Six Brevard Public Schools’ Teachers Selected Finalists For 2017 Teacher Of The Year Award
By Space Coast Daily // December 3, 2016
winner announced at ABC Awards Gala in January
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Six Brevard Public Schools’ teachers have been selected as finalists for the 2017 Teacher of the Year distinction.
“It is an honor to recognize these creative teachers who demonstrate passion and skill to make learning environments rigorous and rewarding for our students,” said Desmond Blackburn, BPS superintendent. “All of the finalists exhibit energy and forward-thinking practices in their classrooms every day.”
The finalists are: Jane Ararguez, Saturn Elementary; Jessica Davis-King, Enterprise Elementary; James DesJardin, Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High; Melissa Kane, West Melbourne School for Science; Michelle Powers, Southwest Middle; and Vanessa Tress, Cocoa High.
These individuals were selected from among the 90 district teacher of the year nominees by a panel of judges comprised of principals and teachers from all over the county.
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 2017 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 25, 2017 at The King Center in Melbourne.
The winner will be Brevard’s representative in the state’s 2017-18 Florida Department of Education-Macy’s Teacher of the Year.
Additional information on the six finalists follows:
Jane Araguez, Saturn Elementary
Jane Araguez, kindergarten teacher at Saturn Elementary in Cocoa believes in engaging students to help them learn. She is extremely involved in the Saturn community, serving as a member of the math leadership team, Lego League Jr., and school coordinator of Walmart Math Night celebrations, among other tasks.
Additionally, Araguez has utilized Crowdsource funding to purchase flexible seating in her classroom when she deemed it necessary. “She seems to take additional duties in stride,” said Principal Michael Miller. “Jane is highly respected and regarded by staff members, parents, and students at Saturn. She is a one of a kind teacher.”
James DesJardin, Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High
Lt. Col. James DesJardin teaches 180 cadets in Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High’s Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). DesJardin takes pride in utilizing his own personal experiences in the U.S. Army to “foster a sense of spirit in challenging oneself and others,” he said.
“My high school teaching career was placed on hold for 23 years as I followed my first dream, to be a soldier. I have dedicated myself to coaching, teaching, and mentoring America’s youth.”
Principal Karyle Green is proud of DesJardin’s JROTC teams as they often take first in state placement for academic curriculum, community service, physical training, and outreach.
“He takes time to teach (his students) what’s important in life. He guides students when they are facing difficult choices and mentors them when they make a mistake,” Green said. “One of his top priorities is helping students strive for success after high school whether that be college, military, or family. He is the consummate educator.”
Melissa Kane, West Melbourne Elementary for Science
Melissa Kane, teaches English language arts and social studies to fifth graders at West Melbourne Elementary School for Science. She won both the Brevard County and the state of Florida social studies teacher of the year last year. Kane facilitates the school’s recycling program in order to reduce waste sent to the landfill. The program won a county-wide award recently.
She believes teaching is the ultimate service to society. “Melissa is one of the most dedicated, enthusiastic, and compassionate teachers I know,” said Neleffra Marshall, principal.
“Her calm demeanor and ability to build relationships with parents and students helps students achieve their full potential.”
Michelle Powers, Southwest Middle
Math teacher, Michelle Powers, has worked at Southwest Middle in Palm Bay for 14 years. She won last year’s exemplary math teacher, is the math team leader, and co-sponsors the school’s Beta Club. The Beta Club runs the school store and does school and community based service projects.
Powers is also a mentor teacher and currently oversees three intern teachers from Florida Tech. “I can unequivocally state that Mrs. Powers is the teacher every parent wants for their child,” said Todd Scheuerer, principal.
“She exemplifies the true definition of a distinguished educator that defines her success and accomplishments of her students.”
Jessica Davis-King, Enterprise Elementary
At Enterprise Elementary in Cocoa, Jessica King-Davis has been the school’s intermediate exceptional student resource teacher for five years. Davis-King has been recognized two times as the school’s teacher of the year and she is known for her efforts to support the continuous improvement of student learning and the school environment.
She helps achieve this by facilitating the school’s safety patrol, a morning Maker-Space group, and a STEM classroom open for intermediate students to work on hands on instruction.
Projects come to life through the use of 3D printers and computers. “Mrs. Davis-King collaborates with every teacher and supports them to ensure our students are doing their personal best,” said Jean Bartleson, principal.
Vanessa Tress, Cocoa High
Ninth grade English teacher, Vanessa Tress’s dedication to Cocoa High is evident in the many programs she champions there. Her reach not only includes rigorous classroom activities, but founding the iTiger program to help students use technology, working with the AVID college readiness program, coaching the volleyball team, and sponsoring the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“Ms. Tress is a dynamic teacher dedicated to enriching the literacy skills of her students. She magically balances her natural coaching skills with her instructional style,” said Stephanie Soliven, principal.
“She is able to motivate reluctant learners and guide the higher achieving students to more independent thought and critical analysis.”
