EDDY Awards: Celebrating and learning from our best teacher

The EDDY Awards, an annual event to celebrate Duval County's leading teachers, is a time-honored tradition that has grown into its new mission to elevate the role of Jacksonville's best teachers.

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Joseph Frencl

Atlantic Coast High School

2014 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year

Joseph Frencl was named the 2014 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year on March 12, 2014 at the 23rd Annual EDDY Awards. Frencl, a math teacher at Atlantic Coast High School, was selected from five outstanding finalists.

Frencl, who has been a finalist for Teacher of the Year in other years, was recognized as an outstanding educator who sees building relationships with his students as a key factor in his success. Understanding that math can be scary, he stood out for making even advanced calculus relevant and fun. Frencl and his students sing the quadratic formula song, chant the pattern for factoring sum and difference of two cubes, tell corny math jokes and get "pied" in the face in celebration of Pi Day.

His students' success speaks for itself. Since the 1999-2000 school year, 90 percent of Frencl's AP Calculus students passed the AP Calculus test and 34 percent scored a 5, the highest possible score.

As the Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Frencl will go on to compete for the state-wide title.

The Teacher of the Year program, a joint venture of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership, is more than just one day of celebration. It includes the Wells Fargo Excellence In Teaching Seminar Series, which will make the best practices and live classroom demonstration of eight 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 Frencl and all 161 school-level teachers of the year, go towww.eddyawardsjax.org.

"The community is inspired by the exceptional educators honored tonight at the EDDY Awards," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "We look forward to all of the great things that teacher leaders throughout Duval County will do in the coming year."

Like every Teacher of the Year, Frencl will join the Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year until the 2015 Teacher of the Year is named.

"Expert teachers know how to reach all students through their caring and their craft, elevating the profession and creating a culture of learning. Congratulations!" said Deborah Gianoulis Heald, President and CEO of the Schultz Center.

"It is an honor to recognize the exceptional work of the educators recognized through the EDDY awards and all of the educators throughout our district," said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. "The role teachers play in the education and lives of our students is tremendous. Our district has seen and continues to see historical success through record achievement by students. These achievements can undoubtedly be credited to the diligent, consistent and hard work of our educators."

The sign on Mr. Frencls' bulletin board reads "We are building a culture of greatness." He begins every year with the belief that all of his students will pass the AP Calculus exam and he works to ensure that each of his students has the same faith in their own ability.

"Mr. Frencl...is the best of the best and I will always be grateful for his teaching and support."

Camden Anderson

Student

Education

  • MS, Vanderbilt University
  • BS, Cumberland College

Highlights

  • AP Exam reader
  • Mentor teacher
  • Led district-based Professional Learning Community (PLC) for AP Calculus
  • Led and organized district Calculus Boot Camps
  • Recognized by district leadership for 100% passing rate on 2000 AP Calculus Exam
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Amanda Dyal

Southside Middle School

Finalist

In journalism school, Ms. Dyal's favorite articles were always about education. After researching and writing about a program for educators at the local community college, Ms. Dyal decided to pursue a career as a math teacher.

Ms. Dyal found the work challenging and it wasn't until she engaged her students as active participants in their learning that she began to see success. She is constantly asking her children "why?" She asks them to explain their answers and provides opportunities for her students to engage in meaningful conversations about math concepts. Ms. Dyal understands that students who have an attainable goal will work hard for it. 

She incorporates technology in her instruction on a daily basis using PowerPoint, interactive math manipulatives and video and audio clips. She encourages active participation and when a student successfully finishes their work early, they become helpers who explain concepts to their peers who may be struggling. This provides enrichment for the helpers and remediation for those who need additional support.

In 2012 Ms. Dyal was invited to take part in a pilot program called the Newcomers' Program designed for students in their first two years in the United States. In her first class, Ms. Dyal had a student from Africa who had never been to school and didn't understand any English and a student from Italy who had limited English skills but was two years ahead of his American peers in math. She worked hard to build relationships with each of her students. In learning more about each of them individually, Ms. Dyal was able to devise plans for instruction. Ms. Dyal describes this school year as her favorite of the six she has been teaching.

"Ms. Dyal is a highly engaged and thoughtful individual who brings a desire to improve herself as well as those around her."

Zeina Khanachet

Principal

Education

  • BA, Truman State University

Highlights

  • Certification in Math 6-12, Middle Grades Math 5-9 and Elementary Education K-6
  • ESOL Endorsement
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Jessica von Eiff

Westview K - 8

For the first ten years of her teaching career, Ms. von Eiff taught in a Special Education classroom with "normal" high school students. The students were not very different from their peers. In 2010 she moved to Westview K - 8 and in 2011 was asked to teach in a class of Participatory Level Academic (PLA) students.

A PLA classroom is different from all other classrooms. Ms. von Eiff is responsible for meeting all the needs of her students throughout the day. She is not only a teacher, but a nurturer, cab driver, caretaker, cook, advisor and friend. Her students' success cannot always be measured by a test, although ultimately, Ms. von Eiff's goal is for her students to become confident learners. She works hard to stimulate their curiosity and to facilitate communication. She describes one of her greatest accomplishments was teaching a child to make her own breakfast. It took the entire year for the student to master this skill, but the look on her father's face was priceless and his daughter, who cannot speak, was proud of her accomplishment.

