St Lucie Public Schools is a venerable and grand institution, home to exemplary educators whose passion and commitment to the students they serve knows no bounds. Each year the district has the privilege of recognizing teachers selected to represent their individual schools as Teacher of the Year. Given there are so many highly qualified educators found at each school, the selection process is arduous and this year is no exception. Superintendent Genelle Yost and members of the Saint Lucie County School Board are honored to announce the finalists for Saint Lucie County Public Schools Teacher of the Year for 2016.
Sherree Madorma is the nominee from Rivers Edge Elementary School. Ms. Madorma began her teaching career in Coney Island, New York, teaching fifth grade next to her father’s fourth grade classroom. Sherree teaches fifth grade students and a phenomenal 94% of her students demonstrated learning gains in mathematics. Her classroom is a beehive of activity each day – children laughing, engaged, and enjoying the learning process through innovative methods provided by their teacher. Ms. Madorma offers a Morning Math Club for her students every Thursday from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Parents appreciate this free tutorial service and other teachers are joining in with their own Morning Math Clubs. Sherree uses data extensively to enhance the learning opportunities for her students and rejoices and celebrates their achievements. Aware of the importance of recognizing extraordinary efforts by staff members, Mrs. Madorma implemented “Monthly Shout-Outs” that acknowledge two teachers and one school related employee each month. Staff members learn together, collaborate, and celebrate one another’s successes. Above all, Sherree encourages students to shoot for the moon, and even if they miss they will still land among the stars and they enthusiastically do!
Julie Caiazzo is Oak Hammock K8’s nominee this year. Ms. Caiazzo is a second grade teacher for both general education students and students with disabilities. Julie began her teaching career in Saint Lucie Public Schools about five years ago. She is both committed to and passionate about the students she serves. To better communicate with those children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing Julie is taking classes in sign language using her own resources and time. Ms. Caiazzo is the PBIS chairperson, Kids at Hope core team member, new teacher mentor, District Math Assessment team member to name a few of the roles she fills at school. As a direct reflection of her leadership, open communication, and dedication, the school was recognized as a PBIS Bronze Level Model School for the first time. Children entering Julie’s classroom immediately sense the safe learning environment fostered by their teacher. Ms. Caiazzo provides an atmosphere where students know they can succeed. The expectations are clear, concise, and encouraging. By example, children are taught to be kind and respectful of others, to be positive in their actions. Julie Caiazzo pursues every opportunity for personal and professional growth and implements best practices in her classroom and works collaboratively with colleagues. Julie supports creativity and nurtures the adventuresome spirit in young children and encourages them to “dream big.”
Latricia Stubbs is the nominee from Dan McCarty Middle School. Latricia is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. More important than the grade she teaches is the skill she has in fostering a climate where students want to learn and believe they can! Ms. Stubbs teaches in a school where many students struggle in both their personal lives and in their educational accomplishments. Latricia has immersed herself in the Saint Lucie Way and continually adjusts her teaching methods to achieve the highest level of performance of her students. She develops relationships with the families of students through notes and personal phone calls. Parents know her through their children and they willingly work cohesively together so their children can know academic success. Ms. Stubbs serves as department chair and works tirelessly with colleagues to provide opportunities for students to apply the skills they have learned. Working with the school administration, Latricia developed a plan of action to increase the writing scores at Dan McCarty Middle School through the creation of writing prompts and practices designed to increase student achievement. The assessment data at the end of the year indicated a sixteen point gain in those scores. It was recommended by the DA team from the Florida Department of Education that Ms. Stubbs teach all grade eight students the lessons she developed. Through the specialized schedule created by administration, Latricia did just that! She works with Saint Lucie County Instructional Partners to facilitate workshops at the Saint Lucie County Differentiated Instruction Summer Academy and participated in the Five Day Reading Edge leadership training. Latricia believes that all children, wealthy or impoverished, can learn. She spends her afternoons and evenings planning, reflecting, and finding best practices for motivating students toward higher achievement and instilling a firm belief their lives can be better with education.