Stephanie Bellino was named the 2018 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 27th Annual EDDY Awards. Bellino, a fifth-grade reading teacher at Garden City Elementary, was selected by a committee of volunteers from nominees from 177 public schools.
Bellino is a Teacher for America alumna who has taught the same group of students since they were in third grade. Bellino attributes much of her success to the students and staff at Garden City and to her principal, Mychelle Grover. In her application, Bellino spoke about how she works tirelessly to ensure that her students are engaged and excited.
“I go to bed every night thinking about the exciting new concepts I’m teaching the next day. I spend my weekends making flashy charts that will capture their attention. I use my time after school to further my knowledge in professional development and even volunteer to coach extracurricular activities,” Bellino said.
As the 2018 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Bellino will go on to compete for the statewide title this July in Orlando.
“It is because of teachers like Ms. Stephanie Bellino – whose passion and commitment as an educator captures the hearts and souls of her students – that we are able to do the work of striving to meet the academic needs of all of our students,” said Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis. “Ms. Bellino is a phenomenal teacher and is representative of the many outstanding teachers who are in classrooms and schools all over our district.”
The EDDY Awards Teacher of the Year program is an initiative of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF), and a year-long effort to celebrate Duval County’s best public school educators and elevate the importance of the teaching profession.
In addition to the Teacher of the Year, the EDDY Awards also included a sneak peek presentation of the Teachers Are More Campaign which will kick off in the City Hall Atrium on March 1 at 11:30 a.m. Teachers Are More will call on the Jacksonville community to help us share 100,000 messages of thanks for teachers on social media using #JaxThanksATeacher with the hope that if teachers feel valued in their roles, schools will be able to recruit and retain more high-quality teachers.
“Too often, teachers work outside of the spotlight, yet the work they do to prepare our city’s children to succeed in the future is vital,” said Trey Csar, President of JPEF. “Through teaching, these incredible people are laying the groundwork for what our city is and what it has the potential to be. That is why we hold this event every year — to demonstrate the impact of excellent educators and create a network of innovative teachers that can learn from and support each other.”
In addition to a cash prize and a classroom grant thanks to the Rotary Clubs of Duval County, Bellino will join the JPEF Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year, as is tradition with every Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year. Bellino and the other four finalists will also participate in a 2-week summer fellowship with JPEF this summer to develop their leadership skills and connect them with leading educators and decision makers.
Teachers of the Year from 177 schools were nominated and evaluated by committees of volunteers, who ultimately narrowed them down to 15 semi-finalists and then five finalists. Bios, photos and more information on all the Teachers of the Year are available at www.eddyawardsjax.org.