Governor Scott Honors Osceola County Educators & District Staff with Shine Awards

~ Osceola County High School Teachers of the Year and an outstanding district staff member recognized during Cabinet Meeting ~

During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized nine Osceola County high school teachers who were selected as their school’s 2015 Teacher of the Year. The Governor also presented a Shine Award to Martha Christlieb, Families in Transition program assistant, who helps homeless students and families in the Central Florida area. The Shine Award is presented to Floridians who have had a positive impact on children through education.

Governor Scott said, “It is an honor to recognize the Osceola County High School Teachers of the Year and Martha Christlieb for their continued dedication to Florida students and families. I thank them for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of their students and helping them achieve their dreams.”

Shine Award Recipients:

  • Crystal Farrell, Celebration High School – Farrell teaches both Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate English/Language Arts. She also serves as the English Language Arts Department Chairperson. Every student who moves through her class is challenged to reach his or her highest potential and finds encouragement and positive affirmation through the leadership she provides. Farrell leaves nothing to chance in her planning for teaching and learning. She knows exactly what she needs to have students accomplish, and she anticipates seemingly every student’s response. Her desire is to provide each student with the highest quality learning opportunities that will assist in moving him or her from where they currently are to places they did not even know existed.
  • Chris Barletta, Gateway High School – Barletta has developed the school’s Choir program into a vibrant and dynamic program. The program draws both student and community recognition as a place where musical talent is both nurtured and highlighted. Being an effective choir director is more than just being able to teach students to sing a note. Barletta brings a mixture of musical talent, enthusiasm and a vision that compels his students to believe in themselves and then commit to do whatever is needed to reach new heights. His students all respect and listen to his guidance and teaching. He is an accomplished teacher in working with struggling and advanced students alike, and he helps all to discover the performer within.
  • Cindy Ramdial, Harmony High School – Ramdial’s dedication to her students, school and community is what makes her an extraordinary teacher. She motivates and inspires others through her effective communication skills, tremendous work ethic and willingness to selflessly help others. She goes above and beyond to ensure that all students are successful. She cares deeply about their success and motivates and inspires them to realize their highest potential. Her students recognize her dedication and, in turn, have a great respect for her.
  • Donna Rain, Liberty High School – Since Rain came to Liberty High School, she has changed the culture of the reading instructional programs at the school. In her first year, she developed a program, along with other reading teachers, to combine classes and create a fun, motivational, reading program. Each year, the school’s performance on standardized exams has improved due to her leadership in the Reading Department. Rain has become a mentor for other reading teachers, and is widely respected by teachers, not only at Liberty High School but at other schools in the district.
  • Susan Ferguson, Osceola High School – Ferguson works diligently with school administration, teachers, students and the community to provide an opportunity to maximize their highest academic achievement level while providing a safe and nurturing environment. She has high expectations for her students to achieve, and she works hard to ensure their success. Her passion, dedication and enthusiasm for her subject shine brightly, and are obvious to her students. She always makes herself available for extra assistance for her students even after graduation and she is a role model for other educators.
  • James Ellis, Poinciana High School – Ellis brings passion and dedication to his classroom each and every day. He utilizes a wide variety of strategies to engage his students and he infuses his lessons with skills learned from his previous experience as a journalist. Ellis strives to ensure that all students are successful in his classroom. He serves as the sponsor of the school’s newspaper, and he instills in his students the highest level of journalistic integrity. He has a passion for student achievement and an ability to “think outside of the box” to motivate his students. He is a passionate, positive role model for students and other staff members, and he is dedicated to ensuring that his students learn not only the subject but life lessons as well.
  • Margaret (Peggy) Brickman, Professional and Technical High School – Brickman teaches English to sophomores with lessons that are engaging and thoughtful. Brickman is a favorite among students because of her student-centered lessons which keep them focused and engaged. Brickman’s constant encouragement and support pushes her students to be better than they thought they could be.
  • Cory Aun, St. Cloud High School – Aun has been a valued member of St. Cloud High School for seven years. His positive attitude, unbridled enthusiasm and devotion to children is reflected in the outstanding quality of student work and classroom culture that he has maintained. His flexibility in working with students, teachers and the community has earned him a reputation as an excellent teacher who truly cares about each individual. Under his leadership and support, many programs, including the student mentoring program, continue to grow and develop.
  • Lisa Testa, Osceola County School for the Arts – As a vocal instructor and Music Department Chair at the Osceola County School for the Arts, Testa exemplifies what it means to be a teacher, a leader, and a positive role model for students. Through her leadership, there has been an increase in collaboration and collegiality of staff members, which has a positive impact on students and parents. Testa’s dedication has been a powerful force in producing collaborative concerts and encouraging each student’s potential. Testa’s students work hard to reach the high expectations she has for them because they know she cares deeply about their success.
  • Martha Christlieb, Families in Transition Program Assistant – Under Christlieb’s leadership, the Families in Transition (FIT) program has seen immense success in helping homeless families and students. This school year, Christlieb increased the number of students receiving mandatory school uniforms through the COOL FIT program from 1,700 to 2,400. She also increased the number of students who served by the Christmas for the Kids Osceola program by 600. Christlieb and her family were once part of the district’s FIT program and her past experience lends great knowledge and patience when working with the FIT families. Despite her own personal daily struggles, Christlieb works tirelessly to provide assistance to thousands of FIT students and families.

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