FLORIDA TEACHER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS SURPRISED IN CLASSROOMS DURING TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK

(Top left to Bottom right: Catherine Beaudoin, W.C. Pryor Middle School, Okaloosa County School District; Ceola Graham, Madison County Central School, Madison County School District;Brian Furgione, Milwee Middle School, Seminole County Public Schools; Diane McKee, Williams Middle Magnet School, Hillsborough County Public Schools; Ashlynn Ramirez, Hernando Elementary School, Citrus County School District.

(Top left to Bottom right: Catherine Beaudoin, W.C. Pryor Middle School, Okaloosa County School District; Ceola Graham, Madison County Central School, Madison County School District; Brian Furgione, Milwee Middle School, Seminole County Public Schools; Diane McKee, Williams Middle Magnet School, Hillsborough County Public Schools; Ashlynn Ramirez, Hernando Elementary School, Citrus County School District.

The Florida Teacher of the Year award is one of the most distinguished honors an educator can receive. I am pleased to recognize the finalists for the 2016 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year for being the kinds of teachers whose impact far exceeds the classroom walls. Congratulations to each finalist on a job well-done.

In the state of Florida there are 67 counties, 72 school districts and more than 180,000 teachers. Narrowing down all of the nominations was no easy task as there are so many qualified teachers. It took much time and deliberation during the nomination process, but our panel was able to select five finalists who we are very confident in.

The finalists are:

  • Catherine Beaudoin, W.C. Pryor Middle School, Okaloosa County School District;
  • Brian Furgione, Milwee Middle School, Seminole County Public Schools;
  • Ceola Graham, Madison County Central School, Madison County School District;
  • Diane McKee, Williams Middle Magnet School, Hillsborough County Public Schools; and
  • Ashlynn Ramirez, Hernando Elementary School, Citrus County School District.

As a huge Thank You for all that each of our finalists do for our students in Florida, each District Teacher of the Year receives a cash award of $750 and $250 for their respective schools. The five finalists for Teacher of the Year each receive an award of $5,000 and a $1,000 grant for their schools provided by the Macy’s Foundation, along with a $500 Macy’s gift card. In addition, the Florida Department of Education provides over $70,000 annually to support the Teacher of the Year program.

The Florida Teacher of the Year, selected from the five statewide finalists, will be announced at an awards gala in Orlando on July 9. The top teacher will receive a $10,000 cash award and an all-expense paid trip to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The Florida Teacher of the Year also serves as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, a goodwill ambassador representing the Florida Department of Education and teachers throughout the state for the Teacher of the Year program.

To all of our finalists and educators throughout our great state, thank you for all that you do. You are tasked with a very important job every day and not enough can be said for the efforts you put forth. We are very thankful to have you all in our classrooms changing lives and creating leaders. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

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