2017 Clay Teacher of the Year
When I was selected to represent Clay County as the District Teacher of the Year several people told me, "You have a voice in education now, use it!" I thought, of course I have a voice, I use it every day to remind six year olds that glue sticks are not push pops!
In all seriousness, I spent months reflecting on how to use my voice and teaching skill set to make the most out of this experience. I had a classroom full of students and a school full of families and teachers that I wanted to make proud. It wasn't until the Florida Teacher of the Year Roundtable where I learned about the Teacher LEAD Network and began to find my direction. I felt empowered to set off on this journey of teacher leadership. I decided to say yes to every opportunity that came my way. The Florida Department of Education and my mentors from The New Teacher Center supported me as I mentored a first year teacher who went on to receive the Warren Tracy Beginning Teacher Award.
Participating in the FTLN has empowered me and given me the confidence to take on challenges just beyond my comfort zone. I've given speeches and presentations, written articles published by the Florida Department of Education, collaborated on a Professional Development video about using STEM to nurture a Growth Mindset in primary classrooms, and participated in Roundtable discussions with the Governor, the Commissioner of Education, and many other leaders in education. My FTLN experience empowered me to do things I never dreamed of doing. This summer I met Dr. Lucy Haddock and Christina Donohue, Executive Directors of the Brevard Teacher Leadership Council, at the FTLN Alumni meeting and a new passion project began to grow. I want to bring FTLN to my county just as Lucy and Christina had done in Brevard. I'm currently working with the 2018 Clay County Teacher of the Year, Michelle Bily, to create our own platform to foster teacher leadership within our district, Clay Teachers LEAD.
Michelle and I are excited to share what we continue to learn from FTLN and develop a program that works for the teachers of Clay County. We are ready to push ahead with our project, especially with the support of our FTLN family.