For Hometown News
Emily Edwards, a fourth grade teacher from Starke Elementary School, is Volusia County Schools' Teacher of the Year for 2014.
She will serve as Volusia County's Teacher of the Year throughout this school year and next, representing all of Volusia's teachers.
Ms. Edwards received her award before an audience of 900 friends of public education at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort on Friday, Jan. 25.
The celebration was co-hosted by FUTURES Foundation and the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"The teachers and educators in Volusia County are absolutely amazing, innovative and passionate about the students of Volusia County," said Chris Hill, FUTURES Foundation President. "Year in and year out they exceed the expectations set and mandated by either the state or federal government. It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with dedicated individuals throughout the county and witness first hand their impact on the students.
Ms. Edwards began her career at Starke in 2009 after graduating from Stetson University. She is a fourth grade teacher and, in 2010 and 2011, was charged with teaching writing to the entire fourth grade.
In Ms. Edwards' opinion, thinking, designing and implementing new ways to teach her students is the most creatively satisfying aspect of teaching.
A colleague described Ms. Edwards as someone who goes above and beyond for her students, always looking for new and innovative ways to make learning fun and relevant for them. Ms. Edwards knows that her students can achieve success by having consecutive effective teachers. She believes effective teachers engage their students consistently and that is her first priority.
Ms. Edwards succeeds Leslie Birney, a fourth grade teacher from Citrus Grove Elementary School, who was Volusia County's 2013 Teacher of the Year.
Four other teachers received special recognition as finalists:
Jami L. Atkinson, ESE consultation teacher/ academic coach, Heritage Middle
Melanie Kestory, third grade, DeBary Elementary
Amber Leahey McAndrew, fourth/fifth grade gifted, Tomoka Elementary
Jonathan Pearce, history/civics, DeLand Middle.