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Great Neck teacher to be on ‘LIVE with Kelly and Michael’

John Motchkavitz, a technology teacher and coach at

John Motchkavitz, a technology teacher and coach at Great Neck South High School, will appear on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, as a finalist in the show's 2014 Top Teacher Contest. (Credit: Great Neck School District)

The lineup of guests for Tuesday’s episode of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” will include actor Matt Bomer, baseball legend Willie Randolph and a Great Neck teacher.

Throughout the week, hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan are welcoming the five finalists in “LIVE”’s 2014 Top Teacher contest and John Motchkavitz, a technology teacher and coach at Great Neck South High School, will have his moment in the spotlight during the second half of Tuesday’s show, which airs on ABC starting at 9 a.m.

“I’m not nervous,” Motchkavitz, 46, of Great Neck, said of his first live television appearance. He said his experience in the classroom and as a volunteer firefighter have taught him not to crack under pressure. “I’m just trying to enjoy it and hope I get across the things I want to say,” he added.

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Motchkavitz said he intends to speak about the value of electives and extracurricular programs in schools, and encouraging students to volunteer.

“If you work hard on trying to make good kids, kids who really want to be here and are in touch with something at school, it makes the learning process easier for everyone,” he said.

As a student, Motchkavitz, or “Motch,” as he’s known, said it was electives such as technology, architecture and wood shop, and after-school sports that made him look forward to coming to school.

Plus, he said, “I had some really good teachers.”

During Motchkavitz’s “LIVE” segment, viewers will hear from one of them: his first-grade teacher at Great Neck’s John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Anna Schweiger. She will be featured in a video package, along with some of his students and colleagues, that was shot last week while a crew spent two days filming him at home, at school and at his firehouse.

Great Neck Schools Superintendent Tom Dolan said he’s looking forward to seeing the footage.

“It’s exciting for Motch to have brought the spotlight to the district,” Dolan said.

Dolan described Motchkavitz as “very intense and energetic,” and credited him with recently developing a districtwide robotics program.

“He has his fingers on so much in the district,” Dolan added.

When “LIVE” kicks off voting for the final round of the contest Friday, Dolan said the district will once again rally for Motch.

Motchkavitz also received some publicity during last Thursday’s session of the U.S. House of Representatives, when Rep. Steve Israel took the floor and mentioned the contest.

“I’m so proud of the contributions that John has made to Great Neck, to my Congressional District, to Long Island and the nation,” Israel said. “He is an example to teachers everywhere.”

The teacher who earns the most online votes will receive a 2014 Ford Escape, but Motchkavitz said last year, the show also presented surprise gifts to each finalists’ school.

He said he is hoping that’s the case this year, too, but he’s also bringing a couple of his own surprises for Ripa and Strahan.

“It should be fun,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re ready for me.”

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