Night of the Stars Winners Announced

Night of the Stars Winners Announced

On Saturday, February 10, education’s shining stars walked the red carpet during the annual St. Lucie County Education Foundation’s Night of the Stars gala.  This annual event was broadcast live from Lincoln Park Academy’s grand auditorium. Each of the St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) distinguished honorees representing their respective schools was recognized for outstanding service, and honored with awards.  As the envelopes were opened and names were called, Samantha Lamora stepped forward as St. Lucie County’s Teacher of the Year.  She is a first grade teacher at Savanna Ridge Elementary School where she exercises her belief that she can be the difference in the life of a child and an influencer in the community.  Joining her on the stage were School Related Employee of the Year Adela DellaCroce from Treasure Coast High School, Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year Katherine Christopher of White City Elementary, and Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Brianna Nowaski from Windmill Point Elementary.


Superintendent E. Wayne Gent said, “Outstanding teachers and caring adults help pave pathways for success in students’ lives.  The individuals we honored this evening are remarkable, and I am extremely proud of all they do for our students every day.”


Education Foundation President Thom Jones said, “I look forward to this celebration each year. The Night of the Stars is an opportunity to honor our teachers and support professionals for the work they do each day for our students.”  Jones went on to say that, “The Education Foundation’s mission is to recognize excellence in education and support teacher development.  Event sponsors such as PNC Bank, this year’s Grand Benefactor, share our passion for recognizing excellence in education. MIDFLORIDA Community Credit Union sponsored the Teacher of the Year and Herff Jones honored the winner with a commemorative ring. Proctor Construction Company sponsored the School Related Employee of the Year, Keiser University sponsored the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year, and Seacoast Bank sponsored The Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year.  Jones offered a special thank you to the many other event sponsors.


Assistant to the Superintendent Dr. Kevin G. Perry said, “This event helps bring our distinguished honorees to our community.  The Night of the Stars is one way in which we can truly honor and celebrate their commitment to providing for the individual needs of all students.”


St. Lucie County’s Teacher of the Year and School Related Employee of the Year will now move on to the state level competition.  In the category of Teacher of the Year, the State has 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 the state.


About the Teacher of the Year

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 and achieve their goals.  Mrs. Lamora is inspired by her students desire to learn, grow, and celebrate their own successes.


Her students’ superior performance, her outstanding classroom practices, as well as other routines recognized as stellar led to Mrs. Lamora’s invitation to participate as a teacher leader and mentor.  She values collaboration and looks for opportunities to extend that beyond the classroom where she begins by establishing solid partnerships between home and school.  At the start of each year, she writes her parents a letter introducing herself, her educational philosophy, her expectation of success for her students, and her pledge to partner with them in their child’s academic journey to guarantee achievement.  Her classroom is open to her parents on a number of occasions each year in order to celebrate the accomplishments of students. In the spirit of working collaboratively with her colleagues, she also helps produce a weekly newsletter to streamline communication from school to home, and she is an active member of the school’s PBIS, PTO, and Literacy committees helping plan events afterschool in an effort to bridge the gap between home and school – always seeking to make a positive difference for her students.



About the School-Related Employee of the Year

Adela DellaCroce

Adela DellaCroce is a clerk with 13 years of experience who manages a wide array of duties and responsibilities with enthusiasm.  Ms. DellaCroce maintains meeting schedules, student attendance, and paperwork for the 700 strong junior class at Treasure Coast High School. In addition, she assists with maintaining discipline records, supporting the quarterly honor roll recognitions, organizing school assemblies, and coordinating faculty meetings.


There is no task too great or deemed outside of her role.  She truly sees the entire school as an organization and understands the different roles that are necessary for it to function effectively.  She helped established a campaign for aiding students in need of basic toiletries through Nick’s Necessities and for those who are food insecure, a healthy partnership with the Treasure Coast Food Bank is now viable on campus. With her ability to network, communicate, and advocate for Treasure Coast High School, Mrs. DellaCroce was a natural for the Volunteer Coordinator and Community Business Partner Liaison.  In just one year, Mrs. DellaCroce is tipping the scales with nearly 30 business partners!   Her next step from here is to help increase opportunities for internships so students can receive necessary work experience.  She is moving forward in maintaining a dynamic and synergistic relationship between the school and its business partners.


About the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year

Katherine Christopher

Katherine Christopher is a 21-year veteran educator at White City Elementary who is dedicated to the success of her elementary students and embraces new opportunities to help them master content in creative, innovative, and interactive ways. When she chose to become a teacher, she made a commitment to be the best academic and ethical role model and to provide a well-rounded education for every student she encountered. She exhibits expertise in the subjects she teaches and, as a true professional, spends time honing her skills to ensure that she understands and implements new Standards with the highest level of fidelity.


Ms. Christopher goes beyond her classroom responsibilities to support the campus and community as well.  She is a member of the White City Elementary’s PBIS team, supports fundraisers, and mentors new teachers.  In the community, her dedication extends to leadership roles in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a sponsor of the MLK, Jr. Spelling Bee and other notable community organizations.


