Meet Ana Andematten, 2024 Teacher of the Year Finalist

A classroom where nature and nurture meet


Mandarin Oaks Elementary School first-grade teacher Ana Andenmatten is inspired by the caring nature of her students. She brings special needs foster animals into the classroom and says her students accept them without judgement as they care for them and prepare them to go to a new forever family. 

Knowing that not all parents can afford after-school activities, she created two free after-school clubs, the Lego Club and an Animal Lovers Club that has since become a 4-H charter through the University of Florida. She also transformed an unused outdoor space into a garden oasis where the students get to plant, watch caterpillars change to monarch butterflies, sit with bunny rabbits under the trees lined with wind chimes and feed apples to an adorable, rescued pet pig. 

As the lead science teacher, she uses the garden to create hands-on learning experiences for her “little scientists.” 

See more about this amazing 2024 Teacher of the Year finalist!




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