Pasco names Teacher of the Year finalists
The Pasco Education Foundation has narrowed its list of Teacher of the Year candidates from 72 (that's one for each school) to three finalists who will vie for the top award this weekend. They are:
Dawn Scilex, Gulf Highlands Elementary School, intermediate level teacher. Scilex has been teaching elementary school for 11 years. She's active on the PTA board, is vice president of school fund raising and has sponsored the Power of the Pen Writing Club. Her main emphasis in the classroom in on real-life experiences. "When you teach real life situations, you are empowering young children to become more responsible citizens of their classrooms," Scilex says. "Empowering children to succeed is vital in today's society."
Lesley Wade, Wiregrass Ranch High School, biology teacher. Wade has been teaching for seven years. She's the school science department chairman, coach of its Odyssey of the Mind team and the National Honor Society sponsor. She planned to become a doctor, but didn't find that path satisfying. "I contacted one of the teachers, now a principal, who had made a lasting impression during high school," she says. "I left that meeting with a position as the newest science teacher at Wesley Chapel High School, a classroom of my own, and the responsibility to spark the same passion for science that I had growing up."
Valerie Wilkerson, John Long Middle School, language arts teacher. Wilkerson is a third-generation teacher, who's been at the job for 21 years. She's a member of the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project, and an avid supporter of interdisciplinary education. Her biggest thrill? Seeing kids love to learn. "Teaching requires patience, flexibility, and imagination," Wilkerson says. "I find it very valuable to take the time to think about each student and to be very clear on my objectives and expectations for every child I teach."
The foundation will announce the winner Saturday evening.