JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 12, 2016 — Kay Park was named the 2016 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 25th Anniversary of the EDDY Awards. Park, a third grade teacher at Alimacani Elementary, was selected among five exceptional finalists.
Park was recognized for her leadership within and beyond school walls — mentor, educator and volunteer. She has committed to the teaching profession with nearly 30 years of advancing student achievement in Duval County public schools. Park believes that “every child must know that are capable of success through hard work and perseverance.”
As an educator, Park strives for her students to “see our role models in action.” Parents, community members, law enforcement, first responders and the military are welcome in the classroom to build relationships, trust and mutual respect. Park has a 96 percent rating for the 2014 Collaborative Assessment System for Teachers.
As the 2016 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Park will go on to compete for the statewide title.
The EDDY Awards teacher of the year program is an initiative of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and it is more than just one day of celebration — it is a year-long effort to celebrate and elevate Duval County’s best public school educators. It includes the Wells Fargo Excellence In Teaching Seminar Series, which will make the best practices and live classroom demonstration of 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 Park and all 170 Teachers of the Year go to www.eddyawardsjax.org.
The event celebrated 25 years of the EDDY Awards, which was originally started by the Rotary Clubs of Duval County. Past Duval County Teachers of the Year were honored at the ceremony, including winners going back to 1985.
“It was a thrill to share the 25th anniversary of this event with nearly 1,000 educators and public education advocates,” said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. “The EDDY Awards is truly the best day of the year.”
Like every Duval County Teacher of the Year, Park will join the Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year.
“I am inspired by the talented and committed teachers that are working every day in every classroom to help children in our city reach their fullest potential. On behalf of everyone in Duval County Public Schools, congratulations to Kay Park and all of the teachers of the year!” said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.
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 Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. The finalists are:
- Douglas Brown, Honors and A.P. United States government teacher at Duncan U. Fletcher High School
- Dionne M. Clayton, guidance counselor at Paxon School for Advanced Studies
- Jaime Plauche, mathematics lead teacher at Fishweir Elementary
- Darryl L. White II, language arts and athletic director at Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School
Teachers of the year from 170 schools were nominated, and evaluated by committees of volunteers, who ultimately narrowed the down to 14 semi-finalists, and then five finalists. Bios, photos and more information on all the teachers of the year are available at www.eddyawardsjax.org.
Tonight’s EDDY Awards also included a presentation of the Third Annual Innovation Prize Award, presented by the Community First Cares Foundation, to recognize the most innovative project on PowerUP Jax, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s teacher innovation competitive grant program. The winner was Riley Krotz, a science teacher at Duncan U. Fletcher Middle School, recognized for exposing his students to use their creativity and scientific experimentation to build a robot of their own design.