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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An East Providence educator has been named the 2024 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year.

Aimee Couto has been teaching first and fourth grade for the past 12 years. She currently teaches at Emma G. Whiteknact Elementary School and received the award during a surprise ceremony in her classroom on Tuesday.

Couto has been called a “remarkable and inspiring professional” by her colleagues, as well as a proven mentor and leader as the facilitator of the district’s Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling.

Couto said she struggled to read growing up, which is what drives her to advocate for students and educators to understand the “science of reading.”

“I’m very fortunate that teaching isn’t a job. It’s a passion of mine,” Couto said. “These kiddos are the reason I get up every morning and come to work. I love my job.”

Gov. Dan McKee, Mayor Bob DaSilva and other state and education officials were on hand for the announcement.

“Aimee’s tireless efforts for nurturing a love for literacy have not only enriched the lives of her students but have also set them on a lifelong path of exploration and self-discovery,” R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green said. “Her ability to unlock the wonders of language and inspire young minds to find their voice is truly remarkable.”

More teachers of the year:

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