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Lake County Schools congratulates three finalists for Rookie Teacher of the Year

finalists for Rookie Teacher of the Year School Board Member Rosanne Brandeburg, Lake County Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley and Educational Foundation of Lake County Board member Peggy Campbell made a surprise visit last week to three teachers selected as finalists for the Rookie Teacher of the Year award.

Anne Reynders from Sawgrass Bay Elementary School, Terri Pfister from Eustis Elementary School and Samantha Elliott at Tavares High School were selected based upon a panel of judges’ review of their application. To be eligible for the award, teachers must have three years of experience or less. The final selection will be announced at the Educational Foundation’s “Rookie Teachers of the Year Celebration” on March 19 at Lake-Sumter State College’s Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center in Leesburg after another panel of judges’ conducts on site interviews and observes the three finalists in the classroom. More information about the three finalists includes:

ANNE REYNDERS — She began her career with Lake County Schools two years ago as a fourth grade teacher at Sawgrass Bay Elementary School. In her application Reynders writes, “Lake County is filled with outstanding teachers, many of whom I am proud to work with daily. Being outstanding in the field means that you don’t just do what is expected, you do whatever is necessary in order to reach the students in your classroom.” Dr. Julio Valle, Principal at Sawgrass Bay Elementary said, “She is innovative. She is passionate. She lives and breathes to teach kids.”

TERRI PFISTER — She is in her third year of teaching third graders at Eustis Elementary School. Pfister wrote in her application, “I believe the best opportunity for students to learn is an authentic problem-solving setting. To be career and college ready, students must be able to apply their skills in a real world setting. Outstanding teachers are able to facilitate these activities and to provide the information and resources needed for students to experience success.” Kay Sawchuk, Principal at Eustis Elementary, said, “She does many things beyond the classroom to give her students an opportunity to do community service projects. The kids absolutely love her.”

SAMANTHA ELLIOTT — She is in her second year of teaching science at Tavares High School. Elliott states in her application, “In my classroom I am not only teaching my students science, I am also teaching them how to learn. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools that we have been equipped with in life. It is something that no one else can ever take away from you. If my students walk out of my classroom with the ability to reason, analyze, and apply what they already know to solve a real life situation on their own, the I know that I have succeeded.” June Dalton, Principal at Tavares High School, said, “She is so creative. She has such a great rapport with her students. She is highly involved and a great overachieving teacher.”