Vitti surprises Duval Co. teacher of year finalists

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Superintendent Nikolai Vitti surprises Duval County's teacher of year finalist Cameron Foley at Ramona Boulevard Elementary on Friday morning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Five Duval County teachers -- two from high schools, two from elementary schools and one from a middle school -- were named finalists Friday for the the district's 2013 teacher of the year:

  • Scott Cason, Mandarin High School
  • Cameron Foley, Ramona Boulevard Elementary
  • Blair Nolan, First Coast High School
  • Apryl Shackelford, Northwestern Middle
  • Robyn White, West Jacksonville Elementary

These five were selected from a teachers of the year nominated from every public school in Duval County, and then from 15 semifinalists.

The winner will be named 2013 Florida Blue Teacher of the Year at the EDDY Awards on March 14 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

The finalists were surprised in their classrooms on a Friday morning "prize patrol" that included Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

"The finalists have been selected not only for being superb teachers but great role models, leaders, mentors and visionaries," said Vitti. "It is with great honor that we commend these educators for their tireless efforts in building our country's future leaders. I wish them all the best."

The program is a joint venture of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. Over the last five years, it has evolved beyond an awards ceremony to build a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the community and who work to improve our schools, student performance and the teaching profession. The program is entirely funded by private philanthropic support. The EDDY Awards were originally founded by the Rotary Clubs of Duval County.

"The community is proud to honor these accomplished educators," said Trey Csar, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "Participants in the ONE by ONE campaign have said that recognizing outstanding teachers and elevating the profession is a top priority and these teachers are the best of the best."

"These finalists represent great teaching that can be found across Duval county in our public schools," said Deborah Gianoulis Heald, president and CEO of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. "We appreciate their intelligence, love of learning and commitment to developing the children they teach to be tomorrow's citizens."

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