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Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program

This program recognizes outstanding educational support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their schools and district school systems. The program honors one state representative and four finalists. In accordance with section 1012.21(5), Florida Statutes, the bureau provides coordination and technical assistance in the nomination, selection, and recognition processes.

Nomination packets are sent to district superintendents at the beginning of each school year. Selection processes may differ by district. Only one nomination may be submitted by a district to the state and only the superintendent may make the nomination.

All non-certified, non-instructional educational support personnel who serve at the school or district level (such as teacher aides, library aides, bookkeepers, secretaries and clerks, bus drivers, food service staff, custodians, building maintenance workers, warehouse workers, mechanics, nurses, and office managers) may be nominated. Nominees may be full or part-time employees. Instructional and administrative personnel are as defined in section 1012.01(2) (a) – (d) and (3), Florida Statutes. Certified administrative staff and contract employees are not eligible.

State Winner and Finalists - By Year


Winner: Edward Lanza, Saddlewood Elementary School, Marion County Public Schools
Finalist: Terry Bagby, After-School Program Coordinator at Quest Elementary School, Brevard Public Schools
Finalist: James Sorrentino, Campus Advisor/Security Officer at Buddy Taylor Elementary School, Flagler Schools
Finalist: Jennifer Fries, Student Data Specialist at A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School, Florida Atlantic University
Finalist: Doris Cabrera-Jerez, School Administrative Assistant at Wellington Elementary School, The School District of Palm Beach County


Winner: James Kendall Busscher, Franklin Park Elementary, Lee County
Finalist: Verma Hines, Oscar Patterson Academy, Bay County
Finalist: Elizabeth Gioffre, Indian River Academy, Indian River County
Finalist: Shawna Dee Crist, James E. Plew Elementary School, Okaloosa County
Finalist: JoAnne Mack Padon, Fairlawn Elementary School, St. Lucie County


Winner: Greg Lyon, Hiland Park Elementary School, Bay County
Finalist: Officer Jennifer Imperator, Ocean Breeze Elementary School, Brevard County
Finalist: Nicholas Catto, Citrus Resources for Exceptional Students in Transition, Citrus County
Finalist: Jacquelin Rae Edwards, Clay Hill Elementary School, Clay County
Finalist: Edward Wallace, Lakewood Elementary School, Pinellas County


Winner: James A. Henry, Florida State University School, Florida State University
Finalist: Richard Godfrey, Crystal River Primary School, Citrus County
Finalist: April Dempsey, Grassy Lake Elementary School, Lake County
Finalist: Hernan Avila, Wellington High School, Palm Beach County
Finalist: Tue Tran, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Elementary School, Pinellas County


Winner: Althea Council, Citrus Springs Middle School, Citrus County
Finalist: Brittany Poitier, Broadview Elementary School, Broward County
Finalist: Donna Howard, FAMU Developmental Research School, Florida A&M University
Finalist: James Graves, Highlands Elementary School, Osceola County
Finalist: Ivey Colligan, Orchard View Elementary School, Palm Beach County


Winner: Bethany Lucas, Merritt Brown Middle School, Bay County
Finalist: Heather Renfroe,Lecanto Primary School, Citrus County
Finalist: Daisy Rios, Fellsmere Elementary School, Indian River County
Finalist: Jeremy Shaw, Technology and Information Services, Leon County
Finalist: Anthony Langhorne, Walter Pownall Service Center, Pinellas County


Winner: Stephanie Melton, W.E. Cherry Elementary School, Clay County
Finalist: Sylvester Jones, Rutherford High School, Bay County
Finalist: Jermaine Green, Jose de Diego Middle School, Miami-Dade County
Finalist: Debra Canning, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Pinellas County
Finalist: Sarah Woods, Gulf Gate Elementary School, Sarasota County


Winner: David Melnick, Food Service Manager at Lake St. George Elementary School, Pinellas County
Finalist: Eunice Johnson, ESE Paraprofessional at Irby Elementary School, Alachua County
Finalist: Jamie Skinner, Food Service Manager at Ralph Williams Elementary School, Brevard County
Finalist: Donna Peavy, Media Paraprofessional at Avon Park High School, Highlands County
Finalist: Jane Winters, After School Director at Beacon Cove Intermediate School, Palm Beach County


Winner: Abel Garcia, ESOL Paraprofessional at Reddick-Collier Elementary School, Marion County
Finalist: Angela Wright, Computer Lab Proctor at Hawthorne Middle/High School, Alachua County
Finalist: Kenyatta D. Medlock, Community Liaison at Whiddon-Rogers Education Center, Broward County
Finalist: Vanessa Molina-Council, ELL Paraprofessional at Citrus Grove Elementary School, Martin County
Finalist: Alberto “Tico” Justiniano, Head Custodian at Narcoossee Elementary School, Osceola County


Winner: Cheryl A. Thomas, Relief Bus Driver and Training Assistant at the Coachman Service Center, Pinellas County
Finalist: Christopher Gates, Technology Specialist at Broward Virtual School, Broward County
Finalist: Shaunda Burdette, Teacher Aide at the District Service Center’s Educational Services Department, Citrus County
Finalist: Stacey Fuhrman, Vision Paraprofessional at Citrus Grove Elementary School, Martin County
Finalist: Mark Nelson, Uniformed Security Officer at Acceleration Academy West High School, Orange County


Winner: James Lefko, Food Service Manager, Bayshore Elementary School, Lee County
Finalist: Toni Padgett, Career Specialist, Fleming Island High School, Clay County
Finalist: Kathy Moresi, Executive Assistant/Peer Lead, Florida Virtual School
Finalist: Deloris Patterson, School Secretary, Dr. Phillips Ninth Grade Center, Orange County
Finalist: Debra Alvis, Administrative Assistant, Greenwald, Booker Middle School, Sarasota County


Winner: Sue Mullen, Data Entry Manager, Breakfast Point Academy K-8, Bay County
Finalist: Susan McVeigh, ESE Parent Specialist, Flagler County Schools - ESE Department, Flagler County
Finalist: Jennifer Seidenstucker, Treasurer II, Eagles Landing Middle School, Palm Beach County
Finalist: Debra Stotts, Office Clerk I, Largo Middle School, Pinellas County
Finalist: Eric Henik, The Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Traditions, Plant Manager, St. Lucie County​


Winner: Norma Reyes, ESOL Paraprofessional, Purcell Elementary School, Polk County
Finalist: Stuart Sheinman, Technology/Network Support Associate, West Melbourne Elementary School for Science, Brevard County
Finalist: Linda Turner, Registered Nurse, Montclair Elementary School, Clay County
Finalist: Brenetta Lawrence, Program Specialist, Bond Elementary School, Leon County
Finalist: George Beasley, Sr., Custodian - Plant Maintenance, Seminole High School, Seminole County