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Martin County Educator Patrick Farley Is In The Running For Florida Teacher Of The Year Award

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart recently surprised Patrick Farley in his classroom with a check for $15,000 and the news that he is one of five Teacher of the Year finalists.

Laurie J. Gaylord, superintendent of the Martin County School District, applauded the third- and fourth-grade gifted teacher for his role in improving Crystal Lake Elementary from a “C” to an “A” last year and his involvement chairing the positive behavior intervention and support committee, as well as coaching the school’s track team, running clubs and the robotics team. 

“This is an amazing accomplishment,” Gaylord says. “We are all so proud of Mr. Farley. His contributions to the students and families at Crystal Lake—and the entire district—extend well beyond the classroom. He’s an outstanding educator who is well deserving of this honor, and he is a wonderful example of the level of dedication so many of our teachers provide on a daily basis.”

The Education Foundation of Martin County serves as a sponsor of the Teacher of the Year award.

“On behalf of the Education Foundation of Martin County, I would like to congratulate Patrick Farley for being selected as a finalist for the Florida Teacher of the Year,” Kelly Buist, president of the foundation, says. “Patrick is a great representative of the excellent teachers that we have in Martin County. Our community is grateful for his hard work and dedication to our students.”

The statewide Teacher of the Year contest winner will be announced at the annual Florida Teacher of the Year Gala on July 13, in Orlando. Each district’s Teacher of the Year will receive $10,000, and the state winner will receive a total of $20,000.

Noting his well-documented success and designation as a High Impact Teacher, Gaylord says Farley has embraced the growth mindset concept and helps his students and colleagues realize they have a limitless ability to develop and improve, and perhaps most importantly, that failure is essential to achieving success. 

Farley has chaired the positive behavior intervention and support committee, which includes training staff for working with behavioral challenges and the development of a reward system to reinforce positive student behavior.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 198,700 public school teachers throughout the state. After each school district selects its Teacher of the Year, a selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community reviews each district application on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching and outstanding school and community service.  

Additional nominees include Joy Prescott of Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School in Glades County; Molly Winters Diallo of Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Miami-Dade County; Samantha Neff of Idyllwilde Elementary School, a turnaround school in Seminole County; and Kyle Dencker of Timber Creek High School in Orange County.

The finalists were selected from 74 district-nominated teachers through a rigorous selection process including several selection panels, a classroom video submission and writing samples. The finalists will travel to Tallahassee in June for the next step of the process. For more information, visit fldoe.org/teaching/recognition/fl-teacher-of-the-year-program/.

Photo courtesy of Bob Dobens for the Education Foundation of Martin County

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