~State’s top teachers honored during Teacher Appreciation Week~

Governor Rick Scott today congratulated the five statewide finalists for the 2015 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year. The finalists were notified of their nomination by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart during surprise events throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.


Governor Scott said, “These outstanding educators deserve congratulations and recognition for the hard work they put into teaching Florida students. Each day, they ensure Florida’s young people are developing the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the opportunity economy we are creating in Florida. I believe it is important to invest in our education system and our excellent teachers, which is why I secured a permanent pay raise for our teachers and historic total funding for education.”


“I am so proud of the teachers who stand out among their peers and were chosen as statewide finalists for Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart. “These educators exemplify the talent, passion and dedication needed to excite Florida’s students about learning as we help prepare them for success in college, career and life.”


The five statewide finalists are:

  • Jill Espinosa, Belle Terre Elementary School, Flagler County
  • Lyndsey Matheny, Citrus Elementary School, Indian River County
  • Kevin Ford, Tarpon Springs High School, Pinellas County
  • Christie Bassett, Highlands Grove Elementary, Polk County
  • Daryl Cullipher, St. Augustine High School, St. Johns County


Each finalist was presented with a $5,000 check from the Macy’s Foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card. A $1,000 check, also funded by the Macy’s Foundation, was presented to each finalist’s school. This is the 26th year Macy’s has co-sponsored Florida’s Teacher of the Year recognition program.


The Florida Teacher of the Year will be named at a gala event in July. The top teacher will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education representing the Department of Education and teachers throughout the state. The Teacher of the Year may conduct workshops, address fellow teachers, parents, and business and community leaders at conferences and meetings, and talk to student groups about careers in education. He or she will also receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation and awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


To learn more about the Florida Department of Education programs to recognize the contributions of outstanding school administrators, classroom teachers and education support personnel, visit Recognition Awards.


For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit


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