To be named a finalist for the School District of Manatee County’s Excellence in Education Awards is such an achievement that that the eight finalists got personal visits this week from Superintendent Diana Greene and other dignitaries.
Wednesday’s announcement of the four finalists each for Educator of the Year and Support Employee of the Year starts a process that culminates with the naming of the winners during the Excellence In Education Awards on March 7, said district spokesman Michael Barber.
Besides Greene, the eight finalists were visited Tuesday by school board Chairman Scott Hopes, representatives of the Manatee Education Foundation, members of the district leadership team, and even Marty the Marauder, the mascot of the Bradenton Marauders.
“The finalists that are being announced today are great examples of the kind of caring and committed employees we have in this school district,” Greene said in a news release. “I look forward to celebrating the work these employees have done for our students and schools at the Excellence in Education Awards on March 7.”
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Educator of the Year
The finalists for Educator of the Year are Heather Anderson, Richard Daenell, Carrie Ling and Mallorie Ray.
Anderson is a language arts teacher at King Middle School; Daenell is a business education teacher at Lee Middle; Ling is a fourth-grade teacher at Braden River Elementary; and Ray is a fifth-grade teacher at Mills Elementary.
Support Employee of the Year
The finalists for Support Employee of the Year are Colette Matthews, Pam Miller, Marie Mueller and Aaron Weicht.
Matthews is a junior accountant at the district’s Matzke Complex; Miller is office manager for the Matzke Complex; Mueller is computer manager for Oneco Elementary; and Weicht is the student support specialist for Palmetto Elementary.
The Educator of the Year will advance to the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year competition, while the Support Employee of the Year representative will advance to the Florida School Related Employee of the Year competition, Barber said.
District employees, parents and students were given the opportunity to nominate employees for the award categories.
A total of 242 work site representatives were initially nominated, with 65 representatives qualifying for review by a panel of judges. Two committees selected the eight finalists.