Every year the Hillsborough Education Foundation, in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, presents the Excellence in Education Awards. This premiere event celebrates educators and school personnel who consistently bring forth their best efforts and utilize their talents to ensure the students they serve receive the best education possible.
This prestigious evening hosts 2,600 attendees representing the 266 schools in the Hillsborough County Public School District. At the ceremony more than 700 nominees, 17 finalists, and ultimately 3 winners are honored in three categories:
Lance Otto was raised in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He then attended the University of South Florida and earned his degree in Elementary Education with a Certification in Physical Education. His career began at Bay Crest Elementary as a 3rd grade teacher, and he then became a P.E. teacher at Davis Elementary. Mr. Otto has taught for 17 years in Hillsborough County. He has been fortunate to have been Davis Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, won Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year, has been nominated 3 times for P.E. Teacher of the Year and now a finalist for the Ida S. Baker award. Mr. Otto’s goal is to help students achieve excellence in all their endeavors.
Mr. Andrade was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey where he was the youngest of six children. He received an AA degree in Computer Networking Administration from Gibbs College where he made the Dean's list, all while getting chemotherapy. He has worked in educcation for 13 years; 8 in Essex County, New Jersey and 5 in Hillsborough County Schools as a Bilingual Aide. In addition to being an Army veteran, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a certified foster parent.
Diane McKee left the business world to pursue her true passion, education. While raising two children, she graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in Education, only possible because of strong support and sacrifice from her husband Dan, and their children, Kristen and Daniel. After teaching in Atlanta for several years, a transfer landed Diane in Tampa where she has enjoyed teaching with a fabulous staff at Williams Middle Magnet School for twelve wonderful years. Diane has impacted students by sponsoring NJHS and monitoring student-driven community service projects like planting a garden, filling a truck for Metropolitan Ministries, building first aid kits, and fundraising for The Spring. Committed to academic excellence, Diane’s collaboration with all stakeholders resulted in Williams’ eighth grade students leading the district in FCAT Reading. For FCAT Writes, students not only scored first in the district, but they were also one of the leaders in the state for two consecutive years.