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Cheers to Pub-lic Service Awards – 05 Winners – 2021 Spring

As our 2021 Cheers to PUBLic Service program comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to thank all 267 teachers that were nominated for these awards. Your stories are touching, encouraging, and honest representations of the heart and soul it takes to be a teacher. Every year is challenging as an educator, but this past year has demanded an extraordinary level of passion and dedication, and we are truly blessed to have so many legendary educators in our Hillsborough and Pasco County Schools – Thank you for all that you do for our youth, and the community!
Although incredibly difficult, alongside our Pillar Partners, we have selected twenty stand-out teachers that will receive $1000 each as winners of our second annual Cheers to PUBlic Service awards!
Congratulations, Winners! You truly embody the I.R.I.S.H. that we feel define the best of the best, and we hope you spend this prize on whatever brings you joy!
Irish 31 Hyde Park Village
Monday, May 17th | 5-7pm
Ashley Dull
Roosevelt Elementary School
Mrs. Dull is anything but from transforming her classroom based on her lesson plans to dressing up for the kids. She makes learning fun and every child should be so lucky to have a teacher foster the love of learning and make it an adventure. When her students were learning area and perimeter she turned the classroom into a construction zone. Students worked for a “builder” as construction workers. They found the area/perimeter of each floor plan. Next, they helped new home buyers customize their homes by finding missing sides them options for a length and width. When learning two step math word problems it had a March Madness twist with shooting hoops. For Astronomy the classroom was transformed into a galaxy. Reading is made fun with flashlight Friday where the students independently read with flashlights. When they read about the Intuits and polar bears to learn main idea she transformed the classroom into the Artic. Learning about American Presidents she dressed up as George Washington and the kids got to learn to write with their own quill pen. On Distributive Doctor Day Students created an array out of cubes and cut it with the “scalpel” to create two new equations and during Pizza Palace Fraction week students physical cut the “pizza dough” into equal parts for a great visual learning experience! Mrs. Dull always makes learning fun and an adventure and truly cares. Every child should be so fortunate to have one amazing teacher like her who is so deserving of this.
Brittany Brakefield
Ballast Point Elementary School
Brittany Brakefield has risen to the challenge of teaching during this crazy year and has SURPASSED it. Teaching in a pandemic isn’t easy - elearning or in person with covid restrictions - it’s all more than our teachers bargained for. But hybrid learning is by far the hardest. And she’s rocking it! She has given up lunch breaks down time and weekends to ensure her class is never left wanting. Despite numerous obstacles she has always been communicative prepared and enthusiastic for our children and she makes learning fun and exciting! During eLearning she drove to each student’s house during a break in zooming to deliver handmade manipulatives to help our children think of reading and math in a new fun way. She kept the kids engaged over zoom by doing live science experiments and by dunking her face in flour or eat an entire pie made of whipped cream when they got them questions correct! She made the kids’ online experience fulfilling by spending hours upon hours creating her Canvas page with rooms for phonics reading history writing brain breaks indoor recess math and science. She put together holiday packets of hot chocolate and jingle bells for the kids and deliver them - in Christmas pajamas! - so that they could watch the Polar Express just like they were in school. Mrs. Brakefield ensured that not only were our kids getting a robust education but she was also making sure that their social and emotional needs were met. She is a godsend!
Hillary Trupp
Mitchell Elementary School
Miss. Trupp is a native Floridian, born and raised in Tampa. This is her 10th year teaching in Hillsborough County. Miss. Trupp has very quickly worked her way into the hearts of her students and the Mitchell Elementary school family by continuously showing how much she genuinely loves to teach. Miss. Trupp is influential in the sense that she has made a powerful impact on each of her student’s lives. She dedicates her own time to get to know each child so that she can better understand what their personal learning goals are, and she motivates each student to be the best that they can be. Her upbeat and positively charismatic personality keeps each student engaged, and she consistently finds creative and unique ways to challenge their minds to grow. Miss. Trupp is reliable in the sense that her desire to inspire each student to appreciate learning and expand their skills is consistently steadfast. In the beginning of the school year, she sent each student a care package with writing supplies including a bracelet that reads, “Miss. Trupp believes in me! Miss. Trupp is impassioned because she still believes in the magic of learning. She understands the value in giving each student hope for their future, by giving them the tools to paint what their future can look like. Miss. Trupp is selfless in that she never makes a student feel as though their time is not valued. Miss. Trupp is humble in the sense that she is always modeling respectful behavior to her students.
