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Oceanside teacher wins top honor on ‘Regis and Kelly’

Penny Ellis, 54, who has taught at Oceanside

Penny Ellis, 54, who has taught at Oceanside for 21 years and helped pilot the school district’s special education program, was chosen as a top teacher in the second annual Top Teacher search held by morning talk show "LIVE! with Regis and Kelly." In the photo, she poses with Kelly Ripa. (May 9, 2011) (Credit: Handout)

Penny Ellis didn’t have any trouble fighting the Monday morning blues this week.

The Oceanside School District special education teacher was named Top Teacher on national television in the second annual Top Teacher Search conducted by morning talk show “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly.”

Ellis was one of five teachers chosen as finalists and each appeared on the show one day last week. On Friday, viewers had the chance to vote for their favorite teacher on the show’s website.

With camera crews watching, Ellis, 54, who teaches Life Skills at the high school, gathered outside the school on Monday with students and colleagues to hear the live announcement.

As the announcement was made, Ellis was swarmed by people, who were laughing, screaming and trying to get in a hug.

Show producers also drove up with a 2012 Ford Focus, which Ellis won, and a check for $20,000 for the Oceanside School District.

Ellis – who carried posters congratulating each of the other finalists in case they had won – said she was “speechless, and overwhelmed.”

“And I just want to tell you,” she told the show hosts via satellite. “I love teaching.”

Click here to watch Penny Ellis being honored.

Pictured above: Penny Ellis, right, an Oceanside School District special education teacher, with Kelly Ripa, co-host of the morning television talk show “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly." (May 9, 2011)

Tags: Oceanside

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