ORANGE PARK, FLa. – A chorus and drama teacher at Lake Asbury Junior High was named Clay County's 2020 teacher of the year and a records secretary from Orange Park Elementary is the county's 2019 school employee of the year.
Clay County District Schools announced the winners at the district’s annual ceremony last Thursday.
Teacher of the year Evan Gould has taught music and drama in Clay County for 22 of his 30 years as a teacher. His chorus and drama programs are highly regarded in the state, winning awards and superior ratings at district and state competitions. He is currently the chair of District 1 Junior Thespians, hosting over 500 drama students from across the region for their annual festival.
When not teaching, Gould is active in the community, performing at all of the area's theatres. He is especially proud to have co-founded both the Clay All-County Elementary Chorus and The 5 & Dime Theatre Company.
“I am honored and overwhelmed to be chosen to represent a county full of teachers of the year. When I take students to state competitions, their superior performances often prompt strangers to ask me, 'Just where is Clay County?' This honor will afford me a greater stage to let them know not only where we are but who we are,” Gould said in a statement.
The winning school-related employee, Debbie Lineberry, has worked for Clay County school for 15 years, all at Orange Park Elementary. Lineberry started her first year as an ISS assistant, then worked as the front office secretary for eight years. She has been the school’s student records secretary for six years now.
Outside of school, Lineberry is very active in Girl Scouts, volunteering as a lifeguard, canoe and kayak instructor and an archery instructor. For the past 20 years, she has helped run Smile Camp, a summer camp for special needs elementary-aged children with high school girls serving as counselors. She has been married for 19 years and has four children and two grandchildren.
"It is a tremendous honor to represent all of the school-related employees of Clay County. Support staff plays a critical role in the success of our students and teachers. With this amazing opportunity, I look forward to learning, growing and sharing with others in our district,” Lineberry said.
Clay County Superintendent of Schools Addison Davis said the honor is well deserved.
"Both employees have garnered the respect and admiration of the students, parents and staff in Clay County. Mr. Gould and Mrs. Lineberry act as models for everyone in our profession” Daivs said. "I am proud that both of these individuals will represent our district."