- January 19, 2023
A Sarasota Middle School teacher will now compete against 66 other educators statewide for the title of Teacher of the Year after being honored Thursday night at annual celebration of educators hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.
Jennifer Jaso, who teaches social studies and critical thinking, was chosen 2022 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year from a group of three finalists. The ceremony was held in person at Michael’s on East, a return to the format from 2021’s virtual presentation.
“The positive energy that our super-talented teachers generate when they are together is electric and inspiring,” said Education Foundation President Jennifer Vigne. “They have kept up their enthusiasm for teaching and their commitment to students during extremely challenging times, and it’s our honor to acknowledge their dedication and outstanding work.”
The other two finalists, Shannon Haddad of Ashton Elementary School and Loridia Urquiza of Booker High School, took the stage with Jaso, alongside 2021 finalists Emily O’Brien Swope, Samantha Miller, and Becky Satterly.
The county’s 43 school-level teachers of the year were also recognized and received cash awards. The Education Foundation presented Jaso with a $5,000 cash award and Haddad and Urquiza with awards of $2,500 each.
The finalists were announced in November when school district and Foundation officials paid surprise visits to each of the teachers' schools.
Shane Swezey and Kari Johnson, the 2019 and 2021 county teachers of the year, were hosts of the proceedings. Both were statewide top five finalists in their respective years -- Johnson was a runner-up to Sarah Ann Painter of Pinellas County.
“We are extremely thankful for each one of our amazing teachers,” said Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Dr. Brennan Asplen. “Their resilience and commitment are both inspiring and energizing as they passionately serve our students and families. Our Teachers of the Year truly have made a positive impact on the lives of their students and we are very proud of them. Please join me in recognizing these outstanding teachers, as well as extending a special congratulations to our 2022 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Jennifer Jaso.”
Jacob Lasorso, an industrial education instructor at Suncoast Technical College, received the 2022 Innovation Award. The award recognizes a Teacher of the Year who is creative in approach.