The hallmarks of a state dinner were there: lavish floral displays festooning the White House, the first lady arriving in a floor-length sequined gown, and members of Congress and cabinet secretaries mingling with attendees. But the honored guest was not the president of France or the prime minister of Japan.

It was Missy Testerman of Rogersville City School in rural Tennessee.

Jill Biden, the first lady, kicked off a new format for delivering the National Teacher of the Year award on Thursday…


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