Update: Christie Bassett was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year just after 8 p.m. at the end of a ceremony from Hard Rock Live at Universal in Orlando.
Bassett, from Lakeland, “attended Kathleen High School and received her degree from Florida Southern College,” The Ledger in Lakeland wrote earlier this year. “She said she got her inspiration from an art teacher who put a piece of her art in a show. To her surprise, the piece won and it encouraged her interest in art. Bassett, 29, started as a substitute teacher in 2004. She said she appreciates the support of her principal, family and husband.”
Jill Espinoa, Flagler County’s Teacher of the Year, is among the five finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year. We’ll know by 8 p.m. if she’s the winner. The award ceremony leading up to the announcement begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, from Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios in Orlando. You can watch the entire ceremony live by webcast, below.
Espinosa was chosen Teacher of the Year in Flagler in January, along with Flagler Palm Coast High School’s Cindy Moore, who is the non-instructional employee of the year. She learned she was among the finalists in a surprise announcement in May.
Deborah Norville, anchor of Inside Edition, will serve as master of ceremonies. First Lady Ann Scott along with Darlene Hanes, Macy’s Executive Vice President–Macy’s is the chief sponsor of the Teacher of the Year award–and Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart will lead the celebration.
Watch here (the actual live ceremony will follow the slide show at about 6:25 p.m.):
· ESOL Teacher Jill Espinosa of Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County
· K-6 Science and Math Teacher Lyndsey Matheny of Citrus Elementary School in Indian River County
· Performing Arts, Band Director and Music Teacher Kevin Ford of Tarpon Springs High School in Pinellas County
· K-12 Art Teacher Christie Bassett of Highlands Grove Elementary School in Polk County
· and English Language Arts and Teaching Academy Teacher Daryl Cullipher of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County.
Macy’s is sponsoring and producing the awards ceremony for the 26th year. During the event, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state will be recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching. Each of the nominees will be presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school, funded by the Macy’s Foundation.
In addition to a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, the Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State. To date, Macy’s and the Macy’s Foundation have contributed over $2.6 million to teachers throughout the state.
This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Each finalist is selected on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.