TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday recognized nine outstanding educators from the around the state for their commitment to learning with Governor’s Shine Awards. The award is presented to teachers and administrators in Florida who make significant contributions to the field of education.
“Florida’s outstanding teachers help our students achieve their dreams every day in the classroom. I’m proud to present the Governor’s Shine Award to teachers who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of students across the state, and thankful for their commitment to excellence in education,” said Scott.
Edward Hashey, Sarasota County, Wilkinson Elementary School – Edward Hashey teaches his students science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects). Edward is currently transforming his classroom into a working STEM laboratory where his students’ learning needs will be met with a hands-on approach.
Angelyn Hirai, Florida State University Lab Schools – Angelyn Hirai has been a music teacher for more than 15 years, and is known for developing campus events that highlight people, places and time through music. She spearheaded Multicultural Day projects at the school where students are given the opportunity to explore the sounds, sights and tastes of India and Africa. In addition, students frequently demonstrate their skills and knowledge with peers, teachers and family through her creative productions.
Dan Koch, Citrus County, Citrus Springs Middle School – In his sixth year of teaching, Dan Koch says his inspiration to teach started in the first grade. He gravitated towards English and writing because of its ability to bring a students’ passion for the world around them. Dan maintains the “Falcon Call,” the school blog featuring student reporting and writing pieces, and also manages a school-wide Twitter account that allows students to publish “micro” posts and take photos of school and community events.
Rebekah Lester, Manatee County, James Tillman Elementary School – Rebekah Lester is a passionate and eager teacher who is always looking for ways to engage her music students with hands-on activities. She fosters a classroom environment that supports the five principles of arts-infused, inquiry-based learning including community, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication. Rebekah leads seven performances each year that allow students to have the opportunity to express themselves through song and dance on stage. She also assists third-grade classroom teachers with intensive reading groups, tutors students after school, and is a mentor for new teachers in her school and other schools within her district.
Penny Mickler, Hamilton County, Central Hamilton Elementary – Penny Mickler has taught for 28 years and lives by the motto “we learn having fun and we have fun learning.” Penny manages her classroom with creativity and enthusiasm, and has high expectations for each student regardless of their ability level. Not only is she compassionate about her students, she is also committed to the entire school and community.
MSgt. Beth Piccolo (USMC Retired), Bay County, A. Crawford Mosley High School – MSgt. Beth Piccolo, a JROTC instructor, has a dedicated attitude that she applies to her role as a teacher. She has earned superior ratings in curriculum implementation, leadership development and general program excellence. She provides formal dresses and full dress blues to cadets who need them for prom and the Marine Corps ball. She has also spent many hours training her award-winning drill team and accompanies them when they participate in parades and special ceremonies. The team has volunteered in more than 60 school and community events.
Patricia “P.J.” Piland, Taylor County, Taylor County High School – Patricia “P.J.” Piland is the 2015 Taylor County School District Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching for 13 years and is in her fourth year at Taylor County High School. She serves as the Science Department chair, a peer educator and a mentor teacher. In her classroom, P.J.’s students learn science through her innovative instruction and hands-on activities. P.J. also serves as the TCHS Lady Bulldogs varsity soccer coach.
Anthony Thompson, Florida A&M University Developmental Research School – Anthony Thompson is passionate about teaching students how to analyze history, respect diversity and understand what it means to be an American citizen. Anthony challenges all his students to be lifelong learners and ultimately be able to compete in the global community. Anthony serves as the social studies chairman, after school program coordinator and Response to Intervention (RTI) coordinator in addition to teaching economics, government, world history and United States history. Anthony serves as lead teacher for the Lincoln Community Center after-school program.
Teresa “Terry” Woodlief, Duval County, Central Riverside Elementary School – As a child, Terry Woodlief struggled at school until she received encouragement from her elementary art teacher. This led her to have an affinity for the arts and a successful career as a visual arts educator for the past 35 years. She is often requested to speak at workshops, conferences and teacher trainings on the subjects of arts integration and technology in art teaching. Terry even returned from retirement after a two years to again teach full time at Central Riverside Elementary School. She was recently a semifinalist for 2015 Duval County Teacher of the Year. She guides novice art teachers as a professional learning community facilitator and mentor.