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The EDDY Awards Experience Launches: Celebrating, Empowering and Elevating Duval County’s Teachers of the Year

Last week, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) hosted the first EDDY Awards event of the year, Orientation, which aims to celebrate and elevate Duval County’s 176 school-level Teachers of the Year. We asked these incredible teachers to share some of their thoughts on what makes a high-quality teacher:

“A high-quality teacher understands that not everyone learns the same. They differentiate and they don’t let anything interrupt the process. They open their doors and try new things.”

“A high-quality teacher is focused first and foremost on making her students feel valued and loved. They realize that they share learnings and they don’t impart wisdom. A high-quality teacher collaborates with colleagues to share best practices.”

“I believe a high-quality teacher knows her students - their strengths and weaknesses, their fears and struggles. A high-quality teacher has the trust of her co-workers, students, and parents. A high-quality teacher consistently tries to improve practices to meet the educational goals of his/her class and seeks new ways to help make the curriculum engaging.”

The orientation was held at EverBank Field and provided teachers a chance to network and learn from each other. We overheard conversations about how formative assessment and technology are used in classrooms and what types of motivational strategies teachers employ to engage each and every student. We observed as Pre-K teachers chatted with high school teachers and middle school music teachers engaged with fourth-grade math teachers. The collective energy and excitement in the room were indescribable.

During the program, a variety of community members and educators spoke about how critical teachers are in making Jacksonville the great city that it is today. Philanthropist, former Jacksonville Jaguars player, and Duval Public Schools alumni Rashean Mathis spoke about hope and love and the role that teachers play in helping our students be the best they can be. Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis spoke of how long-lasting the impact of a great teacher can be on a student’s life. 2017 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Latrece Brown-Sudduth, encouraged the Teachers of the Year to take advantage of every opportunity this year and to find their “special.”

The teachers also had the chance to hear from the 2018 Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year, Tammy Jerkins. Tammy believes that teachers are superheroes and inspired the group by reminding them that way they do each and every day truly is remarkable work.

The 176 school-level Teachers of the Year will now compete for the honor of being named the 2018 Duval County Teacher of the Year. For more information about how that process is conducted, check out this post.

We are so excited and honored to work with and learn from these incredible educators. We can’t wait to celebrate, elevate, and empower them through the 2017-2018 school year!

Which school-based teacher of the year are you connected to? How have they made an impact in your life? Tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook. Use the hashtag #EDDYAwardsJax too!