Natalie Jackson
Mitchell Elementary School
Both of my daughters have been so lucky to have Mrs. Jackson as their kindergarten teacher. I knew how much my older child loved her but I didn't get exactly what it was about her until my younger child entered her class this year. A silver lining to eLearning has been the opportunity to have a front row seat to Mrs. Jackson's kindergarten experience. She is one of the most animated caring and creative people I have ever met. Her passion for teaching is evident in every subject - from dancing with the kids in PE playing drums in music class (she is a founder of the African dance/drumming company Kuumba) finding creative ways to make art together to infusing messages of diversity/inclusion into her lessons and finding ways to have the in-classroom experience while online (delivering Valentines bag exchanges etc) she goes above & beyond. I have also been blown away with the personal growth Mrs. Jackson has shown by having to teach online when only 2 years away from her retirement. She will be the first to tell you she is an "analogue girl in a digital world" (3 years ago she didn't even send emails!) but she has blown everyone's expectations (I'm sure her own too) out of the water! Her online classroom is so easy to navigate and her enthusiasm/engagement with the children is not hindered in the least by a computer screen. The thing she stresses most to her students is to have a "growth mindset " and she has modeled this perfectly in her own quest to learn technology. - Mrs Jackson has kicked it out of the ball park on HOW MUCH DEDICATION she has placed into this year! She has truly gone ABOVE AND BEYOND. She was a teacher that never used email or technology and this year she has done THAT and SO MUCH MORE!!! She has taught her students about never giving up and ALWAYS HAVING AN ""OPEN GROWTH MINDSET""!!! She has kept her amazing personality via computer has engaged these children beyond belief and unless you knew you wouldn't know her students were in eLearning! She is a true GEM and we would be beyond grateful if she was picked as one of the winners! - Mrs. Jackson is such a dedicated and amazing teacher. She cares about students in a very special way. Aside from teaching them academic skills she focusses on self-worth confidence and a positive mind-set. I can't begin to explain how easy she has made this very difficult year for us at home. She really deserves the very best. - Mrs. Jackson is so dedicated and has worked so hard to make e-learning fun for the kindergartners! She has truly gone ABOVE and BEYOND! She was a teacher that never used email or technology and this year she has done THAT and SO MUCH MORE!!! She has taught her students about never giving up and ALWAYS HAVING AN OPEN MINDSET!!! She has kept her amazing personality via computer has engaged these children beyond belief and unless you knew you wouldn't know her students were in eLearning! She is a true GEM! - Mrs. Jackson is an amazing teacher. She has helped our daughter Natalie who is repeating kindergarten this year. She was unable to read and barley knew her sight words. Now she is reading and can do her list with out a problem. The dedication Mrs. Jackson gave to her and the whole class is something to brag about. It is not easy doing online school for anyone but with Mrs. Jackson leading the class they are doing amazing. I know that she deserves to be pick for the reward. She just know started using technology this year so she has done all of this and she was still trying to figure out the knew stuff online. Thank you. I hope you truly consider Mrs. Jackson. - Natalie Jackson has been serving the Tampa Bay community for more than 30 years as a Kindergarten teacher. When Covid came she didn't miss a beat moving from in-person to eLearning. She brings positivity to our students every day and has taught them so much more than how to read. When I asked her at the start of the year how she thought it would go she smiled and told me she was just going to imagine she was on Sesame Street. Every day is a production and the kids love it! She is world-class and an asset to our community.
Jordan Patterson
Lanier Elementary School
Jordan is an amazing teacher and absolutely ADORES the kids in her class! She puts in so much effort to educate her class and from the pics she has showed me her kids love her! Jordan is an avid Yogi and is certified to teach yoga. She recently got married during the pandemic and didnt get to have her big wedding in Tampa as originally planned but had a gorgeous backyard Kentucky wedding. She also LOVES Irish31 (Hyde Park) as we all do! - Jordan is a proactive and dedicated public servant and teacher. She stays later than most teachers and is always willing to lend a helping hand to students and fellow teachers. She went to school at the outset of the pandemic to collect supplies to give out to her kids learning remotely. She reaches out to her friends and community for donations for books and supplies for kids in need. She collects and donates clothes and brings them to Plato's closet so that her school's social worker can use the store credit for older kids in need of clothes. The list of things she does for her students is endless. Most of her students come from low-income households and she does everything she can to ensure a strong education for each or her students. She's an amazingly caring person and wonderful teacher! Please pick her to help her continue in her goals! - Jordan is very dedicated to her class and always puts her children first. She often puts in hours outside of ""classroom"" time when no other teacher will. She also teaches Yoga in her spare time - idk how she finds the time for it all! She is well-loved by her fellow teachers and her students and is a positive inspiration to working women everywhere!
