Broward teacher of the year fi­nal­ists

South Florida Times - - METRO - Staff Re­port

From coach­ing stu­dents in vi­tal lit­er­acy knowl­edge to pre­par­ing them for re­al­world suc­cess with train­ing in 21st cen­tury skills, five stand­out teach­ers are fi­nal­ists for the Broward County Pub­lic Schools (BCPS) Teacher of the Year.

Three ele­men­tary school teach­ers and two high school teach­ers, with more than 80 years com­bined class­room ex­pe­ri­ence, are vy­ing for the cov­eted award. The BCPS Teacher of the Year will be named at the 2018 Cal­iber Awards Cer­e­mony, rec­og­niz­ing the District’s out­stand­ing teach­ers, prin­ci­pals, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals and school-re­lated/District em­ploy­ees.

The cer­e­mony takes place on Feb. 1, at the Greater Fort Laud­erdale/Broward County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

The BCPS Teacher of the Year Fi­nal­ists are:

Stacey Brown, a 25-year vet­eran teacher, serves as a school leader to coach­ing, men­tor­ing and sup­port­ing class­room teach­ers in lit­er­acy and math­e­mat­ics. “If I could share one mes­sage with all teach­ers, it would be ‘it’s not the prod­uct, it’s the process,’ ” said Brown. “Ed­u­ca­tion is not about the pro­gram the teacher buys, it’s about the process and knowl­edge the teacher de­vel­ops.” Prin­ci­pal Marisa Fishlock praised Brown as “a one-of-akind, tal­ented, ded­i­cated ed­u­ca­tor with a pas­sion for lit­er­acy and chil­dren.”

Diana Es­co­bar, a 19-year teach­ing vet­eran, serves as the lit­er­acy coach at Coral Cove Ele­men­tary School.

“By chang­ing the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” said Es­co­bar. “By keep­ing up with change, I’ve been able to find the pos­i­tive in the neg­a­tive to mo­ti­vate and shape the fu­ture of to­mor­row, so they, too, can find the pos­i­tive in the neg­a­tive.” Prin­ci­pal Stephanie Sa­ban calls Es­co­bar “a mas­ter ed­u­ca­tor and a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional. She is an in­te­gral and bril­liant part of Coral Cove Ele­men­tary School’s suc­cess.”

Tammy Free­man has spent all of her 10 years as an ed­u­ca­tor at Monarch High School, where she is cur­rently a lan­guage arts in­struc­tor. “In­stead of giv­ing my stu­dents the an­swers and hav­ing them be­come de­pen­dent on me for pro­vid­ing the an­swers each time, I choose to em­power them by teach­ing them the process, which will help them to be­come bet­ter thinkers and learn­ers through­out their life­time,” said Free­man. “Ms. Free­man is sin­cere, loyal, ded­i­cated and will­ing to work at any task she is as­signed, which pos­i­tively af­fects her per­for­mance work­ing with all stake­hold­ers,” said Prin­ci­pal James Neer. “She is a tre­men­dous as­set to Monarch High.”

He­len Kas­sim has been teach­ing for seven years, and is cur­rently a first grade read­ing re­source in­struc­tor at Sun­land Park Academy. “Teach­ing is a craft and a gift. It pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop the minds of oth­ers and to help them reach their full po­ten­tial,” said Kas­sim. Prin­ci­pal Sharonda Bai­ley said, “Ms. Kas­sim pro­vides fresh in­sight to any area of con­cern, as well as of­fers new ideas to im­prove in­struc­tion and school op­er­a­tion pro­cesses. She main­tains a pleas­ant de­meanor and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.”

Frank Pizzo has spent the last 17 of his 20 years in ed­u­ca­tion at Deer­field Beach High School, where he is the lead teacher in the Academy of Fi­nance. “Teach­ing is un-equiv­a­lently the very best oc­cu­pa­tion any­one could ever have – ‘I’m a teacher, what is your su­per­power?’ No other oc­cu­pa­tion in the world can make such an im­pact in some­one else’s life,” said Pizzo. “Mr. Pizzo has worked dili­gently in his classes and has been a good role model for our stu­dents,” said Prin­ci­pal Jon Mar­low. “He has al­ways gone above and be­yond in all of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

The Cal­iber Awards pre­sent­ing spon­sor is BrightS­tar Credit Union. Also sup­port­ing the Cal­iber Awards are plat­inum spon­sors Aetna and Bank of Amer­ica; sil­ver spon­sors Af­ter School Pro­grams, Inc. (ASP), Broward Prin­ci­pals’ and As­sis­tants’ As­so­ci­a­tion (BPAA), Nova South­east­ern University – Abra­ham S. Fis­chler School of Ed­u­ca­tion, Of­fice De­pot, Pearson, PNC Bank and Sun­shine Child Pro­grams; and bronze spon­sors CEI Staffing, The Cor­radino Group, Herff Jones and Spec­trum Tours.

The Broward Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion and Toy­ota of North Mi­ami will pro­vide a 2018 Toy­ota Camry SE to the 2018 Cal­iber Awards Teacher of the Year.

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