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Major League Baseball, People and Target are recognizing teachers in your community.

Teresa Durazo

Esperanza Elementary
Tucson, Ariz.

A first-generation American, Teresa Durazo graduated in the top 10 of her high school class. The first of her family to attend college, she graduated with honors from the University of Arizona, where she currently maintains a 4.0 GPA on her way to a Master's degree in school leadership. While still an undergrad at UA, she established a chapter of the Latina sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha. The fourth-grade teacher and Diamondbacks supporter was chosen by her principal to head the fourth grade math department, placed in charge of curriculum development, and she was picked to be Student Council leader as well. She's also the fourth grade team leader and is involved in organizing many of the school's extracurricular activities, like the talent show and Love of Reading week. Nominated as Teacher of the Month and highlighted in Bear Essential News for Kids, her concern for her students goes beyond the classroom. For example, she noticed one of her students was missing school and showed many signs of depression. She was able to get the student a psychological evaluation and additional help. Teresa has also spearheaded a fundraising committee at Esperanza that has raised thousands of dollars for the Title I school.
Why Teresa roots for the D-backs: "My family and I are passionate about baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks symbolize family memories and family bonding; as a proud native of Tucson, Ariz., the Arizona Diamondbacks will always be my No. 1 team! Go D-backs!"

Samantha Poe

Montebello Elementary
Phoenix

After attending school with her mom on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, D-backs fan Samantha Poe knew she would teach. Samantha worked throughout high school and college as a summer counselor, earning her Master's degree. Trained in the Kagan Cooperative Learning approach, she applies research-based instruction strategies to improve academic achievement. Working in an especially diverse school population where 800 of 1,391 students are classified as English Language Learners and 29 languages are spoken, Samantha is committed to using the latest educational technologies, like an interactive SMART Board and electronic Classroom Performance System responders, to increase student engagement. She is the recipient of an Arizona Technology in Education Association grant that will provide iPads for her entire class. Samantha founded Montebello's Inspire to Aspire club to prepare young girls for high school and beyond. Inspire girls apply to highly selective area high schools, create résumés, and attend STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field trips and lectures. Samantha fundraises for the program and counsels the girls when they are struggling behaviorally or academically. For her dedication, she will receive the Excellence in Education Award, one of just 30 recipients out of 900 of her colleagues district-wide.
Why Samantha roots for the D-backs: "I was 'snake bitten' since my first Diamondbacks game with my dad during the inaugural season. The peanuts, nachos and watching them win the World Series kept me coming back! "

Elizabeth Zipp

Cordova Middle School
Phoenix

From the time she started school until this very moment, the one constant for Elizabeth Zipp was her studies. As an undergrad, she spent time studying in Cuba. There, she realized her desire to help children take control of their lives and not let an impoverished background determine their future. The experience still motivates her. For instance, Liz helped provide food and clothing for the family of two of her students, young Navajo sisters. While they're no longer her students, she still receives texts from them, catching her up with their accomplishments. Regardless of the challenges a day may bring, Liz is always in her classroom excited and ready for her students to arrive. Each quarter, the Diamondbacks fan helps her kids to grow and learn, helping her students to display this growth on their district benchmarks. Her consistency and passion pay huge dividends in her students' futures, and they love her for it. Liz started her teaching career through her acceptance into a national teaching program in the 2011-12 school year. Since then, she has been recognized for her commitment to her students and to her school.
Why Elizabeth roots for the D-backs: "I love the D-backs because, as a team, they embody the characteristics that I value and that I try to teach to my students, so that they grow as empowered young adults -- perseverance, collaboration and integrity!"

View the finalists by Major League team:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The PEOPLE All-Star Teachers Contest is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense school overseas and Canada (excluding residents of the Province of Quebec) who are at least thirteen (13) years of age as of 3/10/14. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Contest, visit www.allstarteachers.com. Contest begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 3/10/14 and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 6/29/14. Entry period ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 5/6/14. Void in Quebec and where prohibited by law. Sponsor: PEOPLE Magazine. Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. Visit MLB.com. Target trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Target Properties. Visit Target.com.