The Pinellas County School District last week announced six finalists for Outstanding Educator of the Year in 2010-11. Finalists were chosen from a pool of 24 semifinalists who were interviewed and observed in their classrooms by three-member judging teams consisting of administrators and a business community leader. The winner will be announced during a celebration on March 1 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, sponsored by the Pinellas Education Foundation. The finalists are:
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle, Largo
Grade/subject: Sixth Grade Read 180, a reading intervention program
Years at school: 29
Years teaching: 29
Nominated by: Andrea Selden, teacher and former teacher
Excerpt from nomination: "I was a student at St. Petersburg College contemplating whether or not a teaching career would be a good fit for me. Once I saw Mrs. Carroll in action, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher just like her — a teacher who truly cares about her students and creatively finds ways to motivate and engage all students to learn and experience success in the classroom."
Starkey Elementary, Clearwater
Grade/subject: Fifth-grade general education
Years at school: Seven
Years teaching: Seven
Nominated by: Rebecca Nash, teacher
Why? "She is one of those rare educators born with the gift of teaching, and it just comes to her naturally. That being said, she still works harder than most, and achieves positive results."
Woodlawn Elementary, St. Petersburg
Grade/subject: Fifth-grade math and writing
Years at school: One
Years teaching: 39
Has also taught at: Clearview Avenue, North Shore and Blanton elementaries
Nominated by: Karen Russell, principal
Why? "She incorporates many motivating activities which hook her students into learning. As I walk through her room, I hear a squeal and I look up to see her jumping up and down in her high heeled shoes because she is excited about the learning that is taking place. ... After 40 years, when most are looking at retirement, Vicki is still looking for ways to connect with her children and their families.
Azalea Elementary, St. Petersburg
Grade/subject: Third Grade STARS, Students Targeted for Achievement, Recognition and Success.
Years at school: 21
Years teaching: 30
Has also taught at: Westgate and North Shore elementaries
Nominated by: Sue Boyd, principal
Why? "She does not just do the job; she inspires her students to become avid readers. ... Regardless of the level of performance walking into the door, the students in Ms. Pomeroy's class walk out promoted from third grade to fourth grade. Amazingly in the last four years, 100 percent of these entering students have passed third grade."
Perkins Elementary, St. Petersburg
Grade/subject: Fourth- and fifth-grade Spanish
Years at school: 16
Years teaching: 20 years
Nominated by: Lillian Lewis and Elizabeth Rook, teachers
Why? "Sandra Rosado is a master at teaching Spanish ... she also integrates reading, writing, mathematics, health, geography and awareness of other cultures into her lessons and she does it with style. It is difficult to pass by her class and not stop to listen. Sandra Rosado's style is amazing and anything but typical. Her lessons involve dancing, singing, drama and technology at its finest. All students are motivated through her strategies, talents and charisma."
Ponce de Leon Elementary, Seminole
Grade/subject: Fifth-grade science and writing
Years at school: Three
Years teaching: Four
Has also taught at: Sandy Lane Elementary, Clearwater
Nominated by: Cathy Santoro, teacher
Why? Tracy Staley's science and writing classroom is abuzz with activity. Students are busily texting their responses to questions about animal adaptations that they have just finished discussing with partners. ... Before this, the students had a hands-on lesson, searching for different colored beans outside and charting their success, learning firsthand how difficult it must be for a bird to find prey that is camouflaged. This high level of engagement isn't the exception in Mrs. Staley's fifth-grade science and writing classes, it's the norm.