BPS Teacher of the Year nominees listed by location. Finalists are highlighted.
|Astronaut High||Peter Gay||Science Department Chair|
|Bayside High||Kelly Bombriant||Literacy Coach|
|Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High||James DesJardin||Senior Army Instructor|
|Cocoa High||Vanessa Tress||9th Grade English|
|Central Middle||Matthew A. Gent||7th Grade Civics|
|DeLaura Middle||Angela Oswalt||8th Grade Science|
|Eau Gallie High||Bret Keener||Digital Media Teacher/Soccer & Tennis Coach|
|Edgewood Jr./Sr.||Sean Johnston||Math & Physics Teacher|
|Hoover Middle||Brenda Sadowski||Physical Education Teacher|
|Jefferson Middle||Dana Franklin||7th Grade Science|
|Heritage High||Carlos Colon-Robles||Army Instructor|
|Jackson Middle||Jeffery Wasserman||Social Studies Dept. Chair|
|Johnson Middle||Tracy Oxley||Varying Exceptionalities Supported Level Teacher|
|Kennedy Middle||Emily Jensen||Science Teacher|
|Madison Middle||Patti Adams||8th Grade Reading Teacher|
|McNair Magnet||Julie Wales||Media Specialist|
|Melbourne High||Tracy Collins||Biology / Dept. Chair|
|Palm Bay Magnet High||Alexandra Dattoli||English Honors/Lit/Debate Teacher|
|Merritt Island High||Blythe Grossmann||English/10th Grade Teacher|
|Rockledge High||Alicia Gaines||English Teacher|
|Satellite High||Tom Jackson||Literature Teacher|
|Southwest Middle||Michelle L. Powers||7th & 8th Grade Math|
|Space Coast Jr./Sr. High||Carolynn Gannon||STEM Instructor|
|Stone Magnet Middle||Diane L. Coleman||Science Teacher|
|Titusville High||Frank E. Soros||Automotive Instructor|
|Viera High||Barbara Kelly||English Department Chair|
|West Shore Jr./Sr. High||Matthew Henderson||Secondary Art Teacher|
|Andersen||Tonya Bandy||First Grade Teacher|
|Apollo||Cynthia Shaheen||Title I Coordinator & Teacher|
|Atlantis||Joanna Giesey||First Grade Teacher|
|Audubon||Melissa Kirkland||Second Grade Teacher|
|Cambridge||Abbey Turner||Title I Teacher|
|Cape View||Michelle M. Wedel||Title I Teacher|
|Carroll||Alicia Street||Varying Exceptionalities K-4|
|Challenger 7||Kristen Turner||Literacy Coach|
|Columbia||Pamela Smith||Title I VPK|
|Coquina||Kristen Young||Fourth Grade teacher|
|Creel||Christopher J. Ryan||First Grade Teacher|
|Croton||Andrea McDonough||Title I Contact|
|Discovery||Jessica Watts||Third Grade Teacher|
|Endeavour||Rosanna Cope||Title I Teacher|
|Enterprise||Jessica Davis-King||ESE Resource Teacher|
|Fairglen||Dan Bennett||First Grade Teacher|
|Freedom 7||Julie Mason||Sixth Grade Teacher|
|Gemini||William Bechtol||Physical Education Teacher|
|Golfview||Lisa Cisko||Title I Coordinator|
|Harbor City||Susan Rowlette||Kindergarten Teacher|
|Holland||Caitlyn Eskew||First Grade Teacher|
|Imperial Estates||Kathleen Ann Joiner||Sixth Grade Teacher|
|Indialantic||Bonnie Chatterton||ESE Resource Teacher|
|Jupiter||Rebecca Bach||First Grade Teacher|
|Lockmar||Brian Crowley||Sixth Grade Teacher|
|Longleaf||Katie Manifold||Fifth Grade Teacher|
|Manatee||Lisa Smallwood||Third Grade Teacher|
|McAuliffe||Jessica Mostowski||Title I Teacher|
|Meadowlane Intermediate||Lisa King||ESE Supported Level Teacher|
|Meadowlane Primary||Jodie Wright||First Grade Teacher|
|Mila Elementary||Mackenzie Alexander||Varying Exceptionalities|
|Mims Elementary||Tammy Martin||First Grade Teacher|
|Oak Park Elementary||Ruth Ferguson||Speech Language Pathologist|
|Ocean Breeze||Shelley Richardson||Fourth Grade Teacher|
|Palm Bay||Barbara Miller||Gifted K-6th|
|Pinewood||Gina Hart||Third Grade Teacher|
|Port Malabar||Heather Haman||Varying Exceptionalities K-4|
|Quest||Randi Ondo||Teacher on Assignment|
|Riverview School||Michelle Gainer||Head Start|
|Riviera||Corey Kadlec||First Grade Teacher|
|Roosevelt||Maria Tomacari||Gifted K-6th|
|Sabal||Erica D. Back||Kindergarten Teacher|
|Saturn||Jane Araguez||Kindergarten Teacher|
|Sculptor||Sonya Timmerman||Drama Teacher|
|Sea Park||Renea Kihlander||Fourth Grade Teacher|
|Sherwood||Stacey Nemetz||First Grade Teacher|
|Stevenson||Erin Zapata||Third Grade Teacher|
|Sunrise||Renee Godwin||Fifth Grade Teacher|
|Suntree||James Taylor||Second Grade Teacher|
|Surfside||Kimberly Leary||Sixth Grade Teacher|
|Tropical||Jillian Vicidomini||Second Grade Teacher|
|Turner||Sharon Justin||Media Specialist|
|University Park||Dorianne Lugo||Sixth Grade Teacher|
|Viera Charter||Kristen Cook||Gifted 5-8th Teacher|
|West Melbourne||Melissa Kane||Fifth Grade Teacher|
|Westside||Stacey C. Gilbert||Varying Exceptionalities 4-6th|
|Williams||Lisa Yancey||ESE Math Teacher|
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