Four states' top teachers are still in the running to be named the country's best educator: Anthony Mullen, a Connecticut special-education teacher and former New York City police detective; Cindi Rigsbee, a North Carolina middle-school reading teacher; Alex Kajitani, a California eighth-grade math teacher who raps original songs for his students; and Susan Elliott, a Colorado high-school English and social-studies teacher. The finalists will be interviewed again in early March and a winner will be recognized in April by the president.

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