Tampa, Fla. – (November 28, 2022) It was an exciting day as the Surprise Patrol traveled to public schools around Hillsborough County on Monday, November 28 revealing to 12 outstanding educators and district staff that they are finalists for this year’s Teacher of the Year, Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year and Instructional Support Employee of the Year awards.
The 12 finalists represent the best of the best in education. A winner in each category will be named at the 2023 Excellence in Education Awards, hosted by Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), on January 26, 2023, at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
More than 200 schools nominated educators for this year’s awards. Representatives from HEF, HCPS and event sponsors made the surprise announcements to each of the finalists.
Teacher of the Year Finalists
- Rebecca Oakeson, Pre-K Exceptional Student Education Teacher – Kingswood Elementary
- Elizabeth Hawley, Media Specialist – Dowdell Middle
- Nicolette Barone, Fifth Grade Teacher – Oak Park Elementary
- Josette Daley, Third Grade Teacher – Forest Hills Elementary
- Elizabeth Osborn, Advanced Placement Psychology Teacher – Alonso High
Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Finalists
- Mary Valesano, Third Grade Teacher – Burney Elementary
- Sherly Gervais, Climate & Culture Resource Teacher – Sumner High
- Muhammed Conteh, JROTC Instructor – Plant High
- Lynda Taylor, Exceptional Student Education Teacher – Gaither High
Instructional Support Employee of the Year Finalists
- Pamela May, Secretary – King High
- Donreece Brown, Exceptional Student Education Paraprofessional – Lopez ESE Center
- Chinovia Shedrick, Exceptional Student Education Paraprofessional – Memorial Middle
2023 Excellence in Education Facts:
- Total Nominees – 667
- Teacher of the Year (TOY) – 232 nominees (5 finalists named)
- Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year: 227 nominees (4 finalists named)
- Instructional Support Employee of the Year: 208 nominees (3 finalists named)
Save the date: You are invited to our Excellence in Education Awards on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s theme is “Calling All Superheroes!” The reception begins at 4:30 p.m. and the Awards Program begins at 6:00 p.m., when the winners in each category will be announced.
For more information about the 2023 Excellence in Education Awards, visit EducationFoundation.com/EIE2023.