Swezey is one of five statewide finalists for 2020.
Shane Swezey, a music teacher who also provided music therapy for students of all ages at Oak Park School since 2013, is a statewide Teacher of the Year finalist, the school district said Wednesday.
Swezey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music therapy for Florida State University as well as a master’s in the same profession from the University of Kentucky. He is also a board-certified music therapist.
According to a statement by Sarasota County Schools, Swezey was honored in December as the Sarasota County Schools Teacher of the Year by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, providing him the opportunity to be recognized statewide for his “ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service.”
“Shane Swezey is an example of an educator who goes above and beyond to meet the individual needs of his students, all of whom have special needs,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said. “As a music therapy teacher, his positive effect on students is measured in a less traditional way, and it is telling that he has helped his students significantly increase their positive behaviors, such as eye contact, verbalizations and peer interaction.”
In June, Swezey will travel to Tallahassee along with the state's four other finalists. Florida's winner will be announced at a July gala.
“I am both humbled and honored to be acknowledged by the Florida Department of Education as a finalist for the 2020 Teacher of the Year,” Swezey said. “Being recognized for simply doing my job – teaching, encouraging and motivating students – is such an incredible feeling. My desire is that this process shines a light on the inherent worth, value and dignity of every one of the students at Oak Park School.”