Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough Diversity Educator of the Year will be named on March 28

Named for the Lee County educator who blazed a trail for African-American women, the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator award celebrates teachers and administrators who make significant contributions to advancing the education of minority groups. The Hillsborough County winner will be announced March 28 along with Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year. These are the finalists for 2013, and the following are excerpts from their essays.

Socorrito Claudio

Wimauma Elementary School

Language and social studies teacher, English Language Learners and Exceptional Student Education

"Fifth grade students serve our school community by participating in the 'Fifth Grade Reader Leaders' program I founded. This buddy reading program I created goes beyond the traditional buddy reading program. The Reader Leaders program encourages fifth graders to model lessons to their first grade buddies by sharing their think-alouds when they read. Students can be seen with teaching aids including pointers and post-its as they model great reading strategies. This 30-minute weekly program not only motivates all the students involved, it also fosters community among our school grade levels and classroom."

William F. Leonard II

Progress Village Middle Magnet School

Reading, social and personal skills teacher, Exceptional Student Education/Emotional Behavior Disorder

"Most young men just want that one person that they feel they can trust, confide in, depend on and respect. Once that hurdle is crossed, mentoring and academic achievement become easy. I have worked with FCAT Level 1 kids and watched them soar immediately to Level 3 in reading and mathematics. Level 2 kids have moved to Level 4 in a year's time. I've even had a few kids score a 5 in reading. Through parent collaboration, mentoring, classroom instruction and tutoring, all kids do achieve."

Leticia Brull

Dickenson Elementary School

Resource teacher, English for Speakers of Other Languages

"Dickenson Elementary is 70 percent Hispanic with a large number of Spanish-speaking-only students and parents, thus we have a great need for an ELL Resource teacher that has been trained in how to work with Hispanic families. Even though I am Hispanic there are more than 20 countries under the umbrella of the Hispano category. It is vital for me to be receptive and know the culture, customs and traditions of these other countries that are present at my school and district. Finally, respect is the most important value that teachers need to teach their students."

Stacey P. Hirn

FishHawk Creek Elementary School

Fourth-grade math, science and writing teacher

"Treating each child with respect and dignity regardless of the choices he or she makes has been my mission from my first years as a beginning teacher in an inner-city mixed-ability classroom. These amazing children who were often labeled "high risk and unruly" taught me so much more about their own survival and challenging obstacles than any textbook.

"The motto it takes three is used continuously with my students and their parents. Although many adults are unable to spend quality time due to work schedules, etc., the parents of my students know their presence in their child's life is of utmost importance."

JoAnna Helak

B.T. Washington Elementary School

Kindergarten and second-grade reading coach

"Each school day I work very hard to close the achievement gap by listening, caring, and respecting the students that I teach and by understanding their family life and needs. I provide them with reading strategies, techniques, communication skills, and a variety of books to instill the love of reading and to become an avid reader.

"I often conference with parents by making home visits with the social worker and guidance counselor. These conferences provide information about their child's progress in school and share information on services that their child may need."

Hillsborough Diversity Educator of the Year will be named on March 28 03/09/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 12:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.