Irish 31 Westshore
Tuesday, May 18th | 5-7pm
Danielle Boyd
Gibsonton Elementary School
Danielle works at Gibsonton for 10 years and she is a true blessing for our kids. She loves having positive and lifelong impact on children. Her passion, love is evident, shines through her work daily. As a Varying Exceptional (VE) teacher, provides intensive reading and math services to students in 4th and 5th grades. Due to the pandemic, she teaches both virtually and on campus. Students served are reading at K- 3rd grade level- but, Danielle is patient, kind, compassionate and works tirelessly to help them all make gains daily. She even took reading courses to advance her teaching. Despite struggling with academics, many students come from a less-than-ideal home life with little support and encouragement, Danielle’s commitment to students is unabated which help students progressing. They are really thankful to Danielle for helping and teaching them. Danielle usually says: “no matter how many obstacles there are; hard work, love and encouragement can move mountains.” Danielle places her heart in everything she does to support, empower and engage students. When students couldn’t share materials, due to the pandemic, Danielle wrote many grants. With the grants, needed supplies were purchased to make individual kit for students to use. Most of the students know Danielle because she always finds a way to connect with all from PK-5th. One thing she cherishes most is the relationships and lasting bonds that form between her, current and former students. Thank you for all you do!
Lindsey Mack
Lithia Springs Elementary School
Mrs. Mack is an exemplar example of a teacher. Besides dealing with COVID she did this while going through a battle with breast cancer. She began chemo just as COVID was kicking off and she only missed the day of actual infusion. She even held Zoom instruction and meetings while hooked up to her chemo and later with radiation. Her devotion to students-with losing hair sickness and not breaking down all with a smile- truly made an impression on her students and co-workers and students' parents. Even before breast cancer Mrs. Mack was working to make an impact on her students. She strives daily to make sure her students learn and have the skills they need to be successful. Mrs. Mack is passionate about pushing her students to a higher level. She not only moves students to higher levels but she helps them to see that they are capable of more than they know they are. Using data and observations Mrs. Mack aligns her lessons to truly connect to each student. Her goal is to help students enjoy math and to see where it connects in their world. She brings science to life with exciting labs and experiments while also making sure to connect reading and writing to help the students become well rounded. While an award will not make or break her she truly deserves recognition for overcoming so many challenges this past year. It is truly a pleasure to work along side of her and I know her students appreciate her as well.
Pam Glas
Howard Blake High School
Pam is a mother of 7. She has only 2 biological children and she has adopted 5 other children that needed a caring environment. Pam is extremely outgoing and she is always available to help everyone. She is always eager to help every student at school as well as out of school. During the summer she made sure she picked up lunches at the school for a family of 6 that were living in a motel. She also orchestrated numerous donation requests for families that fell on hard times and finally were able to have a place of their own. She also helps provide food for children at her school with the 68 hour back pack program. This is a program where food is donated and it covers enough food for the student and their siblings to have enough meals to cover them over the weekend. Pam has also made a schedule for parents to help provide a hot meal for certain families that ended up in motels because they lost their jobs. Pam is an amazing person that will put everyone first before herself. I would lover for her to receive this money so she can actually spoil herself for once. Pam has also helped get a clothing store at school put together so students who do not have clothes can come and get what they need. It has been a huge success. They have prom dresses and suits as well so students can attend these functions without any worry of locating an outfit. Pam is very humble and would never take credit for anything she has put together or helped with. This money would be a nice surprise.
