NATION : Greek Immigrant Is Top Teacher

<i> From Times wire services </i>

A Greek immigrant who teaches American government at a Virginia high school today was named National Teacher of the Year, and she said education should be considered an investment rather than an expense.

Mary V. Bicouvaris of Bethel High School in Hampton, Va., said the keys to her success are the same as the techniques used by many other deserving teachers: “respect for my job, love for the children that I teach, and a very sincere commitment to make a difference.”

Bicouvaris, 49, will receive a crystal apple Wednesday from President Bush. She was selected over three other finalists, from Maryland, Louisiana and California.