2020 Caliber Awards Live Stream
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The 2020 Caliber Awards Ceremony, celebrating the outstanding nominees and finalists for Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Assistant Principal of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year takes place Thursday, January 16, 2020, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center. If you’re not attending, you can watch the Caliber Awards Ceremony via a live stream beginning at 5:45 p.m.
2020 Awards Ceremony
Thursday, January 16, 2020, 6 p.m.
Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316
General parking is available in the Convention Center’s garage for $6 (up to five hours).
For driving directions and parking information, visit ftlauderdalecc.com/directions-parking.html
5 p.m. Networking reception
5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to be seated
6 p.m. Program begins
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
The Teacher of the Year (TOY) program honors outstanding classroom teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to excel. Through their contributions, we have made significant progress in student achievement. You are encouraged to join us in honoring these educators by participating in this prestigious recognition program.
Congratulations to our Teacher of the Year Finalists
North Side Elementary School
Arnita Kethireddy, a literacy coach at North Side Elementary School, is a 26-year veteran teacher. A desire to instill the love of learning in children is the reason she became an educator. “Our job as educators is to help students see their potential,” said Kethireddy. “The joy that I experience when children are engaged in authentic learning inspires me to come to work each and every day.”
Dr. Miranti Murphy
Boulevard Heights Elementary School
Dr. Miranti Murphy has spent the last six of her 36 years in education as the literacy coach at Boulevard Heights Elementary School. “I’m inspired by the opportunity to meet the needs of a diverse student population and to prepare students for real-world experiences and expectations, including college and career readiness,” said Murphy.
Dr. Iris Payan
Hollywood Hills High School
Dr. Iris Payan, a chemistry teacher at Hollywood Hills High School for the last 19 years, combines 21st century skills and life lessons in her science classes. She has witnessed her students grow in science literacy and become productive young adults. “The best reward is when students graduate and return to thank me for the academic and life lessons they learned in my class,” Payan said. Genuinely caring for her students, she establishes a safe environment to makes connections on a personal level, and encourages them to believe that they can overcome any challenge.
Harbordale Elementary School
Cari Rodriguez, a 21-year veteran educator, has spent the last six years at Harbordale Elementary School, where she serves as the literacy coach. Whenever possible, she combines fun with learning. “Student achievement is my inspiration,” says Rodriguez. “Whether building an igloo while studying the Inuit, eating pasta puttanesca while reading, or dancing and singing to multiplication facts, I want my students to enjoy learning.
West Broward High School
Sarah Zorn-Milmed, a biology teacher at West Broward High School, has taught for 18 years. She believes that every student has the potential to soar if given the opportunity and support to help them reach their academic and life goals. “My inspiration comes from my students. I do everything in my power to ensure that they meet success on their individual paths,” Zorn-Milmed said. She encourages and provides the support necessary to help students not only succeed, but excel.
PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR/ ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR
The Principal of the Year (POY) and Assistant Principal of the Year (APOY) Awards recognize outstanding school administrators for their exemplary contributions to students, schools and communities. Through their innovative leadership and dedication to academic excellence, they have increased student and school performance and have established safe learning environments for our children. These individuals have utilized teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, and promote safe learning environments, often through establishing partnerships with parents and community members.
Congratulations to our Principal of the Year Finalists
Wilton Manors Elementary School
Melissa Holtz has served as principal for the past eight years at Wilton Manors Elementary School, home to the District’s only International Baccalaureate Primary Years magnet program. Focusing on the growth of the whole child, she believes it’s her job to ensure students in her care are uplifted every day. “Not every child is the same. Some are book smart, some are artistically talented and some struggle every day academically,” said Principal Holtz. “All children, no matter their story, can be changed forever by the words and actions of those around them.”
