For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- The winners in each of four employee categories for St. Lucie Public Schools were announced at the annual Night of the Stars gala celebration at Lincoln Park Academy Feb. 22.
The recognition program is sponsored by the St. Lucie County Education Foundation and the school board.
Oak Hammock K-8 School media specialist Heather Bolitho was named 2015 Teacher of the Year, and Parkway Elementary School school nutrition manager Angelia Jean-Louis was named 2014 School Related Employee of the Year. Both of these district representatives will move on to regional consideration for the state honors in their categories.
The Teacher of the Year distinction is historically for the year after the selection due to the year of service for the state in the following school year. The Morganti Group sponsors the award for Teacher of the Year, and the St. Lucie Education Foundation sponsors the School Related Employee of the Year award.
Self-described "new generation" teacher Leilani Ankiel, who teaches intensive reading at Treasure Coast High School, was announced as the 2014 Outstanding First Year Teacher, though she was accompanying her girls' varsity basketball team at the state championships in Lakeland and could not attend the event.
Robert Plowden, a middle grades social studies teacher at Samuel S. Gaines Academy, graduate of Lincoln Park academy and second generation St. Lucie Public Schools teacher, is the 2014 Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year. These two categories are local recognitions.
Seacoast National Bank sponsors the Outstanding First Year Teacher award, and Keiser University sponsors the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year award.
Other finalists for Teacher of the Year were Fort Pierce Central High School chorus and band teacher Matthew Boswell, and Fairlawn Elementary School media specialist Kelly Ridle.
Other finalists for School Related Employee of the Year were Palm Pointe Educational Research School health paraprofessional Michelle DeGarmo, and Allapattah Flats K-8 School school office clerk Adela DellaCroce.
Schools and district departments annually may nominate an employee at their site for the appropriate categories. Selection committees comprised of former honorees, teachers, and school and district administrators reviewed applications of the nominees for each category and interviewed applicants for the state honors. Three finalists in the Teacher of the Year and School Related Employee of the Year categories were selected, and surprise visits announced those finalists.
For more information, visit www.stlucie.k12.fl.us.