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Clay County announces teacher of the year winner

4th grade teacher, high school custodian honored with awards

Michelle Bily (right) and Robert Garcia (left) are joined by Superintendent Addison Davis after they were announced as winners.
Michelle Bily (right) and Robert Garcia (left) are joined by Superintendent Addison Davis after they were announced as winners.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The Clay County teacher of the year is a fourth-grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary School, the district announced last Tuesday at a banquet at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park.

Michelle Bily was selected from nominees at each of the 41 schools in the district and a pool of five finalists for the award.

This was her third year teaching at Lakeside Elementary School. During her time at Lakeside Elementary she has proven to be a passionate educator who works to build relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and the community as a way to ensure student success, district officials said.

"I am honored to be a part of the teaching profession and humbled that I have been selected from a pool of incredibly talented educators. I look forward to continuing to advocate for students and the profession while using this opportunity to learn all I can from the amazingly dedicated educators across our district and state," Bily said.

The district also announced the winner of its school-related employee award.

Robert Garcia, a custodian at Orange Park High School, has served in a number of roles in his time at the school, including athletic coach and ESE assistant, before taking on his current role on the custodial staff. He has worked at Orange Park High since August 2002.

“I am very honored to be chosen by Orange Park High School to be school-related employee of the year, but it was a great surprise to be selected and also very humbling to be selected school-related employee of the year for Clay County,” said Garcia.

“I am proud that we are represented by such talented, qualified individuals as Mrs. Bily and Mr. Garcia,” superintendent Addison Davis said. “As a district, we look forward to cheering on both representatives in state competition. They have touched the lives of so many people who are grateful for their extraordinary service to Clay County Public Schools.”