Gov. Scott Presents Shine Awards to Eight Outstanding Educators During Teacher Appreciation Week

(l-r) Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Governor Rick Scott, Sherree Madorma (recipient), Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized eight outstanding educators from the around the state for their contributions to learning with the Governor’s Shine Awards. The Governor’s Shine Award is presented to educators and administrators in Florida who make significant contributions to the field of education. Governor Scott also proclaimed this week, May 4-8, 2015, as Florida Teacher Appreciation Week. 

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to help celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week by awarding these outstanding Florida educators with the Governor’s Shine Award. Florida is proud of the outstanding teachers in our classrooms who are helping students reach their full potential for college and their future careers. Thanks in part to the hard work of our teachers, Florida’s students are among the best and the brightest in the nation.”


Elizabeth “Beth” Box, Okeechobee County, Yearling Middle School – Beth Box has taught 7th grade social studies for six years. She works hard to prepare her students with real-life experiences to help them with their future college and career. Beth also serves as the advisor for Yearling’s National Junior Honor Society. She is a dedicated teacher and is always looking for new ways to help students and fellow educators succeed.


Kelly Cotton, Osceola County, Celebration High School – A 12-year veteran of Osceola County Schools, Kelly Cotton teaches 11th and 12th grade students at Celebration High School.  She strives to meet the needs of all students through the use of technology, primary source documents, and supplementary experiments. 


Bethany Crawford, Marion County, Forest High School – Bethany Crawford first joined Marion County Public Schools in 1997 and is a 16-year teaching veteran.  She was recently selected as Marion County’s 2015 Teacher of the Year. Bethany also enjoys coaching the girls’ flag football team after school. Bethany considers teaching a privilege because it gives her the opportunity to see young people develop into engaged and active individuals. She feels that the best part of her day is helping her students see the best in themselves, while reaching their full potential. 


Jennifer “Jenn” DeWitt, Highlands County, Avon Park Middle School – Jenn Dewitt brings a positive energy into her classroom at Avon Park Middle School each day. She also serves as a science coach and the science fair coordinator. Jenn has a passion and desire to see her 8th grade science students succeed. 


Wallace Knight, Leon County, Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts – Wallace Knight, a 5th grade mathematics and science educator at Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts, has a passion for both teaching and learning.  He is an instructional leader, Mini Mu sponsor, and STEM coordinator.  Wallace challenges his students by providing memorable experiences in the classroom that stimulate learning and success.  Each summer, he assists curriculum developers to modify and improve the science and math curricula for his school district.  


Thomas Speight, Jefferson County, Jefferson County Middle/High School – Thomas Speight has taught in the Jefferson County School System for 12 years. Speight is passionate about teaching history, and uses a variety of reading and writing strategies in his U.S. History and World History classes. Thomas uses various techniques to help students understand the significance of historical events, and encourages his students to debate their ideas in the classroom. Speight also tutors students before school, during lunch, and after school to help them succeed.


Sherree Madorma, St. Lucie County, Rivers Edge Elementary School – Sherree Madorma began her 17-year teaching career in Coney Island, NY. Sherree currently teaches 5th grade students at Rivers Edge Elementary School, where 94 percent of her students have demonstrated learning gains in mathematics. She uses data and various learning techniques to enhance educational opportunities for her students and celebrates their progress each day. Sherree was recently recognized as the St. Lucie County District Teacher of the Year.


Karen Wright, Citrus County, Floral City Elementary – Karen Wright has worked for more than 20 years in Citrus County helping students reach their full potential.  As a combination 4th and 5th grade teacher at Floral City Elementary, she has high expectations for her students to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.  Karen utilizes technology to teach and assess students’ progress. She often collaborates with fellow educators in order to maximize self and student improvement.


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