Polk County Public Schools celebrated our top educators and employees during an awards ceremony at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland
Dr. Vincent M. Miller II, a math teacher at Winter Haven High, is the 2020 Polk County Teacher of the Year!
Kay Llewellyn, a principal secretary at Dixieland Elementary in Lakeland, is our district’s 2020 School-Related Employee of the Year!
Polk County Public Schools celebrated our top educators and employees during an awards ceremony tonight at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. This year’s theme was “United as One,” a celebration of the diversity and unity within the school district.
The two overall winners, along with 12 finalists, received cash awards and other prizes from event sponsors.
Dr. Miller and Llewellyn were chosen from more than 200 candidates who were nominated by individual schools throughout PCPS.
Judges included community members from local organizations and businesses, as well as past winners and finalists. Judges reviewed the applications without knowledge of applicant names or schools. Criteria included leadership and professional development activities, community and school involvement, and teaching style.
Both winners will move on to compete for state titles. Each year, the Florida Department of Education names a Florida Teacher of the Year as well as a Florida School-Related Employee of the Year.
Dr. Vincent M. Miller II — 2020 Polk County Teacher of the Year award winner profile:
Dr. Miller is known for building positive relationships with students, their parents, and the community. He created a “clothes closet” where students can receive free clothing, shoes and hygiene products donated by local businesses. He founded Filling the Lane, a mentoring program that uses basketball to connect with youths, encourage them to stay in school and achieve their goals. He also helped launch a new student club to celebrate diversity among the student body, and give students from varying backgrounds a place to get to know one another. In the classroom, Dr. Miller designs his lessons around hands-on, real-life situations demonstrating how math is an integral part of everyone’s life. He also provides free tutoring after school. Dr. Miller believes teachers must be “lifelong learners” who are willing to discover new teaching practices so they can better reach their diverse students in an ever-changing world. “As our students evolve, our teaching needs to evolve,” he says.
Kay Llewellyn — 2020 Polk County School-Related Employee of the Year award winner profile:
As a principal’s secretary, Llewellyn epitomizes servant leadership. In her 30 years at Dixieland Elementary, she has brightened the lives of countless students, employees and parents. She is the first to offer help to those in need, whether it’s by giving a hug and encouraging word, or by collecting blankets for the homeless. She believes in filling each student’s “emotional bucket” with love and affirmation so they can be ready to learn every day. She is always ready to help coordinate fundraisers, reading incentives, and awards programs. Llewellyn is more comfortable as a behind-the-scenes person, and will quietly organize donations to help whoever is in need.
* Congratulations to the following Teacher of the Year finalists:
– Laura Blanchette, Southwest Middle, ESE teacher
– Katie Heter, Dundee Ridge Middle Academy, science teacher
– Lindsey Hanger, Bartow High/IB/Summerlin Academy, English teacher
– Erin Lavelle, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, English teacher
– Jennifer Fugate, Frostproof Elementary, reading coach
– Patricia Blackburn, Clarence Boswell Elementary, ESE teacher
* Congratulations to our School-Related Employee of the Year finalists:
– Kirsten Akers, Bethune Academy, media paraeducator
– Jose Flores, James E. Stephens Elementary, school safety guardian
– Helen Mack, Fred G. Garner Elementary, ESE paraeducator
– Susan Cruz, Winston Academy of Engineering, terminal operator
– Deanna Baker-Bailey, John Snively Elementary, paraeducator
– Zena Moody, Edgar L. Padgett Elementary, finance secretary
A special thanks to our sponsors for making this event possible:
Platinum sponsors: Ledger Media Group, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, Regal Automotive
Gold sponsors: ARAMARK, Boswell & Dunlap LLP, Florida Blue, Legoland Florida Resort, Mosaic, Publix Super Markets Charities, TECO