How 2013 Duval County Teacher of the Year Finalists used their $1,000 grants this school year


Last month Duval County celebrated 161 outstanding teachers at the annual EDDY Awards.  The five finalists (Amanda Dyal, Jessica von Eiff, Iris Caro, Carol Wright and Joseph Frencl) all received a $1,000.00 grant from the Duval County Rotaries for use in their classroom or school.  As we usher in the new teachers of the year, let's take a look back at how the 2013 finalists used their grant funds to benefit their students.  


Apryl Shackelford
2013 Duval County Teacher of the Year
Northwestern Middle School

There are truly NO words to show the light in my students' eyes when they received recognition and incentives as a product of the Rotaries' generosity. I was able to purchase a Kindle Fire HD, 2 Nook Books, 1 Acer mini laptop, an iPod Shuffle and a variety of gift cards to highlight the other students that made significant gains. The students will now be able to take advantage of the BYOD (bring your own device) wireless network at school. They can use the e-books inside the classroom to access lessons and reading materials. Through my experience as a teacher, I've learned that all my students really need is encouragement and motivation to help them reach their highest potential, take charge of their learning, and measure their own success. The Rotary grant has given my students immeasurable opportunities and HOPE, they otherwise would not have had.

Dr. Blair Nolan
2013 Teacher of the Year Finalist
First Coast High School

With the generous funds that I have received, I was able to purchase over 100 high interest books for struggling readers.  These books will be used to enrich classroom libraries in Intensive Reading classes for ninth grade Level 1 readers.  Because these students have severe reading deficiencies, it is incredibly important to empower these students with choice when selecting a book.  We want to help our students understand the transformative power of reading, and in order to accomplish that goal, we must first help them fall in love with the reading process.  These books will significantly increase our chances of matching our struggling readers with books they can appreciate and relate to.

Scott Cason
2013 Teacher of the Year Finalist
Mandarin High School

The funds that I used went towards the purchase of a Windows Surface Tablet, and I have only just begun to see its benefits. Currently I use it as a research tool in the classroom when I am disengaged from my computer; either while circulating among my groups or during our Socratic Seminar.  This has truly allowed me to become a mobile teacher and enhanced my one-on-one interactions with my students. What I am particularly excited about, however, is interfacing up the Surface with my (soon-to-be) Smart board.  This will make me even more mobile as an instructor as I will be able to use the tablet as I would a mobile device. I am just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential this technology holds for my classroom.  I sense that as the applications improve, I will see even greater benefit from it in the future.  For that, I am very grateful.

Cameron Foley
2013 Teacher of the Year Finalist
Ramona Boulevard Elementary School

The funds from the Teacher of the Year Rotary grant were spent on materials needed to establish a science lab at Ramona Boulevard Elementary. Prior to receiving this grant, there was no science lab. Thanks to the generous support from the Deerwood Rotary, we now have a lab available that will serve all of the schools' students for years to come. I wanted to find a way for this grant to have an impact on student achievement that would endure beyond one year, and this most certainly will.

Materials needed to get the lab up and running included microscopes, equipment for conducting temperature experiments including a microwave, refrigerator, and a hot plate, and an air compressor for investigations pertaining to pressure.  It has been an exciting process, and the students enjoy getting to spend time in their very own science lab. Each class has time allotted for the science lab every week.

Robyn White
2013 Teacher of the Year Finalist
West Jacksonville Elementary School

Here at West Jacksonville Elementary, we are striving to prepare our students for academic success. In order to achieve this goal, we will use the items that we purchase through the Teacher of the Year Rotary Grant to assist our students with their academics.  The white boards will be utilized in our math classes and the headphones in our computer lab.  The notebook paper and pencils will be distributed to our students who are unable to purchase these items.  These items will help us prepare our students reach their academic goals and prepare them for a bright future.


Carly Yetzer




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.