Not surprisingly, even after the award, these teachers continue to do amazing things for children.
A case in point is Theresa Killingsworth, a fourth-grade teacher at Catalina Ventura Elementary, who was named a Rodel Exemplary Teacher in November 2004.
Killingsworth recently demonstrated her passion for teaching - and commitment to community service - by stretching her influence to make a difference for our troops 8,000 miles away in Afghanistan and their families at home.
Operation Bedtime Story began last spring when Killingsworth's school hosted a Character Counts night to involve families in its citizenship program. Using AnySoldier.com as a resource, Catalina Ventura families gathered enough donations to send 71 "care packages" to troops overseas.
But that was just the beginning.
One package ended up in the hands of Capt. Gregory Pipes. Pipes e-mailed his appreciation from Bagram air base and told how he regularly taped himself reading bedtime stories to his son and daughter. Pipes mailed the tapes and books back home so his kids could cuddle up in front of the TV with their books and hear daddy read to them.
He wanted his entire platoon to have the same opportunity.
Pipes and Killingsworth became inspired by the challenge. Killingsworth approached Sandra Carpenter at Borders Books.
Carpenter was stunned with Killingsworth's vision and passion for the project and responded by setting up donation stations at Borders Books stores across the Valley.
The community took action by purchasing hundreds of titles for Killingsworth to ship to Pipes' platoon in Afghanistan.
"I can't imagine Theresa ever thinks that something can't be done," Carpenter said. "She is an enthusiastic advocate for these soldiers and their families."
In a recent e-mail from Afghanistan, Pipes wrote, "Killingsworth is clearly a teacher who thinks outside her classroom walls. She is energized, even in the summertime, to make a difference for children and families she's never met."
Congratulations to Exemplary Teacher Theresa Killingsworth for great work in the classroom - and beyond.
To learn more about Rodel Exemplary Teachers, go to http://www.rodelfoundationaz.org./
Carol Peck is president and chief executive officer of the Rodel Foundation of Arizona. Send your questions and ideas for future coverage of outstanding programs to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.