Local Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Local Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Three teachers were named as finalists for St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) Teacher of the Year during surprise announcements on Monday, January 22nd.  Luca Bradley (Fort Pierce Central High School), Luke Hall (Treasure Coast High School), and Samantha Lamora (Savanna Ridge Elementary School) reveled in the news from delegates representing SLPS, School Board, St. Lucie County Education Foundation, and MidFLORIDA Credit Union.

SLPS Superintendent E. Wayne Gent said, “Our Teacher of the Year finalists are outstanding individuals who are stand-outs in their profession.  These are the individuals students grow up to remember as that ‘special someone’ who made a difference in their lives. They positively impact the lives of our young people by seeing them as individuals, building up their strengths, and helping them achieve lofty goals.”

Locally, one of the three finalists will be selected as the SLPS Teacher of the Year during the Night of the Stars gala scheduled for February 10, 2018, at Lincoln Park Academy’s auditorium in Fort Pierce.  This person will then represent SLPS in the Florida Department of Education – Macy’s Teacher of the Year program.

The local Night of the Stars annual event is sponsored by the Education Foundation of St. Lucie County. Thom Jones, president of the Foundation, explained that MIDFLORIDA Credit Union is the sponsor of the local Teacher of the Year category.  “This is an especially exciting year. Through our generous sponsor, we have been able to go above and beyond expectations, and we will honor our winners with very special recognitions this year.”

The State’s Teacher of the Year Program is a long-standing tradition that recognizes and honors the contributions of outstanding classroom teachers who have demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. The State finalist for The Florida Teacher of the Year also serves as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education and represents the Florida Department of Education and teachers throughout Florida.

About the Teacher of the Year Finalists                                                                                         

Luca Bradley

Luca Bradley is a social studies teacher at Fort Pierce Central High School where he serves in multiple capacities beyond the classroom including soccer coach, teacher mentor, and curriculum specialist.  Serving in this capacity was what he longed to do as a child, and happily, he brought that dream to a reality four years ago by returning to his alma mater to teach. He feels it is his duty to help his students fulfill their quest for knowledge, inspire their dreams, and influence their livelihoods.  Through partnerships with various local organizations, he has also developed opportunities for his students and their families to learn more about and interact with the community and its rich history.

In the words of his principal, Bradley, creates critical thinkers who use knowledge gained in his classes to facilitate the acquisition of skills necessary to be self-sufficient learners.  His students demonstrate mastery as measured by the U.S. History EOC and AP History Examination.  Although Bradley’s students have seen exponential growth and success in their test scores, his influence is not solely limited to academics. He strives to create an environment in which his students connect content with real life experiences.

Luke Hall

With 14 years of experience in education, Luke Hall is an arts educator who serves as the band director at Treasure Coast High School.   The growth of his students inspires him, and he also finds working with the music program as a collection of large ensembles equally as rewarding in that it provides an avenue for positively influencing the community.  During his six years as the Titan Band Director, the program has grown from 60 to nearly 200 students.  He also launched a chorus program; organized a successful booster program; and the various bands, ensembles, and color guards proudly boast outstanding ratings at district and State Music Performance Assessments (MPAs).

More importantly, Hall is pleased that the band program has provided the opportunity for his students to become active members in civic pageantry and community events.  Titan bands and ensembles have participated in a wide array of events ranging from local parades to the wreath laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery. According to his principal, Hall spends many hours on community-based activities, as he is an ambassador for SLPS.  He also holds his students to high expectations, not only with their music performance, but academically and behaviorally as well, for they too are our ambassadors.

Samantha Lamora

Samantha Lamora is a first grade teacher at Savanna Ridge Elementary School with five years of teaching experience.  For her, stepping into the role of a teacher is an answer to a lifetime career calling she deems “magical.”   She enjoys helping students set goals and working with them to achieve their goals.  Lamora is inspired by her students desire to learn, grow, and celebrate their own successes. With proficiency rates spiraling upward into the nineties on the most recent math unit assessment in mathematics and writing scores improving by 57 percent, there is certainly cause to celebrate.

The cornerstone philosophy of her classroom is “family” where she begins by establishing solid partnerships between home and school and continues with nurturing respectful relationships among students in the classroom to support academic and behavioral progress. In the spirit of working collaboratively with her colleagues, she also helps produce a weekly newsletter to streamline communication from school to home. Lamora’s principal lauds her as a dedicated professional whose strong belief that she can be the difference in the life of a child and an influencer in the community speaks volumes to her commitment.


About St. Lucie Public Schools

St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) proudly serves students as the highest-ranking District on the Treasure Coast with a graduation rate of 91.0 percent.  As a B rated District, there are no failing schools, and SLPS has the distinction of being recognized as one of St. Lucie County’s Best Places to Work.  The mission of SLPS is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information, visit http://www.stlucieschools.org.


Help Protect Yourself and Others From the Flu

Help Protect Yourself and Others From the Flu

Click on the link below for a short and informative video on how you can protect yourself and others from the flu this season.  There is also a trivia game (“Just the Vax”) to test your knowledge about vaccines, their history, and value in the fight against the flu.

There’s more! Check it out.



Visit stluciepublicschools.org and click on the link under announcements for additional resources.

Take the Billion Step Challenge

Take the Billion Step Challenge

Help support Healthy St. Lucie Coalition, a project focused on promoting health where we live, learn, work, and play.

The 2018 Billion Step Challenge is open to anyone who lives in the County.

Think about linking a wearable activity tracker device to your “Walker Tracker” account.

If you are interested in participating as an individual or as a team, contact Stacy Donnelly for more information.


Stacy Jacobson Donnelly

Wellness Manager

St. Lucie Public Schools


(772) 429-3974


February Is Heart Month

February Is Heart Month

The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day is the gift of heart health. Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.1 While Americans of all backgrounds can be at risk for heart disease, African American men, especially those who live in the southeast region of the United States, are at the highest risk for heart disease.2 Additionally, more than 40 percent of African Americans have high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.3 That’s why this February during American Heart Month, Million Hearts® is encouraging African American men to take charge of their health and start one new, heart-healthy behavior that can help reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.



A Reading Council Event for K-2 Teachers!

A Reading Council Event for K-2 Teachers!

The St. Lucie County Reading Council is at it again! Bringing the best presenters to share information that will benefit us as professionals and our students as they develop their love of literacy!

On Tuesday, February 6th, Dr. Debra Gurvitz will bring you ideas you can implement immediately in your writing block. Read about Debra’s vast experience and her work with researchers like Doug Fisher and Harvey Daniels on the flier.

A special thanks to the Keiser University for hosting our event and a great big shout out to the Education Foundation for providing dinner to all! Members are FREE and nonmembers can become members at the door if they choose.Debra Gurvitz – SLCRC February Event

Questions? Please email me at ilyse.brainin@stlucieschools.org