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Valley special ed teacher honored for her 'infectious spirit'

Ruthie Bantel, a special education teacher at North Canyon High School, was recently honored as a 12News A+ Teacher.

PHOENIX — A north Phoenix high school special education teacher was recently recognized for helping her students reach for the stars in the classroom over the past two decades.

The administration at her school recently nominated Ruthie Bantel to be our 12 News A+ teacher, for becoming one of the top 100 teachers in the world for the amount of time her students committed to their learning through a new online curriculum.

12News was on campus as her colleagues surprised her on campus.

“We are surprising Ruthie Bantel today,” said Melissa Molzhon, principal of North Canyon High School. “She was a top 100 teacher for IXL and we are very excited for her.”

“It’s an online program for her,” said Matt Lersch, assistant principal. “These students have committed to that, and Ms. Bantel has helped them become better students and show a lot of skill development.”

“She makes everybody feel special,” said Molzhon.

Ms. Bantel isn’t just being recognized for the way she’s helping motivate students to be successful in the classroom, but in their extracurricular activities too.

“She helps out not just the students in the classroom but in basketball and swim, and she’s just got a really infectious spirit,” said Lersch.

When our cameras followed the principal and assistant principal into Ms. Bantel’s classroom, she was completely caught off guard.

“Surprise!” said Molzhon.

“You are the 12 News A+ Teacher of the Week, so congratulations to you and the students,” said Lersch.

“Oh my gosh,” said Ms. Bantel. “I’m speechless!”

“You guys have done such an amazing job with IXL and Ms. Bantel I know has been there to motivate you guys, so great job,” said Lersch.

“I just believe in the kids and I just work hard with them,” she said. “Sometimes it’s difficult, but we just plug through and once they hit that breakthrough moment, we celebrate… we have seen kids go from half a grade to almost a full grade.”

Ms. Bantel’s message for her students is for them to just do their best.

“The real world can be difficult at times, but you’ve just gotta push through and just do your best,” said Bantel.

“We are just so honored that she is part of North Canyon,” said Lersch.

“Thank you!” said Bantel.

Ms. Bantel credits her passion for education to her mom, who has been teaching special education for 57 years. That’s who truly inspired her to become a teacher.

Congratulations Ms. Bantel! What an accomplishment!

If you would like to nominate a teacher who has made a difference in your life, to be recognized as one of our 12 News A+ Teachers, send an email to connect@12news.com. Be sure to include the teacher's name, why they deserve to be recognized, and your contact information.


Explore amAZing people, places and things across our state on our 12News YouTube playlist here.

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