United Kingdom teacher wins $1M teaching prize for inner city work

Andria Zafirakou from north London wins $1m 'world's best teacher' prize

Andria Zafirakou from north London wins $1m 'world's best teacher' prize

An art teacher in the United Kingdom has won a highly-competitive teaching prize worth more than a million dollars for her work with students from one of Britain's poorest and most ethinically diverse areas.

Andria Zafirakou, 39, was selected from thousands of applicants around the world for her work with migrant children at Alperton Community School in Brent.

Ms Zafirakou, a teacher at Alperton Community School, was awarded for her work in the London borough of Brent.

Alperton Community School is in one of the poorest areas of the country and pupils come from a variety of backgrounds.

Sunny Varkey, whose foundation set up the annual global teacher prize, said he wanted to "inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession".

During the event hosted by South African comic Trevor Noah, London-based Zafirakou was revealed as the final victor of the US$1 million (Dhs3.67m) prize, plucked from a pool of 10 finalists from all over the world.

Andria Zafirakou defeated more than 30,000 nominees in 173 countries. "So, thank you for all you have done and continue to do". She also visits students at home to strengthen their relationship with the school.

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"Congratulations to Andria Zafirakou for having won the Global Teacher award", tweeted Sheikh Mohammed after handing her the prize. The victor was announced live on stage in a red carpet gala event hosted by Trevor Noah.

And the trophy was delivered on stage by Formula One's Lewis Hamilton. She called on the attention to the hardships many of her students face.

"What is fantastic, is whatever issues they are having at home, whatever is missing from their life or causing them pain, our school is theirs", she told the audience. "That's how phenomenal they are".

The whopping $1 million prize was presented the Varkey Foundation.

She helped a music teacher launch a Somali school choir and also pioneered girls-only sports so that those from conservative religious communities would be more willing to take part. In her own art classes, Andria has creatively redesigned the curriculum, even bringing in an "Artist in residence" to promote inspiration and help pupils cope with the responsibilities of their complex home circumstances.

Zafirakou will receive $1 million in installments while she has to work as a classroom teacher for at least five years.

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