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Brevard’s Top Educators Honored at the ABC Awards

Congratulations to Edgewood Teacher of the Year Debby Woodside and Edgewood Employee of the Year Valerie Lance

The Brevard Schools Foundation hosted a night of recognition and celebration at its annual Applauding Brevard’s Champions (ABC) Awards Gala, on Thursday, February 1, at the Radisson at the Port in Cape Canaveral.

The gala showcased the excellence within Brevard Public Schools (BPS) by announcing the winners across various categories, including Administrators of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, Employee of the Year, and Teacher of the Year. Additional distinctions were given to Rookie Teacher of the Year (first-year teachers) and Emerging Teacher of the Year (second-year teachers). Notably, not only were the individual award recipients honored, but each Teacher of the Year selected by their respective schools also received special recognition.

The winners of Administrators of the Year, Employee of the Year, Rookie Teacher of the Year, and Emerging Teacher of the Year had been revealed at different points throughout the past year. However, during the gala, the Teacher of the Year and Volunteers of the Year were unveiled.

The prestigious title of Brevard Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year was awarded to Deborah Price, a distinguished 6th-grade teacher at Riviera Elementary. Ms. Price expressed her gratitude, saying, “Thank you to the Brevard County School Board, the Brevard Schools Foundation, and Dr. Rendell for the opportunity to represent the teachers of Brevard County… I would also like to give a special thank you to the administration, faculty, and students at Riviera Elementary. I am very blessed to teach and work with you all each day.”

Ms. Price was one of six finalists honored at the gala, alongside Jeffrey Draves, a Social Studies Teacher at Viera High; Chef Michelle Noble, a Culinary Arts Teacher at Titusville High; Colleen Rockstraw, School Counselor at Southwest Middle; Alicia Street, an ESE Content Specialist for the School District; and Ashley Varela, 6th-grade Teacher at Endeavour Elementary.

In addition to recognizing exceptional educators, the event honored outstanding volunteers: Natalee Dutill of Heritage High (Youth Volunteer of the Year), Jacqueline Riemersma of Johnson Middle (Adult Volunteer of the Year), and Dianne Jackson of University Park Elementary (Senior Volunteer of the Year).

Several other esteemed award winners were celebrated, including Employee of the Year, Terri Bagby, After School Coordinator at Quest Elementary; Principal of the Year, Robert (Bobby) Pruett of Satellite High; Assistant Principal of the Year, Kellee McCluney of Saturn Elementary; Elementary Rookie Teacher of the Year, Joshua Katz of Croton Elementary; Middle School Rookie Teacher of the Year, Amanda Taylor of Southwest Middle; High School Rookie Teacher of the Year, Brooke Haid of Rockledge High; Elementary Emerging Teacher of the Year, Alexis Henriquez of Longleaf Elementary; Middle School Emerging Teacher of the Year, Rachel Moore of Stone Magnet Middle; and High School Emerging Teacher of the Year, Sophia Wixted of West Shore Jr./Sr. High.

Finalists for Employee of the Year were also celebrated, including Timothy Cannon of BPS Transportation; Valerie Lance, Bookkeeper at Edgewood Jr./Sr. High; Jessica Reed, Instructional Assistant at Kennedy Middle; Kelli Szymanski, Clerk at Discovery Elementary; and Ruth TeMaat, Instructional Assistant at Westside Elementary.

The ABC Awards was made possible by the generous support of all the event’s sponsors, with special recognition to Super Star sponsor Community Credit Union and Gold Star sponsor Northrop Grumman. Their commitment to education in Brevard County significantly contributes to its ongoing success. Additionally, special thanks to Space Coast Honda and Space Coast Daily for their outstanding contributions.

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