Lake County math teacher named Florida Teacher of the Year
A high school math teacher from Lake County took home the top educator award in the state Thursday night.
Tammy Jerkins from Leesburg High was named the 2018 Macy's/Department of Education Teacher of the Year at a ceremony in Orlando. Her prize included a $25,000 check, a $1,000 wardrobe, a $1,000 check for her school and an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, first lady Ann Scott, announced Jerkins as the winner. Jerkins thanked the governor and first lady, education commissioner Pat Stewart and chancellor Hershel Lyons.
"They are leading our state to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap," Jerkins said.
After a few personal shout-outs, Jerkins said, "I have to recognize our support systems because great teachers have great support systems."
She added: "We're here tonight to celebrate teachers, and there are 73 wonderful teachers in this room. And I celebrate you but I also challenge you. Please go out and tell everyone about this wonderful profession and let's teach our students and let's raise them to be the next generation of teachers."
Jerkins, who won Teacher of the Year in Lake County, was the winner out of five finalists. Among them was Palm Harbor Middle math and AVID teacher Vanessa Ko, who won the Pinellas Outstanding Educator award in January.
As a finalist, Ko received a $17,535 check from the Florida Department of Education and Macy’s. The remaining 68 nominees (winners in their own counties) each received $10,880.
Watch the awards ceremony here.