The Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding teachers who have been nominated as the Teacher of the Year for their school site. All schools in the district are invited to nominate one teacher at their site whom they feel is the most well-rounded and professional. Finalists are selected by a district committee and individually interviewed. One winner is then selected for the prestigious honor of being named Hillsborough County's Teacher of the Year. The winner of this award goes on to compete for Florida State Teacher of the Year honors, and potentially the national Teacher of the Year.
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Congratulations to our 2013 Teacher of the Year finalists!
Kyla Bailey, Lanier Elementary
Kyla Bailey graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Music Education. While at UCA, she was the Assistant Director for the Central Arkansas Children’s Choir. After graduation, Bailey moved to Florida and has been teaching in Hillsborough County for the past five years. She currently directs four different performance groups which include more than 200 student performers in addition to general music instruction at Lanier Elementary School. She also serves as the co-chair for Elementary Music PLC’s as a member of the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Educators Council and is also a member of the Florida Music Educators’ Association and the National Association for Music Education. In fall 2011, Bailey became a Little Kids Rock instructor and most recently she was the guest conductor of the West Chorus for the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Fine Arts Festival in spring 2012.
Dakeyan "Dre" Graham, King High
Dakeyan Cha' Dré Graham (Dré) currently serves as the Director of Instrument Studies at C. Leon King High School where he conducts the KHS Marching Lions, Concert and Symphonic Bands, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Bands I and II, Symphonic, Chamber, and Full Orchestras. He also sponsors the Tri-M Music Honors Club and the KHS Gospel Choir. He has worked at his alma mater, King (IB class of 2003), and HCPS for four years. Graham has received bachelor's and master's degrees in Music Education from the University of Florida and is currently in the final year of his doctoral studies at the University of South Florida. Graham's ensembles have played throughout the Tampa Bay area for various dignitaries and functions for such organizations as Junior Achievement and Moffitt Cancer Center. Most notably, the King High School Marching Lions have been featured as one of the two selected bands for the ESPN Under Armour All-American Football Game. In his spare time, Graham enjoys being a professional competitive martial artist and holds a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a first-degree black belt in Wado-Ryu Karate.
Kathy Hill, Mitchell Elementary
Kathy Hill teaches second grade at Mitchell Elementary. A third generation educator, Hill has been teaching for 14 years, the past eight at Mitchell. She is a graduate of Plant High School and The University of Florida, where she earned her B.A. and M.A. in Education. Hill celebrates the uniqueness of all children, embracing the inclusion of students with special needs, and working with the ESE team in a co-teach model. In addition to chairing the School Advisory Committee, serving on both the PTA Board and Mitchell’s Leadership Team, she actively mentors student interns and supports the teachers and staff. Her dedication and leadership have earned the admiration and respect of all stakeholders. This is the second time that Hill has been recognized as Mitchell’s Teacher of the Year. Hill is inspired by her faith and her family, her husband Tyler, and their children, J.T. and Sarah.
Brian Nanns, Williams Middle Magnet
Brian Nanns teaches Computer Applications in Business at Williams Middle Magnet School. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2001 where he earned a B.S. degree in Finance. Nanns worked in the corporate world for eight years before being called to his true passion, education. He has been teaching at Williams for four years. As an advisor for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), he expanded the program from 18 students in 2009 to become the second-largest chapter in the United States, with 236 members in 2013. Nanns was named the FBLA Advisor of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and this year he is a district director of FBLA helping coordinate organizational events. His goal as an educator is to help students discover what they are passionate about and watch them become tomorrow’s leaders.
Krysta Porteus, Young Middle Magnet
Krysta Porteus graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tampa with a degree in Elementary Education in May 2009. She was hired at Young Middle Magnet where she has worked for four years teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math. Porteus has earned certifications for Gifted Education and Middle Grades Math. In her first four years of teaching she has been awarded the PRISM Teacher of Promise for Hillsborough County in both Math and Science, presented at two national conferences, and partnered with the USF WARE project to bring a rain garden to Young’s campus. Porteus is currently working on her master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Sharon Smith, Claywell Elementary
Sharon Smith fosters a love of learning and higher-level independent thinking in her first graders. After receiving a degree in Business Administration from Principia College, she pursued a 20-year career in retail management. She is a product of the Hillsborough County ACP program and has been teaching for 10 years. Smith returned to the classroom this year with enthusiasm after spending two years as an EET Mentor providing one-on-one coaching for new teachers. She continues to provide mini-trainings for her colleagues to increase student-driven instruction. On a daily basis, Smith sets high expectations for each of her students, actively involving them in rigorous inquiry-based lessons. Through these lessons, her students achieve a sense of accomplishment and soar academically.
Congratulations to the 2013 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year!
Cassandra Mattison, Spoto High School