Sandra Swann
Lopez Elementary School
My mother has been an educator for over 30 years. As a single mother she instilled the importance of education for my older brother and I at an early age. She has always been passionate about making the world a better place by educating our youth and builds genuine bonds with her students even outside of the classroom. My mom makes each and every student feel welcome loved and appreciated. She spends endless hours creating engaging lesson plans that are interactive and enjoyable for her classroom. This past year has been very difficult for us all but my mom has adapted to the changes that come with e-learning and has gone above and beyond to make her students feel loved from a distance. She creates an environment of respect and report ensuring that every student succeeds in these highly unprecedented times of virtual learning. My mother's passion creativity and dedication to her career in education is truly admirable and deserves to be recognized. She is my hero along with many other children's' lives she has touched throughout her many years in education. - My mom has been teaching students for over 30 years however she’s done much more than simply teach. Her lifelong journey has been dedicated to shaping young kids. She has gone from elementary to middle and back to elementary because she realizes the foundation is most important to her. That’s exactly what she is to her students and to myself. Now a 31 year old hard working guy who is beginning a family of his own. I wouldn’t be where I am without my mothers loving and caring guidance. I can only Imagine the endless amounts of students who remember my my moms quirky energetic and down right eclectic teaching style. She teaches with passion and after 30+ years that’s the most telling part. She was meant to do this and I am extremely blessed to call her my mom. I hope before she retires she can become a teacher of the year winner! Love ya Mom - She is the teacher for all the 1st grade e learners and she has so much patience. She goes above and beyond to make sure that all of our children understand something. She takes time out of her day to do that. She has a heart of gold. She makes 1st grade so much fun. My son loves her and so do I. She makes me love 1st grade all over again too! - We are being elearners this year with Ms. Swan and is being really challenging to everyone.. She always manage the situation pretty good and care a lot about the learning process with the kids. She love to give the kids lots of fun materials and goodies everytime we met so the kids can learn on different ways any subject that she teach .. She is one of the teachers who really care about a student .. - Ms. Swan has gone above and beyond on this unprecedented school year. Making online learning as fun as possible on all subjects on the kids. Minimizing the tension that they have with all going on on the world. She managed to get all the kids in her class free books a couple of times. She is always willing to make an extra effort so that the kids have all the materials they need and is willing to work with them one on one so that they understand the material that is being taught. I nominate her for going above and beyond to make sure that every single kid is growing educationally. She is a teacher who truly cares about her students! Ms.Swan Rocks! - Ms.Swan brings free supplies to our homes. She gives math tools given to use to our child. She also communicates daily to the parents and children about announcements. - I teach E-LEARNING to a class of low socioeconomic children! I have risen to the occasion! I have had perfect attendance this year and MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE in my students lifes! I meet monthly at McDonalds (outside) to deliver MATH TOOLS to each child! I also give (3) NEW PICTURES BOOKS to each child to keep for life each month. Every child has grown::progressed a full year and a half in READING! Some kids have progressed 2 full years! I MAKE LEARNING FUN BY DRESSING UP IN FUNNY COSTUMES to keep their attention! I send WEEKLY cards to each home cheering and recognizing their hard work! I also make home visits each month. (social distanced) I deliver food school supplies clothes to my students. I have been able to do this thru FUNDS contributed by the BUCS LIGHTNING. This is my (32) year to teach Elementary School. I can certainly use the (1K) to replenish my classroom supplies for next year! Thanks in advance for choosing ME as a SUPER TEACHER OF THE YEAR! - Sandra Swan
Tiffany Brown
Kenly Elementary School
Ms. Tiffany Brown has been an educator and contributing to society for over 11 years. For her first 11 years she worked at Schmidt Elementary a Title 1 school where she not only had an impact in the classroom...but also in the community. She is a dynamic math and science teacher that makes learning real engaging and fun; students thrive academically in her care. This can be observed in her teacher District and State Ratings as a Level 5 which she has maintained throughout the years. For the 2019-2020 school year she was recognized as Schmidt's Teacher of the Year. Although a single mother of two children she still opens her heart to love all of her students as her own. This is reciprocated with a vast majority of her students as till this day she still maintains relationships with her students that are now in college and obtaining higher educations. In the community Tiffany has produced plays delivered meals assembled and organized partnerships with the school/community and tutored without charge. Just this year Tiffany wanted to find a way to make a larger impact on the future and transferred to Kenly Elementary a Transformation School. Her goal was to provide and instill knowledge in students and a community that struggled with academic successes. Although only one year at Kenly her impact has been significant. Test scores have had major and consistent improvements in the areas of math and science at a once considered low achieving school.
