Meet the finalists for 2022 VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is proud to announce the 5 finalists for the 2022 VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year


The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is proud to announce the top five finalists for the 2022 VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year.

The finalists were chosen by a community selection committee that reviewed their applications, conducted interviews and watched footage of their instruction in the classroom or online. One of the five finalists will be announced as winner of the county-wide honor live on WJXT/Channel 4.

The EDDY Awards: Live from Jacksonville! TV Special airs on January 22, 2022 at 8 PM on WJXT/Channel 4 and streams on and News4JAX+.  

The EDDY Awards gala will take place simultaneously on January 22. Through a partnership with WJXT/Channel 4, Morning Show anchor Melanie Lawson will take TV audiences live to the event, where the winner of the top honor will be announced. Beyond the five finalists and the winner, the TV Special will also celebrate every Teacher of the Year, as well as the work of every teacher in Duval County who has worked so hard to support students during this difficult year.

“We want to make our teachers feel like celebrities,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “After everything they’ve done for our kids, they deserve to have a moment when the community comes together and celebrates them.”

“Channel 4 is proud to continue our partnership with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to honor the dedication of educators.  It is their commitment to our children now that will drive the future of our community,” says VP/General Manager Terri Cope Walton.  “We serve to share that commitment by recognizing these individuals.”

You can help provide these opportunities for recognition and learning to teachers! Find out how far your impact goes when you make an online donation to JPEF’s Giving Days Campaign. 

See the full list of finalists below!

Amanda Hildenbrand - Sponsored by Wells Fargo


School: Crown Point Elementary School 

Grade: 1st Grade 

Subject: All 

Teaching Experience: 8 years  

It is important to me that I always keep moving forward. The pandemic has been tough on all of us. While teaching in 2020-2021, I cut a heart out of paper and taped it to my whiteboard. It was my visual to always remember to lead with my heart and be the best version of myself." 

Shakeya Lee - Sponsored by Florida Blue


School: Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy 

Grade: 3rd Grade 

Subject: English Language Arts and Social Studies 

Teaching Experience: 3 years  

The very thing that inspires me as an educator is the same thing that inspires me in all aspects of my life. Hope. The odds might be stacked against us but I am constantly surrounded by and reminded of the fact that there is hope...there is always hope!”

Candice Lilly - Sponsored by Deutsche Bank


School: Mandarin Oaks Elementary  

Grade: Kindergarten Inclusion 

Subject: All 

Teaching Experience: 8 years  

"I continually try to find ways to engage my students both in and outside the classroom. Volunteering for clubs and organizations gives me a great opportunity to give back! I have had the privilege of being a coach for Girls on the Run numerous years. Girls on the Run creates a safe space for young girls to take part in physical activity while talking about such things as emotions, peer pressure and bullying.” 

Charles Darwin Magdaluyo - Sponsored by Rotary International


School: Jean Ribault High School  

Grade: 9th and 12th  

Subject: Human Anatomy and Physiology 

Teaching Experience: 7 years  

“I personally believe that in helping each other out as a circle of academicians, the people who benefit the most as we grow in this profession are not the teachers but the STUDENTS- our bedrock. Whatever I've been sharing in the trainings are things I've learned from my former colleagues who have been helpful as well when I was starting, so it is a form of giving back. And as this goes on and on, like what I said, the students are the ones who benefit from it." 

Nick Nelson - Sponsored by VyStar


School: Sabal Palm Elementary   

Grade: 2nd Grade  

Subject: All 

Teaching Experience: 9 years  

In recent years, I have tried to assume a role as a servant leader at Sabal Palm Elementary. I have established a new program called Talk of the Flock—an after-hours boys club that will address behavioral inconsistencies using the Harmony SEL (social-emotional learning) evidence-based toolkit. The program will support up to 20 members and is on track to begin in January 2022.” 












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