Education Foundation

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SREOY Finalist Samson Backer

Two elementary school teachers and one high school teacher—all with less than three years’ experience— on Wednesday learned they are already leaders in their profession.

Jacob Carriero, a physical education teacher at Mascotte Charter Elementary, Amy Crofts, a pre-K/ESE teacher at Rimes Early Learning Center and Theresa Spann, a culinary instructor at Umatilla High School, were named the Lake County Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year finalists.

Additionally, four District employees who provide critical support to ensure schools run smoothly were tapped as the Lake County School-Related Employee of the Year finalists.

The dedicated employees include Sandra Belinski, a bookkeeper at East Ridge Middle School, April Dempsey, a food service manager at Grassy Lake Elementary, Samson Backer, a custodian at Groveland Elementary and Karly Nelson, a teacher assistant at Leesburg Elementary School.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year finalists were notified Wednedsay, Feb. 17, by Superintendent Diane Kornegay, School Board members Marc Dodd and Mollie Cunningham, and a caravan of representatives from the district, the Education Foundation of Lake County and Insight Credit Union.

The entourage visited each of the finalists’ schools to announce their recognition and to celebrate with their principals and other school staff.

Attendances at the in-person event will include the Rookie Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year honorees, school district dignitaries and sponsors only.

Lake County School employees and community members are invited to watch the celebration and announcement of the winners which will be live streamed on YouTube via this link:

Read the entire news release here.