored by the Varkey Foundation, the Global Teacher Prize is a $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional educator who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

     Lewis, the School Library Journal and Scholastic 2020 School Librarian of Year, says she can’t believe she’s been named a finalist. “Just being nominated is an honor to me,” Lewis said. “Many people don't understand how important it is to have a school librarian in the building and I feel this sends a powerful message about the power of librarians. This has been an amazing experience and receiving so many positive messages from colleagues, students, and people across the world makes me feel like a million bucks. The outpour of support that I have received energizes me and motivates me to do more.”

     Lewis is one of 50 finalists from around the world. The Prize is open to currently working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are between the ages of five and eighteen. Teachers who teach children age 4+ in an Early Years government-recognized curriculum are also eligible, as are teachers who teach on a part-time basis, and teachers of online courses. Teachers must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching children face-to-face, and plan to remain in the teaching profession for the next 5 years. The Prize is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world. 

     Lewis has big plans if she wins. She explains, “It would mean the world to me to win and so much to my students and the community that I serve,” Lewis said. “I would be able to fund scholarships for students, grants for teachers, a bookmobile for my hometown of West Point, MS and that's just the tip of the iceberg.”

     Since 2014, the Global Teacher Prize has gone from strength to strength, with the 2020 Prize bringing in over 12,000 applications and nominations.