Saturday, November 21, 2015

Brevard County 'Teacher of the Year' finalists announced


BREVARD COUNTY, FLA. – Six Brevard Public Schools teachers learned on Friday that they were selected as finalists for the 2016 Teacher of the Year award.

“These finalists demonstrate the expert and innovative practices occurring in our classrooms every day,” said Desmond Blackburn, BPS superintendent.  “It is an honor to recognize these passionate teachers who utilize their strengths and skillsets to make learning environments rich and rewarding for our students.”

The finalists were selected from among 89 nominees by a panel of judges comprised of principals and teachers from the north, central and south areas.  Finalists were measured against a rigorous set of criteria that include teaching philosophy and practice, leadership, professional development and parental engagement in the learning process.

The 2016 BPS teacher of the year will be chosen by a committee composed of education and civic leaders in the formal selection process and will be announced in the ceremonies at the ABC Awards Gala on January 27, 2016 at The King Center in Melbourne, Florida.

The winner will be Brevard’s representative in the state’s 2016-17 Florida Department of Education-Macy’s Teacher of the Year.


The s
ix finalists for Brevard Public Schools 2016 Teacher of the Year are:


Sandra Cook, Rockledge High


Employed with the district for 19 years, Sandra Cook has taught math at Rockledge High for the past three years. Cook enriches the lives of her students by implementing collaborative classroom activities. Just as she provides guidance to her students, Cook also serves as a role model to her peers as she mentors three teachers and facilitates school and district-based professional development. She assists other teachers in writing PGPs and is a member of Rockledge’s peer review team.  She serves as the National Honor Society sponsor and heads up the gifted student program at her school.  Cook has received state recognition for her presentation about parent involvement and student success.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in instructional leadership.  “Ms. Cook is that rare teacher who has the ability to not only teach her students, but to inspire them to reach new heights,” said Tony Hines, Rockledge High principal.


Christine Ferrer, Ralph Williams Elementary

At Ralph Williams Elementary in Rockledge, Christine Ferrer has taught sixth grade for the past 10 years.  Ferrer has been recognized multiple times as the school’s social studies teacher of the year and she is known for incorporating character education in her units.  Her teaching style “empowers students and involves them in high level learning though collaborative group work, projects, and creative presentation,” said Chris Reed, Williams’ principal.  In addition to her teaching role, Ferrer serves on the IPPAS and CTE learning professional teams. She was instrumental in securing a $90,000 grant for a classroom set of Chromebooks.  “She shares her personal passion for learning with her students and colleagues, and continues learning and growing professionally through class work, in-services, and collaborative work with peers,” said Reed.


Mark Peters, Port Malabar Elementary

As an educator for the past 32 years, Mark Peters creates a climate of caring and respect at Port Malabar Elementary in Palm Bay in his position as physical education and health teacher.  Peters has spent his entire 32 years at Port Malabar.  He serves the school as supervisor of the school’s crossing guards and sponsors the school’s garden club. Another contribution is the implementation of the school’s FAN program which combines fitness and nutrition with family fun.  The annual Jump Rope for Heart program Peters spearheads has raised over $20,000 for the American Heart Association over the last five years.  “He has strived to provide educational opportunities and physical fitness that develop and motivate our students in their overall performance and well-being,” said Principal Cindy Whalin.


Shruti Raman, Apollo Elementary

Employed by the district for 10 years, Shruti Raman teaches second grade at Apollo Elementary in Titusville.  Fueled by her desire to cultivate positive habits of learning through curiosity and research tools, Raman inspires her students to become active participants in their education.  Through her involvement in various professional learning development conferences, courses and trainings, Raman consistently demonstrates her commitment to using technology to reinforce strong standards-based education.  “Her special gift is demonstrating a superior ability to foster excellence in education and contributing to the continuous improvement of student learning by focusing on creativity and critical thinking,” said Frank O’Leary, Apollo’s principal.  Raman serves on the school’s SAC and PGP peer review team.


Callie Williams, Astronaut High

Journalism teacher, Callie Williams has worked at Astronaut High in Titusville for 12 years.  She incorporates social media skills into her classes and teaches the yearbook and TV production courses as well.  Williams believes that after students complete a year in her program, the skills they acquire in writing, communication, and photography will last them a lifetime.  She and her students attend numerous workshops, conventions, and summer yearbook camp to hone these skills.  Williams is active in the Florida Scholastic Press Association.  “Journalism is a real-world class,” she said.  “We create tangible products that become a part of the school’s history.”  She has a bachelor’s degree in English and liberal arts from Auburn University.


Ana Woodbrey, Hoover Middle

Media specialist, Ana Woodbrey’s dedication to Hoover Middle in Indialantic is evident in the many programs she champions there.   Her reach includes managing the media center, integrating technology into classroom teachers’ lessons, teaching students cyber safety, serving as media cohort coach, SAC secretary, and technology committee member.  Woodbrey follows her mother’s example of long term service to Brevard Public Schools as she has worked for BPS for 18 years.  She has a master’s in information studies and collaborates with local public library and university professors to help bring the library classroom to the community.  Principal Lena Wiebelt said, “Woodbrey goes above and beyond her job description to ensure all Hoover Middle students become effective users of information and ideas.”