LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The state Department of Education has named Gary Abud Jr. of Grosse Pointe North High School as 2013-2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year.

State schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan announced the honors last week.

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Abud is a science teacher with six years’ classroom experience and was selected from 16 semifinalists.

The department says Abud was working toward becoming a physician and doing medical research at a hospital when he realized “his true career calling was in the teaching profession.”

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Abud says the public needs to understand that schools are making significant changes, something he says is vital in a dynamic world.

He says “classrooms cannot look the way they did during the Cold War” and says teachers can’t let “divisive public rhetoric” keep them from “unifying for the best interest of students.”

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