Education’s Shining Stars Announced

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — In a live broadcast on Saturday, February 20, 2016, from Lincoln Park Academy, St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) and the Education Foundation of St. Lucie County announced this year’s line-up of educational superstars. Mr. Jeffrey Johnson, Sr. took top honors as St. Lucie County’s Teacher of the Year. Mr. Johnson is a champion of students at Dale Cassens Educational Complex where he supports students in the areas of science and mathematics. Joining him on the stage during the Night of the Stars gala were School Related Employee of the Year Mr. Charles Pilson from Manatee Academy, Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year Mr. Eddie L. Robinson from Manatee Academy, and Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Mr. Mike DellaFave from Weatherbee Elementary.

Teacher of the Year Johnson attributed his accomplishments as an educator to the inspiration he receives from his students’ successes. “I believe that all children are capable of success. Every child has a purpose, and every adult has a responsibility,” said Johnson. In an evening filled with accolades for the outstanding service that this year’s school representatives provide to the students in SLPS, Superintendent E. Wayne Gent said, “These outstanding ladies and gentlemen epitomize excellence in teaching and distinction in providing professional support for the teaching and learning environment in SLPS. They represent what the District stands for in quality education for each child every day.” He added, “It is through the relentless efforts of our instructional and support team members that we are making a difference in the lives of children. The dedicated individuals who crossed the stage this evening lead the way in the points of pride we have for SLPS.”

Executive Director of the Education Foundation, Mr. Thom Jones could not agree more. “Honoring our teachers and support staff for the work they do each day for our students is the highlight of my year. Central to The Education Foundation’s mission is to recognize excellence in education and support teacher development.” Jones was also emphatic in pointing out the fact that the corporate sponsors such as the event’s grand benefactor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are just as focused on the mission. The Morganti Group, Inc. sponsors the Teacher of the Year and Herff Jones honors the winner with a commemorative ring. The Education Foundation sponsors the School Related Employee of the Year, Keiser University sponsors the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year, and Seacoast Bank sponsors The Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year. Jones offered a special thank you to the many other event sponsors.

Event Coordinator Candace Stone said, “SLPS is proud of its educators and staff. We believe that all our distinguished honorees not only embody this mission of the District, but go beyond. Their accomplishments, both in school and in the community, reaffirms this belief.”

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

Jeffrey Johnson, Sr.

Mr. Jeffrey Johnson, Sr. provides structure, academic regimes, and a focused climate on achievement for his middle school students transitioning to high school at Dale Cassens Education Complex.  He supports his students’ studies in grade level mathematics and science as well as the facilitation of course recovery to support students in meeting their on-time graduation goals.

Mr. Johnson also appreciates the value of including a strong support network for his students, which is why he is passionate about including parents, coaches, pastors, and after-school organizations in the lives of his students. He endeavors to build strong bridges to solidify the home-to-school continuum for he believes that the cohesion of students, parents, community, and teachers maximize his students’ learning, provides his students with a greater sense of belonging, and inspires a subsequent desire in his students to participate in the lifelong learning process. He promotes a classroom culture that is dynamic, safe, and open for the sharing of thoughts and ideas.

About the School-Related Employee of the Year

Charles Pilson

Mr. Charles Pilson is the School Related Employee of the Year for Manatee Academy.  For the past four years, Pilson has served as the school’s Behavior Intervention Classroom Monitor. He is very aware of the challenges many students face each day and he supports and encourages their success in the classroom and in the educational environment.  He always lends an ear and a supportive word to those students who seek his counsel.

His normal work day ends and his dedication hours begin.  He serves as the school’s track coach, business partner liaison, and advisor to the Student Council and Honor Society.  Pilson works with the Guardian Ad Litem program as well.  He is a humanitarian who seeks the good in each and every student every day.

About the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year

Eddie L. Robinson

As a ten-year veteran educator, Mr. Eddie L. Robinson currently serves as an Elementary Counselor of Conduct at Manatee Academy. He believes that every child has the ability to learn and that every child needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature in their learning. He aspires to help students meet their fullest potential and continually works to help them develop and realize their uniqueness.

In his work on campus and in the community, Robinson is a steadfast advocate for youth. He volunteers his time as a youth leader, tutor, and mentor. He is positive in his demeanor, honorable in his work ethic, and counsels others to do the same.

About the Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year

Mike DellaFave

Mr. Mike DellaFave is a third grade teacher at Weatherbee Elementary School. His administrator and peers commend this positive role model on his dedication and enthusiasm for fostering a positive learning environment for his students. DellaFave’s classroom is a place where students are nurtured, motivated, and filled with wonder and encouraged to explore the world. He embraces the site-based and District initiatives and eagerly participates in talent development opportunities.

Aside from his contributions in the classroom, DellaFave is actively involved in committees and events on campus including the school’s positive behavior events. In the community, this stellar educator’s volunteer spirit shines through various outreach programs.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit,  or contact Kerry Padrick at



Author: Lydia Martin

Staff - (Changed 4/20/2023 8:56:31 PM)