Education Foundation

Right now, a student is having a learning experience made better by the work that we do.
Investing in education now to impact our future.
One teacher can inspire the lives of many.
Innovation in and outside of the classroom.
Enhancing the quality of education for all.
Jason Kirkland (Jenkins Auto Group), Cindy Bellamy (Mount Dora High), and Maria Patino (Jenkins Auto Group)

Cindy Bellamy, a 9th-12th grade teacher at Mount Dora High, is the 2025 Lake County Schools Teacher of the Year.

Bellamy, a Sorrento resident, was announced the winner at last night’s Teacher of the Year celebration, hosted by the Education Foundation of Lake County and presented by Jenkins Auto Group, Duke Energy, Ernie Morris Enterprises, Hon and Lake-Sumter State College.

Bellamy was named the winner by a panel of judges from outside the district, who reviewed her application, interviewed administrators and peers and observed her in the classroom.

Bellamy has been working in education for 26 years, 14 of those in her current position. Bellamy has worked at three Lake County schools including Seminole Springs Elementary and Round Lake Charter. Bellamy was also the Mount Dora High Teacher of the Year in the 2020-2021 school year.

“I feel touched when students come and share their victories, their drive, their excitement and even their struggles or disappointments. I especially become inspired by those students who share their daily or post-grad happenings,” wrote Bellamy in her application. “Now, they are representing employers with pride and self-reliance, describing their new jobs, college classes, and their successful history speeches. Their proficiencies come from something I inspired them to tackle and now those same experiences made them victorious in their game of life.”

“Not only is Cindy dynamic in the classroom, but she has completely transformed our agricultural program through her leadership with FFA (Future Farmers of America),” wrote Marlene Straughan, principal of Mount Dora High. “Her efforts have been inspiring and motivating. In fact, due to Cindy’s passion and commitment, our FFA program has grown to over 300 students and has been named Florida’s Finest Chapter, Florida’s Premier Chapter, and on multiple occasions received the National Chapter Award.”

In addition to the designation as Lake County’s 2025 Teacher of the Year, Bellamy will receive a 2024 Honda Civic from Jenkins Auto Group that she’ll be able to drive for three years. Insight Credit Union has donated a $500 gas card and Jostens will present her with an official Teacher of the Year ring. Bellamy is pictured at left with Jason Kirkland and Maria Patino from Jenkins Auto Group getting the keys to her new Civic.

As Lake County’s Teacher of the Year, Bellamy moves on to the statewide competition and will be reviewed by a Florida Department of Education state selection committee. The Florida Teacher of the Year finalists will be announced in May and the 2025 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year will be named in July 2024.

“Cindy Bellamy represents the best of our profession,” said Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay. “She inspires her students to learn about all aspects of agriscience. Mrs. Bellamy is a true inspiration to her students, colleagues, and parents. She embodies every aspect of Teacher of the Year.” 

Brittany Rudolph-Montgomery, an ELA teacher at Carver Middle, and Karen Kelly, a mathematics teacher at Tavares High, were District finalists along with Bellamy. Forty-four teachers were celebrated by more than 300 of our closest friends in education for excellence in teaching.

As the district liaison to the Florida Department of Education, the Education Foundation of Lake County coordinates all awards and recognition events including the annual Lake County Schools Teacher of the Year Recognition program.

Additional photos from the event will be posted on Facebook.