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Groveland Elementary teacher selected as Lake County Schools’ Teacher of the Year

      More than 500 guests at a celebration Saturday evening helped crown the 2014 Lake County Teacher of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year Celebration, presented by the Educational Foundation of Lake County, recognized 46 teachers from schools in Lake County that were nominated by their peers to represent their respective schools.

Teacher of the Year
From the nominees, a panel of six judges graded the teachers’ applications to narrow the list to three finalists: Jonathan Stalma from East Ridge High; Noris Aguayo from Groveland Elementary; and April Von Maxey from Tavares Elementary. Three judges conducted a site interview with the finalists before arriving at the final choice.

The celebration included a host of speakers, including Jerry Miller from Progress Energy, School Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley, and Lake County School Board Members Rosanne Brandeburg, Kyleen Fischer, Tod Howard, Bill Mathias and Debbie Stivender. The guest speaker for the evening was Alexandre Lopes, Florida’s Teacher of the Year from Carol City Elementary School in Miami-Dade County.

As anticipation grew for the final selection to be announced, Lake County Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley and 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year Kelly Cousineau from East Ridge Middle helped set the stage with inspirational messages to teachers. Dr. Moxley opened the envelope to reveal Aguayo’s selection and the audience erupted with applause. Shortly after the announcement, Charlie McDaniel, Principal from East Ridge Middle, transferred the Teacher of the Year Trophy to Kimberly Sneed Jarvis, Principal at Groveland Elementary.

“Being selected has been the greatest honor I have received,” Aguayo said. “I am so humbled and blessed to have been “crowned” Lake County’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. Any one of the teachers chosen would have been completely deserving of the title. Finalists April Von Maxey and Jonathan Stalma are amazing teachers and would have proudly “worn the crown” of TOY. They are so deserving and it was a pleasure to get to spend time with them last Saturday.”

 She continued, “Most importantly, I would like to remind all teachers that we are here for the students. At the end of the day, it is such an honor to be recognized for our work, but that is not what teaching is about. Teaching is about our students. Our students are the reason we have jobs. They are so deserving of our best, not for our own recognition, but to help them become successful adults in the future. We play a great part in this. Teachers have more power than they will ever know. We have the power to build a child up, to give them confidence, and to make them successful.”

A host of family members and school personnel congratulated Aguayo after her selection, including Groveland Elementary Principal Kimberly Sneed Jarvis.

“It is such an honor for Noris Aguayo to be named Lake County’s Teacher of the Year,” Sneed Jarvis said. “The entire Groveland Elementary family is ecstatic and proud that our school is recognized as having the district’s top educator among us. Noris is a teacher leader and is creative and innovative in her approach to teaching.”

The other Teacher of the Year nominees includes:

·         Dawn Mauldin, Astatula Elementary

·         Nicole Klingensmith, Beverly Shores Elementary

·         Kelly Nadboralski, Carver Middle

·         Kenneth Lyford, Clermont Elementary

·         Lora Calton, Clermont Middle

·         Mercy Hernandez, Cypress Ridge Elementary

·         Christina M. Nichols, East Ridge Middle

·         Odalys Garcia, Eustis Elementary

·         Tushena Scott, Eustis Heights Elementary

·         James W. Curtis, Eustis High

·         Aimee Platt, Eustis Middle

·         Tamara Chaplin, Fruitland Park Elementary

·         Brandee Thunberg, Grassy Lake Elementary

·         Amber Nicole Green, Gray Middle

·         Mary Briggins, Humanities and Fine Arts Charter

·         Malena Sintes, Lake Hills School

·         Vincent Montuori, Lake Minneola High

·         DeAnna D. Thomas, Lake Technical Center

·         Rhonda Boston, Leesburg Elementary

·         Gabriel D. Fielder, Leesburg High

·         Susan Emrick, Lost Lake Elementary

·         Christine Manfre, Mascotte Elementary Charter

·         Christy Fleetwood, Minneola Elementary Charter

·         Ann Holt, Mount Dora High

·         Phillip L. Porter, Mount Dora Middle

·         Lorraine Scherman, Oak Park Middle

·         Beth Petty, Pine Ridge Elementary

·         Lauren Hernandez, Rimes Early Learning & Literacy Center

·         Iris Pieterson, Round Lake Elementary Charter

·         Bianca Williams, Sawgrass Bay Elementary

·         Maria K. Hargroves, Seminole Springs Elementary

·         Karen Fowler, Sorrento Elementary

·         Kelsey Arons, South Lake High

·         Jacqueline K. McGuire, Spring Creek Elementary Charter

·         John Rackley, Tavares High

·         Michelle Metheny, Tavares Middle

·         Kathryn Heim, Treadway Elementary

·         Maggie Gardner, Triangle Elementary

·         Wanda L. Burdick, Umatilla Elementary

·         Donna Campbell, Umatilla High

·         Karen Douglas, Umatilla Middle

·         Kevin Schichtel, Villages Elementary

·         Dennis Doherty, Windy Hill Middle