It's been an exciting road for Burbank Unified teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki, named this week as a 2012 National Teacher of the Year finalist.

The Luther Middle School English teacher was given Los Angeles County honors in October and named as one of five California nominees for the national award shortly after. On Thursday, state officials proudly announced Mieliwocki had been named one of four finalists for the big prize.

She modestly credited the district, saying officials, administrators and her colleagues have created a place where teachers can truly thrive. No doubt this has something to do with it, and many within Burbank Unified are justly bursting with pride.

But Mieliwocki clearly is someone special, and she deserves our respect and congratulations.