Congratulations to the 2021 Caliber Awards Finalists!
2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists
Park Lakes Elementary School
Alicia Gaines-Holligan is a 10-year veteran educator, who has committed the last five years teaching fifth grade at Park Lakes Elementary School. “My students inspire me as an educator,” said Holligan. “My goal is to ignite the fire that inspires by modeling for my students how to be kind, caring, empathetic and passionate about what they believe.”
Flamingo Elementary School
Marc Horowitz is an instructional coach at Flamingo Elementary School. With the goal of making a difference in the lives of young people, Horowitz embarked on his journey to become an educator 23 years ago. Inspired to be a champion for students, Horowitz said, “I am determined to lead by example and ensure my students receive my unwavering dedication and support.”
Dillard 6-12 School
Sheldon McLean teaches band, music and performing arts at Dillard 6-12 School, where he has taught the last seven of nine years. McLean believes, “The development of the next generation is equally as salient as economic trade, technological advancement, health and medical discoveries, and every other industry that sustains and advances in life.”
Central Park Elementary School
Monika Moorman, a 23-year veteran educator who has taught first through fifth grades, spent the last three years teaching fourth grade at Central Park Elementary School. Moorman says she teaches to leave an imprint on the world to make a better place. “I wake up every morning thinking about ways I can be a more effective educator than I was the day before.”
Hawkes Bluff Elementary School
Allison Unger-Fink has spent her three years as an educator, teaching fourth grade at Hawkes Bluff Elementary School. “Technology is more important now than ever,” Fink said. “However, the greatest tool a teacher can lead with is the heart. Whether in a brick-and-mortar classroom or through a computer screen, students know when teachers care.”
2021 Principal of the Year Finalists
Dr. Washington Collado
James S. Rickards Middle School
Dr. Washington Collado has served as principal at James S. Rickards Middle School for the last eight of his 15 years in a principal leadership role. “I am pleased with the success of our students, the commitment of our educators, the learning organization we have built together, and the strong community ties we have fostered at Rickards Middle School,” said Collado. “The collective efforts and teamwork of our teachers and support staff have produced positive results for our students.”
Manatee Bay Elementary School
Heather Hedman-DeVaughn has spent the last 11 years as principal at Manatee Bay Elementary School. She has served in a principal leadership role for 13 years. “My most treasured moments in schools are spent listening to children, hearing their stories, answering their questions, and simply loving them for giving me the best reason to do this job,” said Hedman-DeVaughn.
South Plantation High School
Christine Henschel has served as principal at South Plantation High School since 2012, where she has created a school community focused on the whole child by incorporating programs to ensure students’ social and emotional well-being. “I have worked tirelessly to provide and encourage an environment for my students and my staff that brings out their best,” said Henschel.
2021 Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists
Charles W. Flanagan High School
Kristine Knapp has served as assistant principal at Charles W. Flanagan High School for the last three years. Knapp cheered, “F-A-L-C-O-N-S, we are the Falcons, we are the best,” first as a student in 1996 when the school first opened its doors and today, nearly 25 years later, she continues to chant the same cheer as assistant principal with even greater enthusiasm. “I represent Charles W. Flanagan High School with unprecedented pride and commitment,” said Knapp.
New Renaissance Middle School
Louis Kushner has served as assistant principal at New Renaissance Middle School for the last three years. “I want nothing more than for my teachers to feel supported to the best of my ability, and for my students to feel that their education and their life mattered to someone,” said Kushner.
Everglades High School
Anthony Smith has served as assistant principal at Everglades High School for 15 years. He has worked to identify students in need of intervention and created partnerships with school counselors, social workers, teachers and exceptional education support personnel to ensure that every student can succeed. “As a leader, I find my greatest role is that of mentor,” said Smith.
2021 School-Related Employee of the Year Finalists
Office of Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness
Leigh Kamens is a senior data analyst in the Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness Division, where she is responsible for all data that establishes the risk profile for the District related to safety and security. Kamens, who describes herself as “a go-getter who gets things done,” has played an integral role in advancing a safer environment for students and staff across the District.
Cresthaven Elementary School
Susan May is the confidential office manager at Cresthaven Elementary School, where she has served 24 of her 35 years with the District. “My elementary school experiences have brought me a life of pleasure serving the community and watching children grow and develop,” exclaimed May. “Over the past 35 years, I’ve tried to take every opportunity to boost each child’s confidence and belief in him or herself.”
Falcon Cove Middle School
Nancy Richards is a paraprofessional at Falcon Cove Middle School, where she has served all her 14 years with the District. “During my 14 years at Falcon Cove, I have worn a number of different hats to support the school,” said Richards. “I love what I’m doing, and I’m extremely dedicated to my job. I especially love working with students and parents in supporting them to be as successful as possible.”
Griffin Elementary School
Jacqueline Sanchez is a micro tech specialist at Griffin Elementary School, where she has served her 21 years in the District. In addition to managing and maintaining the school’s computers and digital equipment and providing eLearning support, Sanchez assumed the role of sponsor of Griffin’s Eco Patrol and has worked with students eager to learn about their environment. “I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to combine my passion for the environment with working with students to promote environmental literacy,” said Sanchez.
Hollywood Central Elementary School
Sandra Sunkins is the office manager at Hollywood Central Elementary School, where she has served for 31 of her 32 years with the District. From breakfast to transportation, incentives to supplies, Sunkins ensures students have everything they need to perform each day. “My greatest contribution is the sum of all my roles – to help children grow and feel safe,” she said. “That is the best feeling.”
Honoring the 2021 Caliber Awards Semi-Finalists and Nominees!
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
The Teacher of the Year (TOY) award recognizes outstanding classroom teachers, who inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to excel. The award honors individuals who continuously foster excellence in student education and have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap.
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.
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.