Florida Teacher of the Year Announced

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Update: Macy's Press Office
July 10, 2014

ORLANDO, FL – JULY 10, 2014 – Christie Bassett, K-6 Art Teacher of Highlands Grove Elementary School in Polk County, was named the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year at the annual awards gala, held this evening at Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando. Hundreds of teachers, school administrators, and state education leaders, along with families and friends, were in attendance to learn who would be honored as the Florida’s top educator this year. Emmy Award-winning journalist Deborah Norville hosted the awards ceremony, and was joined by First Lady Ann Scott; Mike Krauter, Macy’s President and Regional Director of Stores; Darlene Hanes, Macy’s Executive Vice President, Regional Director of Stores; and Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart for the announcement.

“Teachers generously give of themselves every day to educate children and empower future generations to achieve great things,” said Darlene Hanes, Macy’s Executive Vice President, Regional Director of Stores. “Macy’s is thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate with and honor Christie Bassett for her dedication and commitment to education and for always helping students reach for the stars.”

This marks the 26th year of Macy’s sponsorship of the Florida Teacher of the Year program. Macy’s presented Ms. Bassett with a check totaling $10,000, a $1,000 wardrobe, a $1,000 check for her school and an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“I am so honored to recognize Christie Bassett as the 2015 Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart. “I am confident she will serve as an excellent Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, motivating and inspiring teachers across the state as they work to ensure our students are prepared for success in college, career and life. I look forward to working closely with Christie in the upcoming year.”

In May, Macy’s awarded $5,000 to each of the other four finalists – ESOL Teacher Jill Espinosa of Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County; K-6 Science and Math Teacher Lyndsey Matheny of Citrus Elementary School in Indian River County; Performing Arts, Band Director and Music Teacher Kevin Ford of Tarpon Springs High School in Pinellas County; and English Language Arts and Teaching Academy Teacher Daryl Cullipher of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County. Each of their respective schools also received $1,000.

A new addition to this year’s awards gala, Macy’s presented three special awards to Florida teachers. The Magic of Leadership award was presented to Danielle Clark of Holley Navarre Intermediate School in Santa Rosa County as a teacher who leads by example. The Magic of Teaching award was presented to Kristen Iannuzzi of West Orange High School in Orange County as a teacher who goes beyond the basic job description to continue positive growth in her students. The Magic of Giving award was presented to Myrna Betancourt from South Dade Educational Center in Miami-Dade County as a teacher with a unique ability to create positive change in the community. Each recipient was surprised with the award and a $1,000 Macy’s gift card.

For the past 26 years, Macy’s has annually contributed $100,000 to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, making it one of the largest corporate cash contributions to Florida public schools. To date, Macy’s has contributed more than $2.5 million to teachers throughout the state.

The Florida Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 189,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Florida’s top educator is selected on the basis of the 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 ability to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the awards ceremony, 67 district winners were recognized and each received $750 from Macy’s, plus $250 for programs at their respective schools.


Update: Associated Press
July 10, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A central Florida elementary school art teacher has been named Florida's 2015 Teach of the Year.

Christie Bassett, of Highlands Grove Elementary School in Polk County, was announced as the winner in Orlando Thursday night at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios.

Bassett and four other finalists were selected in May from among 72 school district nominees: Jill Espinosa, of Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County; Lyndsey Matheny, of Citrus Elementary School in Indian River County; Kevin Ford, of Tarpon Springs High School in Pinellas County; and Daryl Cullipher, of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County.

Bassett will receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy's Foundation, along with an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


News Release: Associated Press
July 10,2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's 2015 Teacher of the Year is set to be named in Orlando.

Florida first lady Ann Scott, who will attend Thursday's ceremony, said it's an honor to join the state's best teachers to celebrate their commitment to their profession.

The five finalists were chosen in May from 72 school district nominees: Jill Espinosa, of Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County; Lyndsey Matheny, of Citrus Elementary School in Indian River County; Kevin Ford, of Tarpon Springs High School in Pinellas County, Christie Bassett, of Highlands Grove Elementary School in Polk County; and Daryl Cullipher, of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County.

The ceremony is hosted by the Florida Department of Education and Macy's.

The Teacher of the Year will receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy's Foundation.


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