Florida’s Teacher of the Year Finalists Represent Outstanding Colleagues

Each year, the Florida Department of Education honors the top public school educators from across the Sunshine State. Florida’s 2015 state finalists have been on quite a journey to make it to our celebration, including being named both their school and district Teacher of the Year.

All five of these incredible educators are deserving of being named Florida’s top teacher. However, we would like to know who inspires you!

More about our finalists:

2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist - Lyndsey Matheny

2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist – Lyndsey Matheny

Lyndsey Matheny teaches STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to students in her second grade class and third grade class. Her experience specializing in STEM education, has helped her to create more hands-on lessons for her students. Lyndsey represents Indian River County schools.

Watch Lyndsey explain how she helps students realize  mistakes are great learning tools at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlheZzayjmw.



2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist – Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford has lead the performing arts program at Tarpon Springs High School for the past 20 years, because he believes in educating the whole student: body, mind and soul. When he’s not in the classroom, he is directing the high school’s jazz band or marching alongside students in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Watch Kevin describe why he became an educator at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa38WohUNDw.


2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist- Daryl Cullipher

When Daryl Cullipher graduated from St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County, she knew she wanted to become an educator. But what she didn’t know was that just a few years later she would return to her former high school to inspire Florida’s next generation of educators.

Daryl is the leader of the teaching career academy at her school, which gives students hands-on experience in local schools. Watch Daryl talk about what this recognition has meant to her students at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiOLnlKrthg.



2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist – Jill Espinosa

Jill Espinosa of Flagler County will tell you that her favorite grade is Kindergarten, because her students come to school ready to learn and grow. The dedicated teacher often uses peer-to-peer learning in her classroom to help struggling students gain confidence.

Outside of the classroom, she often uses social media to interact with parents. Watch Jill describe how she helped one particular student gain the necessary skills to succeed in her classroom at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCT4uh8p7tY.



2015 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist – Christie Bassett

Our last finalist comes from Polk County where she has spent her entire career as an arts educator. When talking to Christie Bassett, it is evident that she uses her art assignments to enhance what students are learning in their core subjects.

When she is not creating art work with her students, she often sacrifices her lunch break to serve as a mentor. Watch Christie describe her heart-warming experience as a mentor at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fW50t8riTA.

The winner of the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced by First Lady Ann Scott during a special ceremony on Thursday, July 10, 2014.



3 thoughts on “Florida’s Teacher of the Year Finalists Represent Outstanding Colleagues

  1. Plz consider newbie art teacher awarded to, Sabrina Pingel for this award. And has done so much for the district and especially the school(Buchanan middle school) her first year teaching and such an activist in the school and community. Sabrina Pingel needs to be recognized.
    Please consider this newbie art teacher for your award.

  2. Mary Carmen says:

    I would love to see my favorite teacher ever “Daryl Cullipher” win the Florida teacher of the year. She is such an awesome teacher, she helped me achieve so much during 4 years of high school, and I thank her everyday for helping me basically learn how to read and write a paper! She truly deserves it.

  3. Alana Hayes says:

    Daryll Cullipher definitely deserves this award! She was the one teacher that really had an impact on my life and pushed me and encouraged me to be the person I am today! I can’t picture going to school to be an educator if I had never met Mrs. Cullipher!

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