April 2, 2013 – Today, Governor Rick Scott showed his appreciation for Florida’s teachers and applauded their commitment to improving Florida’s education system by presenting the Governor’s Shine Award to six 2013 – 2014 District Teachers of the Year.
Governor Scott said, “Every day our teachers help Florida’s students realize their potential, fulfill their dreams, and embark on challenging journeys toward college and successful careers. Florida’s strong, effective teachers give students an advantage in today’s competitive environment – and that’s why my Florida Families First Budget rewards hard working teachers for their succcess. I am proud to present the Governor’s Shine Award to teachers who go above and beyond to make a difference in education.”
The six 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year winners invited to today’s meeting come from Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
The participating 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year include:
- Susan “Sue” Dobelstein, Clay County, Montclair Elementary School – A 27-year teaching veteran, Dobelstein teaches kindergarten and has been at Montclair Elementary for 25 years. “The adage that ‘teaching touches lives forever’ is very personal to me,” said Dobelstien. “It is my honor and delight to come to school each day and positively influence the lives of young children.”
- Apryl Shackelford, Duval County, Northwestern Middle School - Shackelford is the lead reading teacher at Northwestern Middle. Shackelford quit high school, but managed to overcome her challenges and ended up earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Most of her work focuses on helping students struggling in reading. “I use my life story to encourage my students and it works,” said Shackelford.
- Colleen Newman, Flagler County, Belle Terre Elementary School – Newman is a first-grade teacher and has been teaching for nine years. She states, ”Teaching is not just my career, it has become who I am. I believe it is a teacher’s job to inspire lifelong learners and that is what I look forward to doing each time I enter my classroom.”
- Shantel Ferrante, Nassau County, Callahan Elementary – Ferrante is a second-grade teacher with six years of teaching experience. Her leadership roles include serving as coordinator for Math Olympians and co-chair for the Einstein Club for Science after-school program. She has served in numerous professional learning communities including co-facilitator for Common Core Standards and Strategies for Mathematics: Geometry and What Great Teachers Do Differently. “My main focus is to bring real-world applications into the classroom to make learning relevant for my students.”
- Juan Torres-Martell, Putnam County, Ochwilla Elementary School – Torres-Martell has spent his 13-year teaching career at Ochwilla Elementary. He loves his job and looks forward to seeing his students and colleagues each day. “Just to be able to touch the lives of children is an honor and a privilege,” he said. “I love these kids. I believe in them.”
- Jessica Geronimo, St. Johns County, St. Johns County Transition School – Geronimo has been teaching for four years and been with St. Johns County Transition School for two years where she is an autism spectrum disorder teacher. Geronimo believes, “Coherence between school, home and community is especially important for students with autism. Teaching them the skills to function independently not only helps them learn in school, but it helps them become contributing members of their families and society.”
Each of Florida’s 67 school districts selects a Teacher of the Year who is then considered for statewide recognition. The Florida Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents, and the business community. Florida’s top educator is selected on the basis of the superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The most important qualification is the teacher’s ability to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.