Thousands of teachers were nominated this year, but it was the work being done inside the classroom at KIPP Excelencia Prep that brought the award to Redwood City.
Erica Stewart at Kipp Excelencia in Redwood City wins 2016 Fishman Prize.— Matt Keller (@MattKellerABC7) May 17, 2016
Math teacher gets $25k + 6 week residency. pic.twitter.com/OBJWrYWL01
ABC7 News was in Erica Stewart's fourth grade class at KIPP Excelencia Community Prep in Redwood City, along with her parents, to be there for a big announcement.
"I'm happy to announce that Miss Stewart won this year," said one school official during the big surprise.
Stewart is one of four teachers nationwide to win the 2016 Fishman Prize from the teacher advocacy non-profit TNTP.
The award recognizes the nation's most effective teachers working in high need public schools. She was nominated by her principal Kyle Shaffer.
"When you sit in Stewart's class. It really is a magical place," Shaffer said.
The fourth grade math teacher won $25,000 and a six week residency this summer where she and the three other Fishman Prize winners will meet with education leaders across the country and write essays about their insights in the classroom.
Stewart's students provide plenty of of testimony to prove she is a top teacher.
Erica Stewart's parents surprise RWC teacher to announce she won "Fishman Prize for superlative classroom practice." pic.twitter.com/1qETut98yD— Matt Keller (@MattKellerABC7) May 17, 2016
"I would describe math as one of the best math classes ever," said student Xiomara Abarca.
"She explains well, and I get good grades and I feel good about myself," said student Cynthia Mendoza.
"We have fun when we're working hard," said student Hector Chavez.
Working hard is a theme in Stewart's classroom and what she credits for her and her student's success.
"Really, really hard work. And you have to love what you're doing. It has to be the most important thing to put in the hard work, Stewart said.
More than 90 percent of Stewart's students have passed the state math exam.