Irish 31 Westchase
Wednesday, May 19th | 5-7pm
Brittani DeWeese
Deer Park Elementary School
Brittani DeWeese is a true symbol of influence reliability passion and selflessness. She believes the children with various developmental delays including Autism have a right to learn and are able to learn. She uses technology and hands-on multi-sensory approaches to help her kids communicate regulate sensory input and socialize appropriately with peers. Her passion is early intervention to make children as independent as possible so they are more successful later in life. This last year with a pandemic in full force she never skipped a beat. She recorded herself reading stories so that she was available to families when it was convenient for them she educated parents by developing at-home activities and puts together bags each month with a new theme. Imagine getting a honey packet to taste when learning about the importance of bees or going on a virtual safari! Ms. DeWeese gives her students the very best of herself and sets high expectations. She has introduced so many concepts concepts that others may think is too advanced for the Pre-K age group but she believes in exposing them to a variety of information. Her approach to teaching pre-K aged children and those with special needs takes patience love and creativity and she has all of these. It is evident in the personalized behavior interventions she creates and the visual schedules she uses to help kids stay organized and in the progress these kids have made despite all the world has thrown their way.
James Bussell
Williams Middle Magnet School
I have been a school counselor at Williams Middle Magnet School for ten years now. Our students at Williams are a very diverse group. We have one of the most unique middle school populations (socio-economically academically racially and ethnically) in the state. In my years at Williams I have worked with many amazing and dedicated teachers who go above and beyond the regular call of duty. However ""Coach"" James Bussell is an educator who stands out to me. I have seen him time and again do whatever it takes to make a connection with a student. He has taught some of our most academically challenged students over the years. He doesn't see obstacles. He sees opportunities for creating bonds with our most challenging students. ""Coach"" takes the time way after hours if necessary to meet with parents and/or students to get the job done. He leads our students on a path of self-reflection and responsibility that leaves them empowered and wanting to do better. His positive attitude is contagious and hard to ignore. He inspires me and many around him but most importantly his students. *I wish I had pictures to share but what he does isn't in pictures. It's the behind scenes effort. It's after school hours it's the late conferences and zoom meetings it's the genuine relationship-building that he does that makes the difference in what he does to make students successful!
Johann Wahnon
Terrace Community Middle School
Johann is an amazing 8th-grade history teacher who goes above and beyond to engage his students to create a love for learning history. Out of trial and error, he learned that students can learn more about history by a hands-on approach and seeing it with their own eyes. His classroom is filled with antiques including actual Morse code equipment that students actually type the code S.O.S. that they learn during the topic of the sinking of the titanic. This is just one example of the real life antiques that are located in his room. He introduces unique projects to students to help them not only see first hand but they learn through experience such as his steam engine project, in which his students are challenged to build items that would work when attached to an air compressor attached to antique steam engine. He has spent his personal time and money to look for ways to enrich the learning of host students. He teaches students the importance behind history, they are not learning and memorizing dates from a textbook. He has a victrola and record player in which he teaches students the history and technology behind these items, but also plays them music so that they can experience music from the era or time period they are learning in class. Students enjoy his class and many parents have commented on their child’s enjoyment of learning history through his methods. He uses the musical Hamilton to engage students with teaching that time period.
Susan Gerena
Middleton High School
Mrs. Gerena is a PLTW Engineering Teacher who currently teaches Introduction to Engineering Design Civil Engineering and Engineering Design and Development while also supervising two clubs - Society of Women Engineers and Technology Student Association. She spends a lot of her time rewriting curriculum to better suit her students and thinking of innovative projects for them to apply their skills. She also has a large impact in the community through various outreach events she has helped host and participate in. She has truly made a difference as a teacher and we appreciate her for all she has done and continues to do for us! - Mrs. Gerena is an engineering magnet teacher at Middleton High School in Tampa and teaches us in the magnet program from the start of high school to the end. She gives support to all those that need it through ELP (extended learning program) help sessions and is willing to spend as much time as she can give assisting you as a student. Additionally she is the advisor for the Technology Student Association and Society of Women Engineers chapters at Middleton. She is one of the most important reasons that either club is able to exist and function as it does as she is responsible for assisting leadership in organizing events gaining funds for competitions and just about everything needed to run the chapters. - This is my third year having Mrs. Gerena as my teacher. She has taught me Introduction to Engineering Design Civil Engineering and Architecture and Engineering Design and Development our capstone engineering class. She is also the advisor for our school's chapter of the Technology Student Association. She is heavily involved with her students and our school. - She's been a super supportive teacher to me and other students always willing to help. - Ms. Gerena is my intro to engineering teacher and she has had a huge impact on my life. With this class and her excellent teaching she will help me succeed in life and I am eternally grateful for that. She is kind caring and all around an amazing teacher and person. - She's a wonderful teacher at middleton who goes above and beyond to help her students she is super involved and honestly the best teacher I've ever had. It would be wonderful if she won this because I know the money would go towards her family.
