JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 15, 2019 — Sarah Pasion was named the 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 28th Annual EDDY Awards, hosted by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF). Pasion (pronounced PASH-shon), a fourth grade math and science teacher at Sadie T. Tillis Elementary, was selected through a community-led process from 182 teachers nominated by public schools in Duval County.
Ms. Pasion, who grew up in the Philippines, has taught at Sadie T. Tillis for 15 years. Her students, who include emergent bilingual students, have shown remarkable progress in learning math in her classroom, helping Sadie T. Tillis improve its school grade from an “F” to a “C.” In her model math classroom, which serves as an example across the district, Ms. Pasion uses an approach called “productive talk,” in which students question one another’s thinking and check for understanding, to promote language and critical thinking skills. She uses data to personalize her instruction for each student, and she mentors other teachers to help them incorporate the latest instructional standards into their teaching.
“Though I'm a product of a different cultural background and values, and from the other part of the globe, I will always strive to motivate and engage all the students of different races in learning [rather] than simply accepting that they are destined to do poorly,” Ms. Pasion wrote in her application for 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year.
“Ms. Pasion is a truly exemplary educator who not only expertly helps her fourth graders connect the dots in math class, but -- like all great educators -- helps them connect the dots to a lifetime of learning and achievement,” Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said. “I could not be more impressed with her excellence in teaching, and her clear devotion and dedication that she exhibits for her students. Ms. Pasion is a radiant example of all the amazing and committed educators that comprise Team Duval, who work vigorously every day to ensure that every student succeeds!”
"Ms. Pasion exemplifies the excellence and dedication of so many teachers in Duval County,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “She does extraordinary work in the classroom and as a teacher leader in our school district. I hope all of Jacksonville will join me in congratulating and thanking Ms. Pasion for helping create a bright future for our children.
As the 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Pasion will go on to compete for the statewide title.
In addition to the headlining award, the EDDY Awards also recognized 10 teachers in the Florida Blue Spotlight: Jeffrey Bellamy, Mt. Herman Exceptional Student Center; Susan Dougherty, Frank H. Peterson Academies; Cez Erika Generoso, Mandarin Oaks Elementary School; Jeffrey Horton, Oceanway Middle School; Robert Kennedy, Abess Park Elementary School; Meaghan Wilkes, Whitehouse Elementary School; Janelle Wiggins, Alden Road Exceptional Student Center; Aaron Leatherbarrow, River City Science Academy Innovation; Santrice Redding, Wayman Academy Of The Arts; Octavia Sloan, Kipp Jacksonville Elementary School. The Florida Blue Spotlight teachers, who were selected for demonstrating excellence in the classroom, will receive $5,000 classroom grants. In addition, Michelle Chambers, an instructional coach at John E. Ford Pre K-8 School, won the Axalta All Pro Teacher award and a $5,000 classroom grant, which went to the semifinalist teacher who received the most votes online. Ms. Chambers received more than 12,000 votes from more than 41,000 votes cast in a two-week period.
The EDDY Awards Teacher of the Year program is an initiative of JPEF to celebrate, elevate and empower Duval County teachers, which includes professional development and networking for all school-level teachers of the year for the entire year.
In addition to a cash prize and a classroom grant provided by the Rotary Clubs of Duval County, Pasion will join the JPEF Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year, as is tradition with every Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year. Pasion and the other four finalists will also participate in a 2-week summer fellowship with JPEF this summer to develop their leadership skills and connect them with leading educators and decision makers.