FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - Flagler County Public Schools' teacher and employee of the year were announced Thursday evening during a gala at Flagler Auditorium.
School district officials said Rymfire Elementary School teacher Kate Sturman was named District Teacher of the Year and Ariana Perez, who works in the Office of Student and Community Engagement and representing the Government Services Building, was named District Employee of the Year.
Sturman and Perez will now both go on to represent Flagler Schools in statewide competitions, officials said.
"Kate is a cheerleader for Rymfire and for her students," principal Barbara Sauvelpahkick said. "Her dedication to the teaching profession is unquestioned. You'll find her at practically every after-school activity."
"It means so much," Sturman said. "You put in so much work, you work with the kids ... It's everything. Teaching is everything. It means so much."
Officials said Sturman, who has been a teacher with Flagler Schools since 2005, began at Wadsworth Elementary and them moved to Rymfire Elementary in 2006 when the school opened its doors for the first time.
Perez, who is a graduate of Flagler Palm Coast High School and began working for Flagler Schools in 2013, supports a variety of areas in the district's Office of Student and Community Engagement, officials said. She has gone back to school, working on obtaining her bachelor's degree in psychology.
"Ari is always focused on how she can help people get to where they need to get things accomplished, and she does it in a way that they feel they are being supported the entire time," said Lynette Shott, executive director of student and community engagement.
Officials said Perez was shocked when her name was called out.
"This makes me want to grow more. Engage more, support more, mentor ... everything," Perez said.
"Both Kate and Ariana are wonderful representatives of Flagler Schools," superintendent James Tager said. "They have found their purpose in life, and fortunately for Flagler Schools and our entire community, that purpose involves helping our students and families succeed."
School district officials said the State Department of Education will name the State Support Employee and Teacher of the year this spring.
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