DC teacher receives award for impact in, out of classroom

Griselda Rutherford-Strong, a teacher at Barnard Elementary School in Northwest DC, was surprised by the award. Her students nominated her for it.

A DC 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 DC

She was honored with the Life-Changing Teacher Award, from the national nonprofit Honored Schools, beating out 300 other DC 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 DC Public Schools, and Antoinette Wortham, who taught for 18 years.

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