About the Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year

Brianna Nowaski

Brianna Nowaski’s kindergarten classroom at Windmill Point Elementary School is the launchpad for her career in education, and according to her principal, this Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year has taken off like a rocket.  Ms. Nowaski was inspired to teach by two of her own teachers who motivated and encouraged her as a youth. In turn, she has established herself as a confident teacher with high expectations for students who are excelling in their work.


When reflecting on her professional collegiate experiences and student teaching, Ms. Nowaski confirmed her solid background and preparation in the practical aspects of teaching such as planning, classroom management, and prep work. However, she indicated the one thing that no amount of training could have prepared her for was the understanding of the love her students show her every day.







Career and Tech Month

Career and Tech Month

This month, the Florida Department of Education, students and educators are celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month with the 2018 theme, “Celebrate Today and Own Tomorrow.”

“We are proud to offer Floridians a public education system that was designed to help students of all ages and backgrounds reach their academic and career goals,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “Many students have gained the professional skills necessary to succeed through the Career and Technical Education programs available in all of our state’s school districts and colleges. Career and Technical Education Month is a great time to highlight the tremendous opportunities available to help students get a head-start on their careers.”

More than half a million Florida students are enrolled in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education. Programs around the state will hold activities during February to promote awareness about these educational opportunities.

“CTE programs have evolved from the ‘vocational’ programs of the past that prepared students for a single job with limited skills to today’s programs where students are prepared for a career,” said Career and Adult Education Chancellor Rod Duckworth. “Students who are enrolled in Florida’s CTE courses and programs are developing the skills to be successful in today’s workplace and those necessary for the jobs of the future.”


Students and educators continue to experience the positive impacts associated with Career and Technical Education and Industry Certifications, as evidenced by the data points below.

  • More than 420,000 K-12 students are enrolled in career and technical education programs in Florida’s public schools.
  • More than 52,000 students are enrolled in district technical center programs that prepare students for immediate entry into high demand, high skill employment opportunities.
  • More than 164,000 students are enrolled in the Florida College System postsecondary career and technical education programs.
  • The number of industry certifications earned by K-12 students continues to rise.  In 2015-16, high school students earned a total of 81,970 industry certifications, and in 2016-17, that number jumped to 102,044.
  • More than 489,000 students in grades 6-12 are enrolled in one of over 1,900 registered Career and Professional Education Academies and more than 17,000 registered Career-Themed Courses.

To learn more about Career and Technical Education in Florida, visit


Join us in celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. The 2018 theme is “Celebrate Today and Own Tomorrow.”



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Sailor Sabol Selected as National Youth Delegate for Prestigious Conference at George Mason…

Sailor Sabol Selected as National Youth Delegate for Prestigious Conference at George Mason…

Sailor Sabol, a student at Saint Lucie West Centennial High School, has been selected to represent Port Saint Lucie, Florida as a National Youth Delegate to the 2018 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University.

Sabol joins a select group of 300 students from across the country to participate in an intensive, week-long study of leadership in environmental science and conservation. Sabol was chosen based on academic accomplishments and a demonstrated interest and excellence in leadership in the sciences and conservation studies.

George Mason University along with partners, National Geographic and the National Zoo are excited to welcome the nation’s young scholars to Washington, D.C. With distinguished faculty, guest speakers, and direct access to elite D.C. practitioners, the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment offers aspiring environmentalists and student leaders an unparalleled experience. The week-long program is held at George Mason University’s state-of-the-art campus. The Summit will encourage and inspire young leaders who desire a unique experience focused on successful careers in this dynamic industry.

The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment will be held June 24 to 29, 2018.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is setting the gold standard for the modern, public university. Its dynamic culture and innovative academic programs prepare Mason’s hard-working students for 21st century careers. Its commitment to teaching excellence combines with cutting-edge research that enriches the academic experience and is changing the world. Mason is affordable, yet offers high value. Ideally located in the National Capital region, students enjoy terrific cultural experiences and access to the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.

About the 2018 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment

The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE) is a unique student leadership conference designed to develop and encourage future leaders in the important field of environmental studies and conservation in the 21st century. The Advisory Board is chaired by Mark Bauman, Senior Vice President of the Smithsonian Institution’s Enterprises Division. Additional members include world renowned scholars, distinguished scientists and award winning university faculty, such as Dr. Tom Lovejoy, noted environmentalist and former executive vice president of the World Wildlife Fund. Delegates gain an insider look at environmental science, policy and conservation issues. For more information visit us online at

All In Good Taste

All In Good Taste

SHELDON RILEY AND JAMES WEICHMANN of Fort Pierce Westwood High School captured 3rd place in the Fresh from Florida Student Chef Cook-off Finale in Tallahassee, FL.

Sheldon and James prepared their Raw Kale Pasta Salad with a Strawberry Vinaigrette and Chipotle Chicken. The trip to Tallahassee was a great learning experience for the entrepreneurial chefs. The day was highlighted with a tour of the capital and Ag Day Exhibit with Chef Paula.

Botanical Gardens Plant Sale Honor Guard

Botanical Gardens Plant Sale Honor Guard

On February 10th and 11th, the Jaguar Battalion participated in the annual Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden Plant Sale. From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm both days, a Battalion cadet helped plant shoppers carry multiple plants or heavy plants to their vehicles. Participation in this event was a win-win for the Botanical Gardens as well as for the cadet who earned community service hours and donations for the Battalion.