Ms. von Eiff ensures that every feat, no matter how small or great, is celebrated and rewarded. She teaches her students to face each hurdle with determination and confidence. Ms. von Eiff remains focused on her purpose and describes herself as driven by the following quote from Kate Bornstein; "Let's stop 'tolerating' or 'accepting' difference, as if we're so much better for not being different in the first place. Instead, let's celebrate difference in this world because it takes lots of guts to be different."

"Through her enthusiasm, hard work, and careful planning, Ms. von Eiff's students excel in all academic areas. Her dedication provides her students with the opportunity to experience and achieve their personal best."

Beverly L. Walker

Principal

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Special Education, University of Florida
  • Associate in Arts, Florida Community College at Jacksonville

Highlights

  • Best Buddies Co-sponsor
  • DTU Teacher Representative
  • Student Government, Executive Board Sponsor
  • Miss Ed White Co-director
  • Bowling Assistant Coach, Gateway and District Conference Champs
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Iris B. Caro

Central Riverside

The teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) students is more than a special education teacher. Ms. Caro teaches all subjects in a multi-level classroom; she teaches primary and secondary language; she is an interpreter, counselor, advocate and mediator. Her students come to her classroom missing a critical period of language acquisition due to their hearing loss. Many come without a form of communication or language. Teaching students the use of a primary language (ASL) with the combination of the acquisition of the secondary language (English) becomes the main objective.

Ms. Caro explains that the factors that impact success for students without hearing loss are the same as those for students with hearing loss; early intervention and parent involvement. Ms. Caro's instruction is designed for students who often have not communicated at all at home because parents have not learned American Sign Language, the child's only mode of communication. Once Ms. Caro establishes language, even a moderate level of communication that did not previously exist opens doors for learning. Language acquisition not only improves academic success, but promotes social and developmental growth. Ms. Caro's ultimate goal is for her students to leave her self-contained classroom and move to a mainstream classroom.

She works to inspire educators to raise the bar for students with hearing loss and to encourage them to maintain high expectations.

Ms. Caro identifies closely with her students as she came to the United States without knowing the language or understanding much of the culture. Like her students, she was able to learn and grow socially, emotionally, professionally and personally. It is her desire to be a leader who leaves a legacy of inspiration for students of all levels to believe that we are all born with a unique potential to realize our dreams.

"Ms. Caro has been (our child's) instructor, motivator, advocate and his fan. There are many things that could be said for Ms. Caro as a person as well as a teacher but I will just say she has been a Godsend."

The Mocks

Parents

Education

  • Master of Education - Special Education and Exceptional Student: Deaf Education Track, University of North Florida
  • Bachelor of Arts in Education - Special Education, University of North Florida
  • Associate in Arts, Florida Community College at Jacksonville

Highlights

  • Fluent in English, Spanish, ASL
  • Team Player Award 2012
  • Elected member for 2012 - 2013 School Progression Plan Committee
  • Member, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee
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Carol L. Wright

Mt. Herman Exceptional Center

Ms. Wright is in her 35th and final year as a public education teacher and feels especially thankful that she is ending her career doing what she loves most, hands-on teaching of students who have significant disabilities. Her career has been based on a foundation of three principles: every student deserves the best she has to give everyday; all of us, regardless of ability, disability, pay grade or title have a responsibility to participate in, take responsibility for and contribute to life; and everybody needs to "pay it forward."

Ms. Wright designs time in her classroom so that students have as many opportunities as possible to participate in real life functional tasks requiring personal responsibility, recognition that they are part of a larger community of others, problem solving, making choices, all with the goal of discovering their abilities. All of this work is framed by an attitude of respect for our students as people/adults who have value and who are in need of our help to discover who they are.

When she arrived at Mt. Herman, the principal tasked Ms. Wright with developing a model classroom for the post high school transition program. Within two months she created a fully functional vocational enterprise program which she continues to expand and develop. Ms. Wright's expertise continues to inform educators at UNF and the Center for Autism Research and Development among others.

Ms. Wright continues to "pay it forward" in her last year of teaching. She sees herself and all teachers as the gatekeepers of the opportunities that public education provides for all our children. It is her obligation to help her colleagues become better teachers, her students learn something that might improve their life or just make someone else's day a little better.

"I am sad that she is retiring because she is such a great teacher, friend and home away from home parent that loves and cares for not only my daughter but all the kids she teaches."

Regina McClendon

Parent

Education

  • PhD, University of Florida
  • Med-Special Education, University of North Florida
  • BAE-Physical Education, University of North Florida

Highlights

  • Center for Autism Research and Development: Model Classroom Site
  • Coordinator Special Olympics and Special Olympics District Committee Member
  • Board Certification
  • Numerous In-Service trainings and presentations

Additional Honors

Upcoming Event

School Board Meeting

  • Date: Tuesday, May 07, 2019
  • Time: 6:00PM to 8:00PM
  • Where: Cline Auditorium 1701 Prudential Drive Jacksonville, FL 32207
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2019 Education Poll

Teachers matter

In JPEF's 2019 Public Perceptions Poll, participants said teachers, parents and school leaders have the biggest impact on school quality.

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85.1 % of students district-wide graduated high school in 2018, a record high.

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