Victoria Burke
Armwood High School
As an educator myself I can't express to you how RARE it is to find someone so deeply passionate about their job and the kids they teach. Victoria is a Special Education teacher at Armwood High School arguably one of the most difficult schools to teach at in Hillsborough County with a severely high population of ESE students. The Special Education department is highly understaffed and underfunded and yet Mrs. Burke faces the adversity she is presented with and chooses to bloom in the face of it for the good of her students. Victoria impacts her students lives daily by providing for them in her classroom and beyond. She teaches them lessons that go beyond the page of a book and shows them how to navigate the world by building positive relationships advocating for them and their families and tirelessly working to ensure that each and every one of them is given a proper and fruitful education. Never have I met a teacher that checks on her students after they have graduated to make sure they have the necessities to survive post graduation but Mrs. Burke does. Never have I met a teacher that spends 12+ hours at school to ensure her students are receiving the advocacy they deserve but Mrs. Burke does. Victoria teaches students who have a wide variety of disabilities. She shows them how to be proud of who they are. Her students adore her and she adores them equally if not more. As an educator Mrs Burke is truly the example. She is what every teacher should strive to be.
Irish 31 Wiregrass
Thursday, May 20th | 5-7pm
Alice Chandler
Seven Oaks Elementary School
Ms. Chandler is a dedicated and innovative teacher who supports and cares for her students beyond the expectations of her position. While her class was quarantined she purchased and packaged supplies they would need for class projects. She drove to each student's home and delivered the supplies so that when the class did the projects no student would feel left out. She is a single mom with teenage daughters and an elderly mother. But she balances her responsibilities and her attention making everything she does appear effortless. She has been a teacher for a long time and i have witnessed her pleasure when she encounters students having had her years earlier acknowledging that she made a difference in their lives and proclaiming that she was their ""favorite"" teacher. She is an amazing teacher and an awesome person and deserves the recognition of programs like yours.
Ben Walukonis
Seven Springs Middle School
Ben Walukonis is a middle school music teacher; he teaches band orchestra and steel drums. Ben is passionate about his profession and believes that music in any form helps students with self- confidence getting better grades in other classes and promotes camaraderie as they are all part of a ""team."" As the school only had a band Ben knew that an orchestra program would be beneficial to the students who were interested in playing a string instrument. Ben set out to make this happen and worked hard to make it a reality; eventually he was able to get an Orchestra program started at the middle school. To build the program Ben raised money by asking for donations around the community; the program has taken off and is doing great! Ben personally arranges the music for the Steel Drum Band and takes the group to fairs grand openings and various community events. Because of the pandemic the band was unable to travel; to keep the students motivated the group played in the hallways once a month for the students and teachers. As with most teachers Ben works selflessly after school hours and on the weekends giving lessons and going to band competitions etc. the day does not end at school. It is very rewarding when a student receives a first or second place medal at a competition or the whole band receives an award. Ben is a great talented and inspiring teacher; this is why I whole-heartedly nominate him for the IRISH award! - Ben got the call that he was hired to start teaching at Wiregrass High School in Florida a week before school opened for the new year. He literally hit the ground running. He left his home state of Michigan to become a Floridian in less than 7 days. Arriving to Florida with no place to live he stayed at a hotel. Fast forward: Ben directed his students to lead parades pep bands for sporting events to play for store openings visit malls for Community activities and numerous concerts throughout Pasco County. With this years COVID-19 closures of band performances he has gotten extra creative. At Seven Springs his current position Ben knew the fun of performance was not going to be a reality this school year. To give his students the opportunity to perform he has his Steel Drum Band perform during student passing hours. Bringing the upbeat joy of music to the halls as well as to the ears of his fellow co-workers. Ben even had his students march around the school playing Holiday tunes the week before Christmas break. All Ben strives to accomplish is to teach his students the love of music. He brings energy and positivity to work daily. With the extra stress of the current world Ben gives over 100% to teaching his love of Music. - Ben is a true fan of teaching music and has a passion for inspiring students thru performing and practice. Leading students in Band and Orchestra over Zoom calls to coordinating ways to incorporate students playing music in the hallways in a socially distant way have been some of the innovative ways he has adapted to the pandemic without losing a beat of his teaching skillset for the love of music. Ben teaches in a way where his students take away not only key learnings of music but inspires his students to do their absolute best. He even spends his lunch hours on Zoom calls with other classrooms to engage with other students who may be interested in joining the band! His work doesn't stop at the end of school hours. He is constantly arranging music planning for upcoming events and brainstorming innovative ways to continue sharing his love of music even outside of the classroom. He even found a board game app that plays themed music to match components of the board game (all themed to bird sounds). They say when you love what you do you don't work a day in your life. But I know he works endlessly to share and teach music with his students each and every day in creative ways even thru a pandemic - undeniably impacting the students of his community without a doubt. - He's passionate and humble with his music skills and makes it to a point to teach music in this hard times with the best he can.
