Greater Brandon Teacher, Head Custodian Among 15 Award Finalists

Announced Jan. 6 were the 2011 finalists for the Hillsborough County School District's Teacher of the Year, Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year and Instructional Support Employee of the Year.


A Greater Brandon area teacher and a head custodian are among the 15 finalists announced today, Jan. 6, for three of the top honors given each year in the Hillsborough County public school system.

Hillsborough is the state's third-largest school district, and the nation's eighth-largest. The school system is the county's largest employer.

Among the five finalists for Teacher of the Year is Sue Creekmore, a teacher at Kingswood Elementary School in Brandon, at 3102 S. Kings Ave.

Among the five finalists for Instructional Support Employee of the Year is Bradley Myers, the head custodian at Bailey Elementary School, in the Greater Brandon area of Dover, at 4630 Gallagher Rd.

Also named today were the finalists for the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year award.

Representatives from the Hillsborough Education Foundation joined school-based staff to recognize the five finalists in each of the three award categories.

They were part of so-called “Surprise Patrols” that include as well representatives of the presenting and founding sponsors of the individual award programs: Amscot Financial, Caspers Company McDonald’s Restaurants, the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union’s Suncoast for Kids Foundation and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The finalists are as follows:

Teacher of the Year

  • Elisabeth Denisar Babin, Dowdell Middle
  • Yolanda Whitehead Driskell, Hillsborough High
  • Katy Cortelyou, Kenly Elementary
  • Sue Creekmore, Kingswood Elementary
  • Christine Danger, Robles Elementary

Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year

  • Kelly Kleiner, Chiaramonte Elementary
  • Wayne Stinnard, Cypress Creek Elementary
  • Walter Fernando Balser, Leto High
  • Karen Mynes, McDonald Elementary
  • Daisy Ramirez, Trapnell Elementary

Instructional Support Employee of the Year

  • Bradley Myers, head custodian, Bailey Elementary School in Dover
  • Kena McDaniels-Harris, ESE aide, Edison Elementary
  • Ryan Johnson, ESE aide, Lanier Elementary
  • Leena Hasbini, assistant teacher, Wharton High
  • Kathleen Bennett, secretary, Tinker Elementary (on MacDill Air Force Base)

“The 15 finalists selected by their peers represent the ‘best of the best’ from Hillsborough County Public Schools,” according to a news release from the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

A winner in each category — Teacher of the Year, Ida S. Baker and Instructional Support — will be announced at the 2012 Excellence in Education Awards ceremony, presented by the Verizon Foundation.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 16 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Road to “Excellence in Education” Recognition:

  • In all, there were 681 nominations, broken down as follows: 222 for the Ida S. Baker award, 223 for the instructional support award and 223 for top-teacher honors.
  • The annual Teacher of the Year Award program starts with nominees at each of Hillsborough’s public schools, which leads to the selection of one top teacher at each school.
  • In turn, those teachers become the nominees for the district’s list of finalists.
  • “All schools in the district are invited to nominate one teacher at their site whom they feel is the most well-rounded and professional,” according to a notice posted on the Hillsborough Education Foundation website. “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 district’s top teacher goes on to compete for Florida State Teacher of the Year.
  • The state’s top teacher then enters the national Teacher of the Year contest.
  • Cynthia Folsom Crim, a teacher at Palm River Elementary, was named the 2011 Teacher of the Year.
  • Emily Marrero, a teacher at Philip Shore Elementary School, earned the honor in 2010.
  • Cleveland Elementary School teacher Megan Allen in 2009 won not only Hillsborough’s Teacher of the Year award, but also advanced as a finalist in the National Teacher of the Year contest by earning the state’s top-teacher title.


Check back at Brandon Patch for coverage of the "Surprise Patrol" announcement at Kingswood Elementary School.


Hef Centro January 10, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Congratulations to our Excellence in Education finalists!


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