Teacher of the Year Finalists Surprised at Three Sarasota County Schools

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Pictured: Shannon Haddad of Ashton Elementary School getting surprised with the 'Teacher of the Year' Award, photo courtesy of Education Foundation

Three Sarasota County teachers were surprised Thursday, November 4, when they were revealed as finalists for the district’s elementary, middle and high school Teacher of the Year honors. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County (EFSC) sponsors the Ignite Education: Teacher of the Year annual recognition in partnership with Sarasota County Schools.

This year’s finalists are Elementary: Shannon Haddad, Ashton Elementary School; Middle: Jennifer Jaso, Sarasota Middle School; and High: Loridia Urquiza, Booker High School. The Teacher Tribute Tour Team celebrated the finalists in person at their schools with balloons, flowers, and enthusiastic fanfare custom-planned by each school’s leadership. This year’s Teacher Tribute Tour team included Vigne; Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer Chris Renouf, district executive directors Steve Cantees, and Dr. Brandon Johnson. In addition, principals Kristi Jarvis, Jennifer Nzeza, and Rachel Shelley, along with family members of the honorees, participated in their schools’ celebrations.   

“We are so excited to return to an in-person celebration of our Teacher of the Year finalists,” said Education Foundation President and CEO Jennifer Vigne. “This is the third school year impacted by the pandemic, and our wonderful teachers continually inspire us by rising to the incredible challenges and keeping their focus on helping students rise to their individual potential.” 

All 43 school-based Teacher of the Year finalists will be honored, and one of the three finalists will be named the overall Sarasota County Teacher of the Year, at the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s Ignite Education Awards Celebration on December 9 at Michael’s on East.

The district Teacher of the Year will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Program and will serve as a spokesperson for and representative of the teaching profession at various events throughout 2023. “Our school communities have not let the pandemic hinder their progress, especially our resilient Teachers of the Year,” said Dr. Brennan Asplen, Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “These special teachers have invested considerable time, heart and talent into their students. Their collective impact is truly tangible and life-changing.” 

More information about the Ignite Education Awards Celebration, including ticket availability, will be updated online at EdFoundationSRQ.org/ignite.

Pictured: Shannon Haddad of Ashton Elementary School getting surprised with the 'Teacher of the Year' Award, photo courtesy of Education Foundation

Learn more about EFSC here.

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