Gov. Scott Presents Shine Awards to Six Outstanding Educators

Today, during a meeting of Florida’s Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott presented Governor’s Shine Awards to six outstanding elementary educators from around the state for their contributions to learning. The Governor’s Shine Award is presented to educators and administrators in Florida who make significant contributions to the field of education.

Governor Scott said, “Florida’s dedicated teachers are preparing our students for success, and we should commend them for their hard work on behalf of our students. I am proud to present the Governor’s Shine Award to these teachers for going above and beyond to make a difference in education.”

Jalencia Barr, Gadsden County, Galloway Foreign Language Immersion Charter Academy – Jalencia Barr teaches second grade at Galloway Foreign Language Immersion Charter Academy in Quincy. She prides herself on teaching skills that can be applied to everyday life. Her hands-on approach and energetic teaching provide a fun and interactive learning environment for her students. Jalencia also mentors high school students as a part-time, after-school instructor with the About Face program at Godby High School in Tallahassee.

Jennifer Brooks, Wakulla County, Riversink and Shadeville Elementary Schools – Jennifer Brooks teaches art to kindergarten through fifth grade students at Shadeville Elementary and Riversink Elementary schools in Crawfordville. She has more than 10 years of varied art instruction experience and was recently recognized as the Shadeville Elementary Teacher of the Year. Jennifer also serves as the district’s arts coordinator, working with other district arts teachers to assure a continuity of instruction.

Jaime Cox, Leon County, J. Michael Conley Elementary School – Jaime Cox is a pre-k Exceptional Student Education teacher at Conley Elementary in Tallahassee. She has 13 years of experience instructing 3- and 4-year-olds. In addition to seeing her students learn and grow, Jaime enjoys mentoring student teachers by passing on her knowledge, innovative ideas and passion for teaching.

Jesika Curry, Taylor County, Taylor County High School – A nine-year veteran of Taylor County Schools, Jesika Curry serves as the district’s math and science coach for grades 6-12. Jesika leads the STEM program at Taylor County High School and founded the Taylor County Student Astronaut Team in 2013.

Melanie McNeil-Samac, Bay County, Merritt Brown Middle School – Melanie McNeil-Samac is in her seventh year of teaching intensive reading and English language arts at the secondary level and currently teaches in the Merritt Brown Middle School autism program. In her classes, students learn real-world applications of their reading and writing skills by posting persuasive arguments online and publishing their narratives in a classroom anthology. In addition to her work in the classroom, Melanie mentors other teachers and Multi-Tier Systems of Support teams, and serves as vice president for “Books for Bay,” a non-profit organization that provides free books to children between the ages of 2 and 18.

Hillary Morris, Leon County, Fort Braden School – Hillary Morris teaches early intervention students at Fort Braden School in Tallahassee. Hillary strives to meet the needs of all children by providing them with opportunities to ask questions, work in groups and develop learning skills that prepare them for transitioning to kindergarten.


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