Governor Rick Scott Presents Shine Awards to Eight Elementary School Educators

During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized eight outstanding elementary educators in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties with the Governor’s Shine Awards for their commitment to Florida’s students.

Governor Scott said, “Florida’s teachers know that a great job begins with a great education, which is why they work so hard to prepare our students for the future. To provide our teachers with the resources they need to best help students, our proposed “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING BUDGET” recommends the highest per pupil and total K-12 education funding in Florida history. I am proud to present the Governor’s Shine Award to these eight elementary teachers who go above and beyond to make a difference in education here in Florida.”

  • Julie Chasney, Pasco County, James M. Marlowe Elementary School – With over two decades of teaching experience, Julie Chasney incorporates a wide variety of music into her lessons, encouraging students to perform and enjoy music. She was named Deer Park Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2002, and also serves as chairperson of Pasco’s All-County Elementary Orff Ensemble.
  • Rebecca Cicione, Pasco County, Connerton Elementary School Rebecca Cicione is currently a fifth grade STEM teacher at Connerton Elementary School and has been teaching for five years. Rebecca designs innovative lessons that incorporate technology and student engagement, while also focusing on meeting each student’s individual needs. Rebecca believes that, “every child has the ability to learn; they just have to be shown the way.”
  • Sarah Darr, Hillsborough County, Egypt Lake Elementary – Sarah Darr is currently a fifth grade language arts teacher with seven years of experience. Sarah has a passion for teaching her students to read and write, and equipping them with important life lessons. Helping children find a joy in reading is her top priority. She attributes her students’ growth and success to their eagerness to learn.
  • Julie Hiltz, Hillsborough County, Lutz Elementary School – Julie Hiltz began her teaching career 12 years ago in Hillsborough County. She is a National Board Certified media specialist at Lutz Elementary. Julia helps her students make advanced connections between human, technology and material resources. Julie was chosen as the 2009 Teacher of the Year at Lutz Elementary, and was also selected to serve as a “Teacherpreneur,” which enables her to spearhead education projects promoting teacher leadership efforts.
  • Reagan Lawrence, Hillsborough County, Hunter’s Green Elementary School – Reagan Lawrence is a fifth grade language arts teacher at Hunter’s Green Elementary. She uses innovative approaches to engage and motivate her students. In addition to her work in the classroom, Reagan leads a canned food drive at her school that provides non-perishable grocery items for local food pantries. Reagan hopes that her creativity in the classroom will have a lasting impact on her students and inspire them to make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Jonathan McComber, Pinellas County, San Jose Elementary School –Jonathan McComber has been teaching for six years at San Jose Elementary School, his own elementary alma mater. He has held various leadership positions within the school, including directing the biannual school talent show. Jonathan is passionate about teaching, and gives credit to his fellow teachers for their shared support and dedication to students.
  • Robert Sinibaldi, Pinellas County, Walsingham Elementary School – With 35 years of experience in the education system, Robert Sinibaldi, Ph.D., is an adapted physical education teacher. He became the first PE teacher in Florida to win the National PE Teacher of the Year award in 2011. Robert focuses on using creative solutions to reach students with various physical, medical, intellectual and emotional needs. He won the School and District Teacher of the Year in the late 1980’s, State Teacher of the Year awards in the 1990’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s, and National PE Teacher of the Year in 2011.
  • Leronya Vaughn-Dunmore, Hillsborough County, Sheehy Elementary School – A 27 year veteran and third generation teacher of the Hillsborough County School District, Leronya Vaughn-Dunmore is a math resource teacher at Sheehy Elementary School. She implements STEM-focused initiatives such as robotics, virtual labs and Skype in the classroom. In 2013, she successfully organized the LEGO Education Showcase for her school and community.

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