DC teacher receives award for impact in, out of classroom

A D.C. teacher was recognized Wednesday for the impact she’s had on the lives of her students inside and outside the classroom.

And she had no idea it was coming.

“I can’t even express how surprised I was,” said Griselda Rutherford-Strong, a teacher at Barnard Elementary School in Northwest D.C.

She was honored with the Life-Changing Teacher Award, from the national nonprofit Honored Schools, beating out 300 other D.C. teachers.

Griselda Rutherford-Strong with principal Grace Reid. (WTOP/Gigi Barnett)

Rutherford-Strong’s students cheered as she received the award, and that’s no surprise – they nominated her. “Each child needs different love,” she said of them. “They’re my babies.”

She said her teaching motto was simple: “How would I want someone to teach my kid? That’s why I do what I do.”

The award comes with a check for $5,000. So what’s she going to do with the money? “[Put] half of it back in my classroom,” she said.

Because that’s what teachers do.

The nonprofit also honored two educators from Barnard Elementary who passed away during this school year: Sharon McCrea, who taught for more than 40 years at Barnard and 53 years in D.C. Public Schools, and Antoinette Wortham, who taught for 18 years.

Gigi Barnett

Gigi Barnett is an anchor at WTOP. She has worked in the media for more than 20 years. Before joining WTOP, she was an anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, and a staff reporter at The Miami Herald. She’s a Navy wife and mom of three.

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