Educators from Winter Park, Riviera Beach, Dover, Bristol and Anthony named finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year.
Awaiting them was a phone call from Florida Education Commissioner Frank Brogan who informed them that they have been chosen as the five finalists for the 1996 Florida Department of Education/Burdines Florida Teacher of the Year.
The teachers are Delois B. Cottingham of Lake Howell High School in Winter Park; Phoebe D. Irby of Dover Elementary School in Dover; David Edward Williams of Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach; Sonya M. Capps of Liberty County High School in Bristol; and Gina M. Evers of Anthony Elementary School in Anthony.
Following the conversation with Brogan, each teacher was presented a $5,000 check by a Burdines representative. For the seventh year, Florida-based Burdines department stores has contributed $100,000 to the state-run Teacher of the Year program. According to Brogan, this gift is the single largest corporate cash contribution to Florida public schools.
In addition to the $5,000 awarded to each of the five finalists, $1,000 will be presented by Burdines to each of their respective schools.
The Florida Department of Education/Burdines Florida Teacher of the Year will be named May 18 at the Marriott's Orlando World Center in a ceremony televised live throughout the state via Florida Public Television.
The winning teacher will receive a total cash prize of $10,000, a Lenox Crystal trophy and other merchandise.
This year's five finalists were chosen from more than 120,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community.
Each finalist is selected on the basis of superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The most important qualification is the teacher's superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities, Brogan said.
The remaining 67 district winners will each receive $750 from Burdines, plus $250 for programs at their respective schools.
CONTACT: O'Connell & Goldberg Inc., Hollywood, Fla.
Dalia Baseman/Hillary Reynolds, 305/964-9098