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Gov.Scott presents Shine Awards to 23 teachers of the year

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-27 16:42:00-04


Tallahassee, Fla. - Today, Governor Rick Scott showed his appreciation for Florida’s teachers and applauded their commitment to education by presenting the Governor’s Shine Award to 23 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year.

Governor Scott said, “Our students should have access to a high-quality education and Florida’s commitment to our teachers plays a critical role in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. I am pleased that so many of our 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year could join us here today as we celebrate their commitment to student achievement.

“In acknowledging great teachers, I have created the Governor’s Shine Award to highlight teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty in pursuit of educational excellence. I am proud to present this distinguished award to our 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year. I am also pleased that great teachers across the state will be receiving pay increases for their hard work and dedication to student success.”

The 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year winners who received a Shine Award today are below.

Michelle Kasanofsky, Charlotte County, Port Charlotte High School – Kasanonfsy has been teaching for 24 years. She has been teaching at Port Charlotte High School for the last 15 years where she currently teaches music. She believes true learning occurs only when students feel comfortable enough in their learning environment to ask questions when they are unsure.

Nancy Smith, Citrus County, Citrus High School – Smith has been teaching for 33 years and for the last three years she has been teaching 11th and 12th grade English at Citrus High School. She consistently encourages her students academically and personally and works with her students to help them achieve success.

Sean Brosig, Collier County, North Naples Middle School – Brosing has been teaching for 12 years, and has been teaching at North Naples Middle School for the last three years where he teaches mathematics.  He establishes a safe, happy classroom environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and being involved in learning.

Laura King, Franklin County, Franklin County School King has spent her 17 year teaching career at Franklin County School where she currently teaches 4th grade. She creates a nurturing and inviting classroom setting, establishing a positive learning environment for her students to relax, listen and absorb the lessons of the day.

Zola Akins, Gadsden County, George W. Munroe Elementary School – Akins has been teaching for 12 years and is currently the reading coach at George W. Munroe Elementary School. She believes it is up to teachers to facilitate experiences that provide students with the opportunities to learn. This is her second year as the Gadsden County Teacher of the Year.   

Victoria Paige, Glades County, Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School – Paige has been teaching for 34 years and for the last three years, has been teaching second grade at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School. Paige takes calculated measures to ensure her students experience the most conductive educational opportunities.

Jessica Thayer, Highlands County, Avon Park High School – Thayer has been teaching for eight years, and has been teaching at Avon Park High School for the last three years where she is a literacy curriculum resource teacher. She has previously taught math and business courses. In every class, Thayer uses innovative and dynamic teaching to inspire her students and make learning fun.

Cassandra Mattison, Hillsborough County, Richard C. Spoto High School – Mattison has been teaching for nine years and is currently the English department head at Richard C. Spoto High School. She is currently a writing resource teacher and teaches leadership skills/student government and AP Literature. Mattison has dedicated her own time and resources to dramatically improving FCAT scores and teaching her students the importance of community service.

Patricia Gair, Lee County, Cypress Lake High School – Gair has spent her 18 year teaching career at Cypress Lake High School where she teaches English, theater history and dance. Despite her years of experience, Gair constantly strives to learn new strategies and techniques in order to meet the ever changing needs of her students.

Samantha Newsome, Liberty County, W.R. Tolar K-8 School – Newsome has been teaching for eight years and currently teaches 6th grade mathematics at W.R. Tolar K-8 School. Before beginning her teaching career, she served as a child-abuse investigator. Her years of experience with Florida children allow her to successfully involve her math students with theory, practice and humor.

Megan Williamson, Okeechobee County, North Elementary School – Williamson began teaching three years ago at North Elementary School and currently teaches fourth grade students. Williamson’s unique North Elementary Role Models Program has provided every child in her classroom with a mentor in the community.

Maria Aparicio, Palm Beach County, West Boca Raton High School – Aparicio has been teaching for 36 years and currently teaches 11th and 12th grade physics at WestBoca RatonHigh School. She uses creative demonstrations, projects and contests to encourage her students to respect and enjoy learning.

Paula Berry, Pasco County, Wiregrass Ranch High School – Berry has been teaching for six years, and has been teaching at WiregrassRanchHigh School for five years and currently teaches English. As the Language Arts and Reading FCAT Assessment Coordinator, Berry participates in peer coaching and mentoring in order to ensure her students and fellow teachers excel.

Joanne Wright, Pinellas County, Safety Harbor Middle School – Wright has been teaching for 11 years, and for the last five years has been teaching reading at SafetyHarborMiddle School. Wright strives for her classroom to reflect real life and for all of her assignments to provide a real world purpose. 

Katrin Rudge, Sarasota County, Riverview High School – Rudge has been teaching for 12 years and has been at Riverview High School for the last seven years where she currently teaches marine science to 10th - 12th grade students. Her dedication to acquiring resources and equipment for her students has led to the creation of the “Stars to Starfish” AquascienceCenter, a unique program that combines S.T.E.M. lessons with environmental stewardship.

Harry Williams, St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce Central High School – Williams has spent his 32 year teaching career at Fort Pierce Central High School where he teaches 9th grade students algebra 1. Williams firmly believes all children are capable of success, and this success is achieved through understanding each student’s unique learning process.

Jodie Martin, Wakulla County, Medart Elementary School – Martin has been teaching for eight years, and has been teaching with Medart Elementary School for seven years where she currently teaches 5th grade inclusion. She is also the grade level chair and works with parents and teachers to coordinate fifth grade activities. Martin is committed to “teaching students, not teaching subjects.”

Jenny McDonald, Florida Department of Corrections, State Prison – McDonald has been teaching special education/adult basic education at the State Prison for almost two years. Her focus on combining her students’ interests with motivation and academics has provided a successful learning environment.

LaRhonda Brown, Martin County, Port Salerno Elementary School- Brown has been teaching for ten years, and has been in her current position as an art teacher at Port Salerno Elementary for almost eight years. Brown exudes a passion for the arts, culture and her students, and creates an environment in her classroom that charges kids not just to make art, but to be active, creative thinkers.

Cory Cloud, Florida State University Development Research School – Cloud has been teaching for seven years at the FSU Development Research School and currently teaches 9th – 12th grade mathematics. He creates a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to embrace mathematics and to develop a love for the subject.

Kathleen Ryan, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind – Ryan has spent her 13 year teaching career at Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and currently teaches 5th grade visually impaired students. Ryan has led the initiative in creating a partnership between her school and the Cummer Museum of Art and VSA Arts of Florida, which provide students with significant art education opportunities.

Shawn Wigg, Florida Virtual School –Wigg has been teaching four years and has spent the last two years teaching 9th – 12th grade students algebra 1 through FloridaVirtualSchool. He believes that mentorship and teamwork are crucial aspects of successful teaching, and he strives to practice that belief with every student.

Alicia Stephenson, University of Florida High School P.K. Yong Developmental Research School  – Stephenson has been teaching for 11 years and spent the last three years teaching 8th grade mathematics at P.K. Yong Developmental Research School. She played a large role in developing her school’s Math Acceleration Program, which provides students with additional morning and summer math tutoring.