Region 5 | Sara Carroll, 53
School: Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School, Largo
Subject: Special education
Education: Bachelor's degree in varying exceptionalities teacher K-12, University of South Florida
Sara Carroll said her grandmother's teaching and her brother's learning disability inspired her to teach. She has been teaching special education students at Morgan Fitzgerald for 29 years. Her Read 180 class is part special education students, part general education students who have low scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. "Most of them have never had success," Carroll said. "The biggest thing is to try to have everything have a purpose that's going to help them in life."
Carroll was nominated by three teachers she works closely with: Kristen Herman, Lee Mortimer and intern Andrea Selven. "We share the same philosophy," she said of the foursome. Principal Bill Corbett also pushes teachers to "think outside the box," Carroll said.
Her favorite part of teaching, Carroll said, is when the "light comes on" for her students or they have the "ah-ha moment."
"When they finally read a book, it's like watching them at Christmas opening a package," she said.
Joanna Blaz, Times correspondent