Hillsborough County to Celebrate “Rockstar” Educators and Support Staff at the 2024 Excellence in Education Awards

(January 29, 2024) TAMPA – Pumping up the volume on the importance of public education, Hillsborough Education Foundation(HEF) and Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) are set to roll out the red carpet for their “rockstar” educators and support staff at the 2024 Excellence in Education Awards on February 1, 2024. The event will celebrate 626 incredible nominees and 13 exceptional finalists in the categories of Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the Year, and Teacher of the Year, with a winner in each being named.

What:   2024 Excellence in Education Awards

When:  Thursday, February 1, 2024

  • 4:30 p.m. – Welcome Reception
  • 6:00 p.m. – Awards Ceremony
  • 7:30 p.m. – After Party

Where:  Morsani Hall @ Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 33602

This year’s theme for the show is “Let’s Band Together,” which carries dual meanings: 1) it emphasizes the importance of unity, support, and collaboration within HCPS, and 2) it’s a playful nod to educators and support staff being the real “rockstars” in the community because of the positive impact and undeniable influence they have on the lives of 220,000 students in the country’s seventh largest school district. Nominees and finalists were selected by their schools for their commitment to supporting students’ success, both academically and personally, and demonstrating overall Excellence in Education.

Members of the media interested in covering the event should contact Colin Higgins @ 813 525 0522 in advance for entry to the Straz Center. Media check-in is at the HEF/HCPS Invited Guests table.

2024 Excellence in Education Awards Facts

Total Nominees – 626

  • Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Nominees: 212
  • Instructional Support Employee of the Year Nominees: 196
  • Teacher of the Year Nominees: 218

Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Finalists

  • Cheryl Flohr – ESE Teacher, Hospital/Homebound Program
  • Dr. Ilfaut Joseph – Community Resource Teacher, Jennings Middle School
  • Angela Roberts – School Counselor, Farnell Middle School
  • Suzy Tkacik – Media Specialist, Pride Elementary School

Instructional Support Employee of the Year Finalists

  • Joshua FuentesHead Custodian, Sumner High School
  • Billie Jo “BJ” Nelson – Community School Officer, Collins PK-8
  • Maria OrtizPrincipal Secretary, Temple Terrace Elementary
  • Bridget Wells – ESE Paraprofessional, Robinson Elementary School

Teacher of the Year Finalists

  • Jaime Beulah – Access Points K-2, Corr Elementary School
  • Dr. Kimberly Feroli – Reading Teacher/Teacher Talent Developer, Gaither High School
  • Milca Lebron – Fifth Grade Teacher, Woodbridge Elementary School
  • Dr. Clayton Nylund – Physics & Engineering Instructor, Howard. W. Blake High School
  • Barbara Zimmer, Second Grade Teacher, Bay Crest Elementary School

About Hillsborough Education Foundation
Established in 1987, Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is a nonprofit focused on strengthening public education by supporting teachers and empowering students to achieve academic and personal success. Together with our community partners, HEF strategically invests in initiatives that impact teaching quality, increase graduation rates and build equity in education—bolstering a thriving workforce of tomorrow and the sustainable prosperity of Tampa Bay. Learn more at EducationFoundation.com.

About Hillsborough County Public Schools
Hillsborough County Public Schools, located in Tampa, Florida, is a leading educational institution dedicated to “Preparing Students for Life.” The district is the seventh-largest in the nation and the third-largest in Florida. We proudly educate over 220,000 students, employ 24,000 individuals, and offer our families innovative and nationally recognized programs at 250-plus public schools. HCPS ranks 19th in the state for academics and led the nation in the 2022 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores for 4th Grade Reading and 4th Grade Math.

For more information, visit hillsboroughschools.org and follow @HillsboroughSch on all social platforms.