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Sarasota Thursday, May 6, 2021 7 months ago

Sarasota teacher named finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year

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Fruitville Elementary teacher Kari Johnson is one of five statewide finalists.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Kari Johnson, Sarasota County School District's Teacher of the Year, is one of five statewide finalists for the Florida Teacher of the Year. 

Johnson, a kindergarten teacher at Fruitville Elementary, has spent her 15-year career in Sarasota schools. 

Johnson was first nominated for the district's award in November 2020. She was named the district's teacher of the year in January, which made her eligible for the state honor, finalists for which were named on Thursday. 

Now she is one of five still in the running for the Florida 2022 Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced July 22 in Orlando. The winner will serve as the Florida Teacher of the Year until July 2022. 

In a previous Observer interview, Johnson said that although teaching kindergarten can at times be taxing, she loves it because she gets to be the first teacher her students experience. 

“If you have trust and control, the students adore you, and they make everything happy,” Johnson said. “They love school because everything is exciting to them, and they truly want to learn and be there. It’s just a positive, happy place to be.”

Shane Swezey, a music teacher at Oak Park school, also was named a 2020 Teacher of the Year finalist. Only one Sarasota teacher has been named Florida Teacher of the Year. 

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