Donald Blake is Pasco County's first Florida Teacher of the Year finalist
Donald Blake was momentarily speechless as Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart interrupted his lesson on the national electrical code Thursday morning.
Stewart took over his Marchman Technical College classroom to surprise Blake and his students with the news that he was one of five finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year. He's the first Pasco County finalist, as well as the first career and technical education finalist, according to the sponsors.
Stewart noted that Blake's marriage of his love of education and his vocation make him a perfect teacher.
"It's kind of like the best of both worlds for me, my love of working in construction trades ... but also to be able to work with students," Blake said, after shaking off his initial shock. "It's my life. I love my students, and I think most of them love me too."
Blake will learn if he wins the statewide award in July. The department and Macy's have one more finalist to name on Friday.
The three others are from Polk, Osceola and Miami-Dade counties. Read our full story for more details.