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Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 1 year ago

Finalists named for Sarasota Teacher of the Year

The finalists teach at Fruitville Elementary, Sarasota Military Academy Prep, Alta Vista Elementary and Booker High School.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Four Sarasota County teachers were in for a surprise Tuesday as they were named top educators in the district. 

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County annually sponsors the Ignite Education: Teacher of the Year recognition, which names top teachers for elementary, middle and high school honors. 

Administrators surprise Emily O’Brien Swope, a fourth and fifth grade ELA teacher at Alta Vista Elementary School. Photo courtesy

This year's finalists are:

  • Kari Johnson, kindergarten teacher, Fruitville Elementary School;
  • Samantha Miller, design teacher, Sarasota Military Academy Prep;
  • Emily O’Brien Swope, fourth and fifth grade ELA teacher, Alta Vista Elementary School; and
  • Becky Satterly, math teacher and dropout prevention coordinator, Booker High School.

Each year, a "teacher tribute tour team" surprises each finalist at school. This year, the tour team was smaller than in years previous due to COVID-19 guidelines, but Education Foundation President and CEO Jennifer Vigne said it was important to continue the tradition. 

Administrators surprise Becky Satterly, a math teacher and dropout prevention coordinator at Booker High School. Photo courtesy

“This year, more than ever, we want to celebrate teachers and let them know the community recognizes and values their work,” Vigne said. “In this challenging time, our incredible teachers have shown up and given their best, helping each and every student reach their full potential. We are so proud of all of our teachers.”   

Superintendent Brennan Asplen said this year's finalists are working hard to ensure quality education continues in the concurrent learning environment. 

“The calling to be a teacher is a noble endeavor, especially while facing the unbelievable challenges that this year has presented," Asplen said. "These dedicated educators have unquestionably made a difference in the lives of their students and represent all that is exceptional about Sarasota County Schools.”

Administrators surprise Samantha Miller a design teacher at Sarasota Military Academy Prep. Photo courtesy

One of the four finalists will be named the overall Sarasota County Teacher of the Year at the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s Ignite Education Awards Celebration on Jan. 21. This year’s recognition ceremony will be a virtual event open to the community.

The district Teacher of the Year will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Program and will serve as a representative of the district at various events throughout the year.

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