Teachers from Pine View School, Tatum Ridge Elementary School and Riverview High School earned the recognition.
A school bus pulled into Pine View School, Tatum Ridge Elementary School and Riverview High School Feb. 2. It’s not an abnormal sight, but this school bus wasn't carrying students.
Superintendent Lori White, School Board Chairwoman Caroline Zucker and Education Foundation of Sarasota County President Jennifer Vigne visited each of the schools to surprise the three finalists for this year’s Sarasota County Teacher of the Year award. One teacher was selected from Sarasota County's elementary, middle and high schools.
One of the the three finalists will win the district’s overall Teacher of the Year award on April 5.
High School Teacher of the Year: William “BJ” Ivey
The Sarasota native has been teaching a wide range of social studies at Riverview for 11 years including international baccalaureate world history and ap psychology. Ivey has also coached the boys and girls basketball teams at Riverview. “I’m blessed to have great students who make me a good teacher,” Ivey said in a statement. “I care about them as people. Sometimes the task of learning can be overwhelming. In the classroom, I try to ‘coach’ my class and make it about more than just books.”
Elementary School Teacher of the Year: Holly Houghton-Brown
Fourth-grade teacher at Tatum Ridge Elementary School Holly Houghton-Brown earned the recognition of Elementary Teacher of the Year. Houghton-Brown has been teaching at Tatum Ridge since 2005. She previously taught fifth grade and is currently the chairwoman of the Tatum Ridge Literacy Committee. Her teaching philosophy prioritizes not only academics, but character. “I try to encourage empathy, kindness and generosity, so students know what it means to give back,” Houghton-Brown said in a statement.
Middle School Teacher of the Year: Christine Braun
Christian Braun began her career at Pine View School in 2005. She now teaches seventh-grade civics, and is certified in gifted education and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). While speaking to her friends, family and colleagues, Braun said she draws inspiration from her former teachers. “My first-grade teacher in Warren, Michigan — Ms. Suardini — was an inspiration. She taught me to keep trying and never give up,” Braun said in a statement. “When I was in college I went back to visit her and she was still teaching first grade. She told me she didn’t ever want to retire. I feel the same way.”
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.