5 Duval County educators surprised to year's top teacher finalists

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Five Duval County public school teachers were named finalists Friday for the 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year award.

The finalists are:

•    Joshua Diaz, Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary School, Wells Fargo finalist
•    Rachel Duff, Alfred duPont Middle School, Deutsche Bank finalist
•    Danisha Love, William M. Raines High School, VyStar finalist
•    Sarah Pasion, Sadie T. Tillis Elementary School, Rotary finalist
•    Nakeisha Tinsley, Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School, Florida Blue finalist

Diaz, the fifth and last finalist, was surprised in his classroom Friday morning.

From the five finalists, one will be named 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year at the 28th Annual EDDY Awards Gala on Feb. 15, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. 

“Each of these extraordinary educators are a shining example of the passion, dedication, scholarship and love of children that fuels Team Duval,” said Dr. Diana Greene, Duval County schools superintendent, who made the surprise announcements at each teacher’s school throughout the week. 

“It has been a truly inspiring week surprising the top five finalists at their schools,” said Rachael Tutwiler Fortune, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. “These teachers have supported their students to achieve remarkable learning through strong relationships and high expectations.”

A final selection committee convened by Jacksonville Public Education Fund chose the top five finalists from 15 semifinalists, whose names were drawn from 182 teachers of the year nominated by their schools.

The final selection committee is made up of teachers, representatives from Duval Teachers United, the Duval County Parent-Teacher Association, Duval County Public Schools and the community. The volunteer committee members review the teachers’ applications and observe the teachers in their classrooms to make their selection for finalist.

Honoring the county’s most exceptional educators, the EDDY Awards have evolved over the last few years into a yearlong initiative building a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the community and who work to improve our schools, accelerate student achievement and elevate the teaching profession.

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