2013 Teacher of the Year

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Apryl Shackelford was named the 2013 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 22nd  Annual EDDY Awards. Shackelford, the Lead Reading Teacher at Northwestern Middle School, was selected from five outstanding finalists.

Shackelford is a former high school dropout who overcame her circumstances to earn bachelors and masters degrees. She works primarily with students who struggle in reading. While she uses her personal life experiences to inspire her students, Shackelford relies on data-driven instruction so that students know when they have reached benchmarks and when they need to review in order to reach a target. She continuously encourages her students while providing them with the skills to take charge of their own learning.  As a result, all of her students make significant gains from the time they enter and leave her class.

Shackelford is the Young Ladies Lead Advisor for a group called F.I.R.E., which stands for Fabulous Young Ladies, Innovative, Responsible and Educated. Through this program, young women focus on values like honesty, caring, respect, responsibility and confidence. As a result, they become strong and confident which translates not only to success in the classroom, but in life. In addition, Shackelford is the Chair of the Northwestern Middle School Advisory Council (SAC).

The EDDY Awards is a joint venture of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. As the Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Shackelford will go on to compete for the state-wide title.

The Teacher of the Year program is more than just one day of celebration. It includes the Wells Fargo Excellence In Teaching Seminar Series, which will make the best practices and live classroom demonstration of eight outstanding Teachers of the Year accessible to all teachers in Duval County.

The Rotary Clubs of Duval County - the organization that founded the EDDY Awards tradition - provides individual cash awards and establishes five funds at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund for each of the finalists to use for a project at their school. For more information about Shackelford and all 162 school-level teachers of the year, go to www.eddyawardsjax.org.

"The community is eager to support and learn from great teachers in our city," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "Apryl Shackelford is an inspirational educator, and she and all of the other teachers of the year have so much insight to share."

Like every Teacher of the Year, Shackelford will join the Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year until the 2014 Teacher of the Year is named.

"We are inspired by the hope, imagination, and love of learning these teachers instill in their students each day," said Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "As Superintendent, I am privileged to support their work and sincerely thank them for their tireless efforts in preparing students for lifelong learning and success."

"The Schultz Center's mission is great teaching, every day, in every classroom.  That is what we are honoring through this year's EDDY Awards," said Deborah Gianoulis Heald, President and CEO of the Schultz Center.

The other four finalists - as well as all school-level teachers of the year - were also honored at the EDDYs, which took place at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. The finalists were:

  • Scott Cason, history teacher at Mandarin High School
  • Cameron Foley, reading intervention specialist at Ramona Boulevard Elementary School
  • Blair Nolan, English/language arts teacher at First Coast High School
  • Robyn White, reading coach at West Jacksonville Elementary School

The finalists were chosen from 15 semi-finalists after interviews with the District Selection Committee. Teachers of the year from 162 schools were nominated, and evaluated based on their nomination packet, which included information about their professional development, classroom practices and knowledge of current educational topics.