Park Lakes Elementary School
Rhonda Parris became principal of Park Lakes Elementary School in 2017 when it was ranked as one of the lowest 300 schools in the state based on state assessment results. Having already served as principal at Sanders Park Elementary School for five years, she knew this would be a great opportunity to continue her passion for developing teachers, building solid academic infrastructure and impacting student learning by closing the achievement gap. In two years, Principal Parris worked to improve the school’s letter grade from a D to a B, which removed it from the list of lowest-performing schools.
Floranada Elementary School
John Vetter is in his seventh year as principal of Floranada Elementary School, where his philosophy is that people, not programs, teach students. “I believe it’s my responsibility as principal to seek out only the best people to work at our school, regardless of the position,” said Principal Vetter. “I know that children watch everything we do and so each adult on campus is a teacher, whether he or she realizes it or not.”
Congratulations to our Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists
Fort Lauderdale High School
Sean Curran has served as assistant principal at Fort Lauderdale High School for the past five years. “I’ve been fortunate to work with and inspire some of the most brilliant students to achieve great things, and to work with and inspire struggling students to reach their fullest potentials,” said Curran. “We need to ensure that we provide a learning community that allows students the freedom to explore their place in the world and instill in them the confidence to pursue their goals.”
Blanche Ely High School
Cheryl Hodgson-Toeller has spent the last 14 of her 16 years with the District as assistant principal at Blanche Ely High School. “I believe education is the most wonderful and powerful gift we can give to ourselves and others,” Toeller said. “Children are unique and must be exposed to learning in a way that addresses and is cognizant of their individual needs, while being fun, creative and challenging.”
Atlantic Technical College and High School
Vicky LaPorte is in her seventh year as assistant principal at Atlantic Technical College and Technical High School. In 2002, she became one of eight teachers for the first freshman class enrolled at the new high school. “A rigorous academic program is essential for every student,” said LaPorte. “But it’s also necessary to prepare students for college and careers, and more importantly, life.”
SCHOOL-RELATED EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
The School-Related Employee of the Year (SREOY) Award recognizes outstanding non-instructional support personnel for the significant contributions to our schools, District and communities. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs, thereby earning the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, co-workers and parents.
Congratulations to our School-Related Employee of the Year Finalists
Pioneer Middle School
Jane Fleming is the confidential office manager at Pioneer Middle School, where she has served students and families for 28 of her 30 years in the District. In addition to her assigned duties and responsibilities, Fleming assumes a multitude of tasks each day and is also the principal’s secretary. Impeccable, self-motivated, exceptional knowledge in her field and well organized, are just a few of the words used by colleagues to describe her work.
Hazel Chantel James
Office of Student Support Initiatives and Recovery
Hazel Chantel James is the administrative assistant/confidential secretary at Lauderdale Manors Early Learning & Family Resource Center, where she has served for five of her 16 years with the District. She wears many hats and assumes many roles, going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that students and families are provided the utmost care and service. She is also an active volunteer who values the opportunity to give of herself to help others.
Beachside Montessori Village
Shenequa Lee has served as the information management technician at Beachside Montessori Village since the school opened 10 years ago. She is responsible for maintaining accurate records of teacher and student data. She considers her co-workers and students as family and demonstrates a commitment to honing her skills to meet students’ individual needs.
Deerfield Beach Elementary School
Amanda Muir serves as the micro-technician at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, where she is responsible for managing the inventory and the maintenance and repairs for over 1,200 pieces of equipment. Although this is her first year at the school, she has been employed in BCPS for 20 years. She works closely with parents to ensure their vast and varied technical support needs are met. She works with administrators and staff to obtain and place new technology tools in classrooms.
Plantation Park Elementary School
Suzanne Specht has served as the information management technician at Plantation Park Elementary School for the past 15 years. She is responsible for maintaining all student registrations, records and data entry. She also takes on other roles and responsibilities because she loves her school, staff, students and families. Usually the first contact parents and families have, she has become the face of the school.
Proud Sponsors of the 2020 Caliber Awards