15 semifinalists selected for EDDY Awards Teacher of the Year

Teachers selected from Duval County's 170 public, charter schools

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The EDDY Awards, a venture of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, is an annual event to celebrate excellence in teaching and teachers of the year from Duval County’s more than 170 charter and traditional public schools. 

Teachers attend a gala free of charge along with a guest and their school's principal.

Community leaders, fellow teachers and parents celebrate the nominated teachers at the event, which culminates with the naming of the 2019 Duval County Teacher of the Year.

The EDDYs has created a summer residency program where five finalists identified during the EDDY Awards will receive fellowships to work with the JPEF team over the summer to develop leadership skills, strengthen their voices as ambassadors of the teaching profession, and lead a network of educators in supporting new and developing teachers throughout Duval County.

The 15 semifinalists for this year's EDDY Awards are:

Michelle Chambers

John E. Ford Pre-K-8 Montessori School

Michelle Chambers is an instructional coach at John E. Ford, which is a Pre-K – Grade 8 Montessori Magnet School. Ms. Chambers works with teachers and students in all content areas and says that her students inspire her and that she is an educator because of them.

Ashlyn Cogswell

John N.C. Stockton Elementary School

Ashlyn Cogswell teaches third grade math and science at John Stockton Elementary School. Ms. Cogswell works to fulfill her mission by reaching each student where he or she is each and every day. She believes that fostering a community of trust is vital to her students' success.

Joshua Diaz

Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary School

Joshua Diaz teaches fifth grade math and science at Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary School. He says that his students “refuel” him and that they inspire and amaze him each and every day. He believes that building strong relationships is key to student and school success.

Rachel Duff

Alfred I. DuPont Middle School

Rachel Duff teaches sixth, seventh and eighth grade developmental language and English language arts with emergent bilingual students at Alfred I. DuPont Middle School. Previously, she taught abroad in Guyana for three months. She feels that she is the most important advocate for her students.

Steven Ingram

Stanton College Preparatory School

Steven Ingram teaches 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade Advanced Placement history of art and 11th-grade International Baccalaureate theory of knowledge at Stanton College Preparatory School. He believes by focusing upon intellectual curiosity, relevance and collaboration, a teacher and the student can work together to help to create a dynamic classroom.

Patricia Renee Kirkham

Alimacani Elementary School

Patricia Renee Kirkham teaches fourth grade reading, writing and integrated social studies at Alimacani Elementary School. She feels that finding one’s purpose for teaching is essential, and says that her purpose is to give generously of her time and energy to each of her students.

Kimberly Kirton

Kernan Trail Elementary School

Kimberly Kirton teaches fourth-grade reading and writing at Kernan Trail Elementary School. Ms. Kirton has spent over 20 years as a classroom teacher. She is motivated by the small steps children take in the right direction and is inspired by watching children become confident learners.

Danisha Love

William M. Raines High School

Danisha Love teaches ninth- and 10th-grade Algebra 1 and intensive math at Raines High School. She believes that the positivity and confidence she pours into her students opens up a world of opportunity they might not otherwise believe is real and communicates to her students that she has high expectations for all of them because she wants the best for them.

Sarah Pasion

Sadie Tillis Elementary School

Sarah Pasion teaches fourth-grade math and science at Sadie Tillis Elementary School. Ms. Pasion is a proud educator who aims to make a contribution in shaping the world of tomorrow. She says that her most significant goal is to impact the lives of each and every student that she teaches.

Alessandra Ramos

Merrill Road Elementary School

Alessandra Ramos teaches first grade at Merrill Road Elementary School. Ms. Ramos starts the day with her students in mind and plans ways to make a difference in each of their lives. She works to include social emotional learning into her curriculum and believes it increases her students’ coping skills in addressing life's challenges.

Patricia Raymer

Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary School

Patricia Raymer teaches fifth-grade reading/writing/social studies at Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary School. Ms. Raymer believes that teaching holds immense power that should not be taken lightly, and she strives to be the best reading teacher that she can be for her students.

Miranda Romano

Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School

Miranda Romano teaches a sixth-grade gifted elective and eighth grade history at Mayport Coastal Science Middle School. Ms. Romano tries to find something to relate to each of her students with and works to make sure they know she sees them as individuals and provides support any way she can.

Rhonda Stampalia

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

Rhonda Stampalia teaches a wide variety of ballet classes at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where she has been teaching ballet for 29 years. Ms. Stampalia’s accomplishments are far and wide, and her students have performed at TEDxJacksonville and with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Nakeisha Tinsley

Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School

Nakeisha Tinsley teaches sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade health and physical education at Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School. Ms. Tinsley believes in choosing equity over equality with her students and using a variety of instructional practices to address the different learning styles of each and every one of her students.

Brittany Turner

Loretto Elementary School

Brittany Turner teaches kindergarten at Loretto Elementary School. Ms. Turner believes that everyone is capable of learning new things despite any challenges they might face, and that learning doesn't end when the bell rings at the end of the day -- it can happen anywhere and at any time.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.