Ashley Foxworth
Dr. Carter G. Woodson PK-8
Ms. Foxworth is an amazing teacher for my child and the rest of the class. She is very responsible professional and she truly cares for the education of the students. Since day one she worked with us the parents and make sure we understood the e-learning program and compromised to help us as long we also did our part. My son Julian looks forward to have his zoom meetings which by the way she has every day with a great routine and schedule. She encourages them every day to do their best acknowledges every child and makes them feel great about themselves. She has had used her own money to pay Spectrum to reinstall the internet services in order for the children not to miss their school day. She has her own "I love you ritual" with them by singing "kiss your brain kiss your heart Im so smart" EVERY CHILD LOOKS FORWARD at the end of the day to shout out this special phrase. She is a true advocate for the children by bringing her concerns to the district in a respectful way. I was very concerned how my Julian was going to learn from home with the pandemic but she has done an amazing work and a difference in the life of my child. Also she has provided us with great resources to help the children and ourselves at the same time. She has rewarded the children since the first week by choosing the star student of the week having a class president and a vice president by giving away books asking other associations for funds to buy special surprises and supplies for every child.
Stephanie DeTringo
Fishhawk Elementary School
Stephanie has been a teacher in Hillsborough County for the past 25 years 24 of those at low-income Title 1 schools. She is firm but fair and every one of her students know that she cares about them deeply. While never financially comfortable herself she always makes sure that her students have the supplies they need to be successful in class spending thousands of dollars of her own money over the years to help underpriveleged kids. She has served as a Team Leader for 20 years and organized many Parent Involvement events on campus to encourage families to get involved in their child's schooling. She still hears from many of her former students regularly who tell her how much they appreciate all that she did for them through the difficult middle school years and through struggles at home and what a positive impact she has had on their lives. Stephanie is the epitome of what it means to be a teacher. More than a job it is a calling! Oh and her college service sorority's birthday is St Paddy's Day and their logo is a shamrock! You can't get more IRISH than that!
Adam Beasley
Lake Myrtle Elementary School
Mr. Beasley is an amazing teacher the one who all the kids want when they get into 4th grade. This year Mr. Beasley had to engage the students after being out of school so long and also get them caught up academically after being out of school. Mr. Beasley also got the challenge of having a class of 18 boys most of which are really good buddies. Mr. Beasley gets creative with engaging the kids he develops different characters he plays in class especially Mr. Collier. When it is dress up days he gets involved with the kids when most of the boys dressed up as future sports stars he wore a suit and became their "agent" for the day. When the other 4th grade teachers wanted to dress up as Princesses for Halloween he joined them and was Cinderella. He does a lot of hand on activities with the kids especially in science. He builds great relationships with the kids by playing with them at recess and on his own time shows up to his students sports events and even bring his son Weston along to watch which his students love. He has great communication with the families of his students. For my own child he has built up his self-esteem around writing and taking the FSA. My son went from having a C in writing last year and felt he couldn't do it to a B and then 3rd nine weeks he had an A. He was also proud he was one of two students to represent his class for the TedEX speech. My son has thrived in his class. The parents are voting for Beasley to move to 5th grade next year.

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