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Tammy Jerkins was named a 2018 State Teacher of the Year Finalist!


Leesburg High School Teacher Named Teacher of the Year Finalist and Receives $5,000 from Macy’s and the Florida Department of Education!
~ Macy’s partners with the Florida Department of Education for a surprise announcement to name one of the five finalists to compete for the 2018 Florida Teacher of the Year ~

Leesburg, Fla., May 9, 2017 – Like any other school day, Ms. Jerkins and her students were focused on their lessons for the day. She had no idea that today was different and that she was about to receive the surprise of a lifetime! From a group of 73 teachers, Tammy Jerkins from Leesburg High School in Lake County was chosen as one of five finalists to compete for the 2018 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award!

For the past 29 years, Macy’s, along with the Florida Department of Education, has honored the most exceptional educators in Florida who make magic in and out of their classrooms every day. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors the contributions of outstanding classroom teachers who have demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

At 1:00 p.m., Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, along with Lee O’Rourke, Macy’s district vice president, were on hand to make the big surprise announcement. The high school secondary math teacher was instructing her class when the Commissioner made the surprise visit and told her that she had been chosen as one of five finalists for the prestigious honor.

“Tammy Jerkins is a great teacher who challenges and inspires her students to believe and achieve a better tomorrow. Macy’s congratulates Ms. Jerkins for her commitment to help her students reach their full potential,” said Dennis Witte, Macy’s executive vice president and regional director of stores.

Upon receiving the good news, Tammy Jerkins was presented with a $5,000 check from the Florida Department of Education and Macy’s, and a $500 Macy’s gift card.  A $1,000 check, funded by Macy’s, was presented to Leesburg High School.

“Teachers are some of THE most important people in our children’s lives,” continued Witte.  “To be a teacher is to be a mentor, a friend, a coach and a constant in the lives of their students. Teachers are life changers and this is what happens each day in Ms. Jerkin’s classroom. Throughout Macy’s sponsorship of this program, we continue to be humbled and proud to support the best educators in the Florida.”

“With 25 years of experience in public education, Tammy Jerkins has dedicated much of her career to helping Florida students develop a love of learning that will enable them to achieve lifelong success,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “As the math department chair, Mrs. Jerkins is credited with using accountability and progress monitoring to transform Leesburg High School’s student performance. It is an honor to recognize her as a 2018 Teacher of the Year finalist.”

The winner of the 2018 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced during a ceremony on Thursday, July 13, 2017. The event will be held at Orlando’s Hard Rock Liveat Universal Studios CityWalk.

In addition to a $5,000 award funded by Macy’s and the Department of Education, the Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State. To date, Macy’s has contributed $3 million to teachers throughout the state.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 195,744 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community.  Each finalist is selected on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service.