Cheers echoed across campuses today as three deserving teachers were named as finalists for St. Lucie Public Schools’ (SLPS) Teacher of the Year. Makeda-Ione Brome (Lincoln Park Academy), John J. Davino (Samuel S. Gaines Academy K-8), and Jim LeBon (Southport Middle School) were surprised by a throng of delegates from St. Lucie’s Education Foundation and School Board who showered them with congratulations.
SLPS Superintendent E. Wayne Gent said, “Our Teacher of the Year finalists are all-stars; they are outstanding in their craft. 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 18, 2017, 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
Makeda-Ione Brome is an instructor at Lincoln Park Academy where she dedicates herself to helping her students advance their learning in the areas of International Baccalaureate (IB) Pre-Calculus and Calculus as well as Probability and Statistics. Striving for excellence for herself as well as for her students, Ms. Brome has set a standard for high pass rates which includes a 95% pass rate on the IB Math Studies (Statistics) exam.
With a history of strong data and keen expertise in a wide array of mathematics practices, this energetic educator is also a leader among her peers serving as a Department Chair for Mathematics and site-based facilitator for collaborative teaching discussions. At the District, Ms. Brome stands out as a member of the Teacher Leader Program supporting professional development, and at the State level, she is currently a Florida Teacher Leader Fellow through the University of Florida and Center for Teaching Quality. She is one of an elite team of 40 teachers from across the state participating in this program.
In the classroom, Ms. Brome gets her inspiration from her students. Everything she does is because she wants to see them grow in all aspects of their lives. She takes to heart the fact they must learn and retain required mathematics in order to be successful in the next course, in college, and beyond. She uses a variety of teaching styles and instructional tools, and she has been known to show a concept three, four, five, times; upside-down, right-side up; however many ways it takes for every student to learn the concept. Just as others inspired her to step out of her glass box and teach, she wants to be an inspiration to teach others to step out of their glass boxes by developing their talents so they, in turn, can also share with others the gifts they have to offer.
John J. Davino
John J. Davino is an AVID elective teacher for students in grades six, seven, and eight at Samuel S. Gaines Academy. AVID – Advancement Via Individual Determination – is the name of the elective course he instructs, and Mr. Davino’s job is to support his students in all of their classes by holding them accountable to the highest standards and providing academic and social support so they will rise to the challenge in preparation for the rigors of college and career readiness. Based on Mr. Davino’s data that boasts a 20 percent learning gain for his students, he is most definitely making an impact.
Mr. Davino appreciates opportunities to work alongside colleagues and share his craft with others. At his school, he has served as a Team Leader and Department Chair. As a member of the inaugural District Teacher Leadership Program, he has had many opportunities over the last four years to support district-wide professional development including the teaching and learning framework, instructional strategies, and new teacher mentoring.
Collaboration with colleagues supports the planning and implementation of engaging lessons for his students who are the source of his direct inspiration. Reflecting on specific individuals who motivate his desire to be the very best teacher, Mr. Davino attributes his inspiration to the quiet Spanish-speaking girl hiding in anonymity and maintaining average grades who comes out of her shell making all A’s, to the young boy who said to him, “Mr. Davino, I’m going to work for you because my brother said you actually care,” and to the girl whose confidence grew as she worked to channel her anger and model herself after the ethics and attitude of her teacher – Mr. Davino. For this model educator, inspiration from students continues to fuel his desire to teach.
Jim LeBon is the music instructor at Southport Middle School serving students in grades six, seven, and eight. However, as a veteran band master, Mr. LeBon works with students and staff at the high school and collegiate level as well as supporting the integration of collegial support necessary to grow budding middle school programs and sustain robust music arts programs throughout the county.
Mr. LeBon is gifted in playing many instruments, talented in composing, and enthusiastic in performing. He bundles this into the unique gift of teaching, and to his credit, his students regularly earn Superior awards at Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) Concert Band Festivals as well as FBA Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Opportunities to play quality selections are important to inspire young musicians, and over the years, Mr. LeBon noticed a void in the availability of music literature suitable for young musicians. With his spirit of advocacy for students, he set to work in order to fix the problem by gathering his resources and employing quality writers. The result of his arts advocacy is a portal of eighty-five compositions and arrangements available for band masters everywhere.
He truly enjoys his opportunity to teach. He looks forward to and never tires of hearing his students navigate through Mary Had a Little Lamb for the first time, and he enjoys the expression of joy on his students’ faces as they experience the applause for a well-executed performance. He knows that what he does makes a difference to his students and that he has an obligation to do a great job and leave a lasting impression that will impact their perspective on music as well as on the world around them.