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Congratulations to our Teacher of the Year finalists!

Teachers Michael Geoffrion of Eustis High School, Kristen Pautienus of Lake Minneola High School, and Andrea Vineyard of Tavares High School learned on Jan. 20 that they are finalists for Lake County Teacher of the Year.
The news came with a surprise visit from Superintendent Susan Moxley, Ed.D., School Board members, Education Foundation officials, former teachers of the year and other representatives from the district. 
Geoffrion Geoffrion teaches Social Studies to ninth- through 12th-grade students at Eustis High School. He said he is most proud of the collaboration he has engaged in with colleagues in his school, across the district and across the country. Geoffrion also speaks highly of the relationship he has with his students. “Most students, at any level, will strive to make their teacher proud,’’ he wrote in his TOY application. “We can use multiple matrixes and tools to measure outcomes, but the positive outcomes we desire as educators cannot be achieved without a strong student-teacher relationship.”
Pautienus Pautienus is an AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) teacher at Lake Minneola High School. The program focuses on students in the academic middle, helping make them successful in advanced classes in the secondary setting and giving them the necessary skills to be successful in college, career and life. “Capturing a kid’s heart is the most important weapon against apathy that we possess in education,’’ she wrote. “Deep down, all students want to be successful regardless of the actions they display. Sometimes the difference between a student being successful and a student giving up is having an adult that cares.”
Vineyard Vineyard is an Exceptional Student Education teacher at Tavares High School. She said her “special needs” students thrive in a consistent and structured environment. “When a student enters my classroom in the ninth grade, I tend to see a young, frightened, and meek student,” she wrote. “The ultimate goal is to have this shy and scared student leave me with the self-confidence that they need to live and thrive in this world in a way that works for them – whether it is in a group home, a sheltered workshop, or living independently.”
The winner, who for three years will get to drive a 2017 Hyundai Elantra from Jenkins Auto Group, will be announced at a banquet on Feb. 20 at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora.