Rep. Vern Buchanan to honor outstanding Manatee, Sarasota teachers

Posted by AMARIS CASTILLO on March 31, 2014 

Jennifer Willis, first-grade teacher, accepts the Educator of the Year award at the Excellence in Education Awards for Manatee County on Wednesday at the Manatee Technical Institute campus in East Manatee. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald


SARASOTA -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is set to recognize six outstanding public school teachers in Florida’s 16th Congressional District on Monday evening.

Of the six, three teachers hail from Manatee County.

According to a press release sent by Buchanan’s office, the congressman will honor the educators at the first annual Congressional Teacher Awards. The teachers were each chosen by their school district for special recognition, according to the news release.

The teachers from Manatee County School District include Dana Van Bussum from Southeast High School in Bradenton; Dudley Leigh from Lee Middle School in Bradenton; and Jennifer Willis from Oneco Elementary School in Oneco.

Willis, who teaches first-grade, accepted the Educator of the Year award at the Excellence in Education Awards for Manatee County earlier this month. In addition to being presented with a $5,000 check from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, Willis also received an all-expense paid trip to Pittsburgh for a Pirates game courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a Lenovo Thinkpad tablet, among other prizes.

Sarasota High School teacher Gina Barresi, Venice Middle School teacher Ian Ackroyd and Taylor Ranch Elementary School teacher Lisa Figueroa will also receive certificates from Buchanan Monday evening.

The First Annual Congressional Teacher Awards will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Sarasota County Commission Chamber in the Administration Center, located at 1660 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota.

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