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Southport Teacher Wins $1 Million Global Teacher Prize

SOUTHPORT, Maine — A longtime local teacher has won the inaugural $1 million Global Teacher Prize from the Dubai-based Varkey Foundation.

Nancie Atwell of Southport, founder of the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, was one of ten finalists for the award.

In comments posted to the prize's YouTube page, Atwell says she'll use the prize money, in part, to help more children attend her K-8 demonstration school.

"Our school is very low tuition and we offer a lot of tuition assistance, so we can keep a really rich mix, socioeconomic mix of children," she says. "Most of this money will go into tuition assistance."

Atwell says the school will also use the money to upgrade the roof and boilers and to be able to continually upgrade its reading rooms.

"Our kids are always blogging and listening and recommending," she says. "We need to just keep our books current so our kids can keep reading 40 books a year.""

Roughly 700 teachers from across the country have come to Center for Teaching and Learning for weeklong training sessions since the school opened in 1990.

The school is known for its self-directed reading curriculum, which allows kids to choose which books they want to read throughout the year.