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2013 Teacher of the Year Reflection

AprylShackelford

I have been elated to represent Duval County as their 2013 Teacher of the Year and State finalist. It has been an absolute honor to fill this position and accomplish every goal set before me in this role. It has been emotional for me as I prepare to say goodbye.  I don't want to say goodbye, but it is time. I will spend the rest of my life thanking many people for the great opportunity that has made my educational experience so much bigger than I had ever imagined it could be. I have always been curious about limits, especially the ones we put on ourselves. I have been given a new sense of confidence in the work that I do.  

This past year has been the most rewarding time in my educational career. As a transitional teacher with a criminal justice background and an individual whose road to success had major detours, I have been able to experience education on an accelerated level that provided me with immeasurable opportunities to be involved, while instilling HOPE and a message of STRONG POSSIBILITY for those in pursuit of higher education. The Teacher of the Year program has provided me with a once in a lifetime educational voyage I will forever be grateful for. It has also opened doors that have allowed me to elevate my teaching abilities and build infinite relationships with other educators, non-profit organizations and communities around the State of Florida that are invested in the future of our students.

This summer I had the privilege to teach a "best" practice lesson at the "First Annual Inaugural Teacher Summit" in Tallahassee, Florida.  I was able to intervene in a round table summit about education with our governor, commissioner of education, and chancellor; I've also had the privilege to attend the Education Summit on common core in St. Petersburg; state common core training in Phoenix, AZ.; and countless educational engagements through the state of Florida.  As an educator, I can tell you it was transformational. It isn't every day an ordinary teacher gets to sit in on a professional development seminar, roundtable discussions and summits with State and local officials, other educators from around our great state and other states to work collaboratively on what will drive the future of our education system. Thank you for your loyalty, support and this incredible honor that I will cherish forever.

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Apryl Shackelford,

2013 Duval County Teacher of the Year