JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Garden City Elementary's Stephanie Bellino was named the 2018 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year.
Bellino was selected Friday evening at the 27th Annual EDDY Awards.
The Teacher for America alumna, who has taught the same group of students since they were in third grade, attributes much of her success to the students and staff at Garden City and to her principal, Mychelle Grover. In her application, Bellino spoke about how she works tirelessly to ensure that her students are engaged and excited.
“I go to bed every night thinking about the exciting new concepts I'm teaching the next day. I spend my weekends making flashy charts that will capture their attention. I use my time after school to further my knowledge in professional development and even volunteer to coach extracurricular activities," Bellino said.
She will go on to represent the county for statewide honors in July.
“It is because of teachers like Ms. Stephanie Bellino -- whose passion and commitment as an educator captures the hearts and souls of her students -- that we are able to do the work of striving to meet the academic needs of all of our students,” said Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis. “Ms. Bellino is a phenomenal teacher and is representative of the many outstanding teachers who are in classrooms and schools all over our district.”
She was one of five finalists selected by a committee of educators, community members and business leaders from a preliminary round of semifinalists drawn from the top teachers at all Duval County public schools.
The four other finalists were:
- Tabetha Cox, Sadie T. Tillis Elementary School
- Alicia Lloyd, Youth Development Programs, Pretrial Detention Facility
- Abe Reising, Mandarin High School
- Will Smith, Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School
Each day this week, one of the finalists was profiled and appeared on The Morning Show. Click on their names, above, to watch those segments.
The teachers were each surprised in their classrooms with a prize patrol that included Willis, Duval County School Board Chairwoman Paula Wright and Jacksonville Public Education Fund President Trey Csar.
"The oftentimes challenging work teachers do shapes what our city is and what it has the potential to be,” Csar said. “The Teacher of the Year program gives the community a glimpse into some of the excellent work teachers are doing to improve the lives of tomorrow’s future leaders. It is an honor to spend the day with these amazing educators and to learn from them how we, as a community, can better live up to our shared responsibility to support everything these educators do."
Friday night's award ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.