(WSVN) - Five finalists are competing to win the title of Broward County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

Representing the best of Broward County, one teacher will be announced as the winner on Thursday night.

The first finalist up for the title is the longest serving educator of the bunch, Satoko Fisher.

She came to the United States not knowing how to speak English, and 26 years later she is still teaching.

Fisher reaches students beyond a traditional classroom, teaching the Japanese language on virtual school.

She said the desire to learn Japanese among students has grown due to the popularity of anime, manga and video games.

“I think, in Florida, only three counties offer Japanese; Broward is one of them — I’m talking public school system,” said Fisher.

Another finalist is Kristen Murphy, a licensed attorney who has taken the courtroom to her students.

Murphy has been teaching for 20 years but has spent the last three at Nova Middle School in Davie.

“Our sixth graders, if they get permission from their world history teacher, can take pre-law. Pre-law leads into eighth grade law studies, which is a high school class,” said Murphy. “They’re getting an education that they can use with whatever career they do ultimately choose.”

The popularity of Nova’s pre-law program has caused for the expansion from three classes to five.

Catherine Lozado is the third Teacher of the Year finalist, who has been teaching at Wilton Manors Elementary School for 13 years and has spent the last three of those years as an autism coach.

She teaches students on the spectrum, as well as their peers, how to navigate through the learning experience with specific challenges.

“The position is unique because it’s not in every school. It’s where the need is. The number of students with autism is growing throughout the county,” said Lozado.

Sheldon Jordon is the only male finalist in this year’s running.

He is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in curriculum and classroom-related technologies at Village Elementary School in Sunrise.

Jordan has been teaching for the past eight years and holds value to being a role model as well.

“The academic part is secondary to that for me. I need my scholars to know that when they step on campus they have somebody that cares about them,” said Jordan. “Once I get that, then the academic comes easily.”

The last finalist among the bunch is Lise Mabour, who never intended to become a teacher.

For the past three years she has been teaching biology and global perspectives at her Alma Mater, Northeast High School in Oakland Park.

“Take your passion, be creative in the classroom and really share that with your students. It helps them see you as a human, and it also encourages them to share their passions and to use that to be successful in whatever way they can be,” said Mabour.

Broward County Public Schools will announce one winner among the five finalists at an award ceremony on Thursday night.

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