15 named semifinalists for Duval County teacher of the year

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Fifteen outstanding teachers on Thursday were named semi-finalists for the 2013 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year.

The semifinalists were selected from the Teachers of the Year nominated from every public school in Duval County. Of the 15 semi-finalists, five finalists will be selected, with the winner to be named at the EDDY Awards on March 14.

"The finalists aren't only elementary, middle and high school teachers but they are dream builders who build future leaders," said Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of Duval County schools. "Selecting just one winner will be a difficult task when all of them are winners. I wish the finalists all the best."

The semifinalists are:

  • Stacey Adkins, Central Riverside Elementary
  • Rebecca Austin-Datta, Darnell-Cookman Middle/High
  • Thomas Cason, Mandarin High School
  • Carol Coston, Enterprise Learning Academy
  • Lynn Dostaler, Seabreeze Elementary
  • Patricia Foley, Ramona Boulevard Elementary
  • Susan Harper, Tiger Academy
  • Elizabeth Kelly, Lone Star Elementary
  • Blair Nolan, First Coast High School
  • Natalie Pelham, Annie R. Morgan Elementary
  • Apryl Shackelford, Northwestern Middle
  • Carolyn Tuttle, Oceanway Middle
  • Catherine Watkins, Arlington Heights Elementary
  • Robyn White, West Jacksonville Elementary
  • Dayna Yarbrough, James Weldon Johnson Middle

"Outside of the home, the greatest school factor in a child's learning growth is excellent teaching," said Deborah Gianoulis Heald, president and CEO of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. "The educators we honor through the EDDY Awards are Jacksonville's citizen makers and job creators."

The awards ceremony will be held at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and tickets are available at eddyawardsjax.org. The program is a joint venture of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership.

"We are excited to showcase our county's best educators," said Trey Csar, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "We have so much to learn from these talented professionals."

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