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Teacher Biographies

Dr. Adewale Alonge

Middle School Science and Agriscience Teacher
Homestead Middle School, Dade County

  • 23 years teaching experience
  • Nigerian Certificate in Education, Agricultural Education and Integrated Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  • B.S. Vocational Agricultural Education, University of Nigeria
  • M.S. Agricultural Education (major) and Interdisciplinary Technology and Social Change (minor), Iowa State University
  • Ph.D. Agricultural Education (major) and Interdisciplinary Technology and Social Change (minor), Iowa State University
  • Certified in 6-12 Biology, 6-12 Agriculture
  • 2009 US Department of Education Classroom Fellow
  • 2009 USDA Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) de la Garza Fellow
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2006

Megan Allen

4th Grade Teacher
Cleveland Elementary School, Hillsborough County

  • 5 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Language and International Trade, Clemson University
  • M.A. Elementary Education, University of South Florida
  • Certified in Elementary Education
  • 2009-10 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year
  • 2010 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year

Nancy Berry

1st Grade Teacher - Liza Jackson Preparatory School, Okaloosa County

  • 36 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Elementary Education, Indiana University at Kokomo, Indiana
  • M.S. Elementary Education, Indiana University at Indianapolis, Indiana
  • M.S. Administration and Supervision of Curriculum, Purdue University and West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Certified in Elementary Education, Educational Leadership and Gifted Endorsement
  • National Teacher Hall of Fame, 2000
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2004
  • USA Today Outstanding Teacher Team, 2007

Rhoda Borombozin

Middle School Language Arts/English Teacher, Broward County

  • 23 years teaching experience
  • B.A. English, Penn State University
  • M.A. Communications, Temple University
  • Certified in 6-12 English, ESOL Endorsement, Gifted Endorsement, Middle Grades Endorsement
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2005
  • 2009 Foundation for Excellence in Education Excel Award in two categories:
    • Teachers Achieving the Greatest Gains with All Students
    • Teachers Achieving the Greatest Gains with High Achieving Students

Maria Cardenas

3rd Grade ESOL Teacher
Orange River Elementary School, Lee County

  • 3 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Elementary Education, Edison College
  • Certified in 6-12 English, 6-12 Spanish, ESOL Endorsement
  • Hope Scholarship Recipient, Edison College, 2006

Conney Dahn

High School ESE Teacher
Jensen Beach High School, Martin County

  • 21 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Special Education/Emotionally Handicapped, University of Alabama
  • M.A. Mental Retardation, Troy University
  • Certified in K-12 Emotionally Handicapped, K-12 Mentally Handicapped
  • 2006-07 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year
  • Charter Member, Florida League of Teachers
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2003

Patricia Fairclough

2nd Grade Teacher
Air Base Elementary, Dade County

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Elementary Education, Florida A&M University
  • M.S. Reading, Nova Southeastern University
  • Ed.S. Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University
  • Certified in Elementary Education, K-12 Reading
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2005
  • 2009 Black History Month Excellence in Education Award
  • 2009-10 Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year
  • 2009-10 Finalist for Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year

Laury Heath

1st Grade Teacher
Hallmark Elementary School, Escambia County

  • 18 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Computer Science, San Diego State University
  • M.A. Education, Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Certified in Prekindergarten/Primary Education
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2008
  • 2009-10 Teacher of the Year, Hallmark Elementary, Escambia County
  • 2009-10 Escambia County Teacher of the Year Finalist
  • One of 17 teachers transferred to Escambia’s Hallmark Elementary which went from an “F” to an “A” in three years

Jeramy Keen

5th Grade Teacher
Fellsmere Elementary School, Indian River County

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Carson-Newman College
  • Certified in Elementary Education, K-8 Physical Education
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2006
  • 2009-10 Indian River County Teacher of the Year
  • 2009-10 Mary J. Brogan Award Recipient

Nicole Marsala

8th Grade American History Teacher
Coral Springs Middle School, Broward County

  • 10 years teaching experience
  • 2009-10 Broward CountyTeacher of the Year
  • B.S. Political Science, Florida Atlantic University
  • M.S. International Affairs, Florida State University
  • Certified in 6-12 Political Science, 5-9 Social Science
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2005
  • 2009 Expo Markers Extraordinary Teacher
  • 2007 Gilder Lehrman Florida History Teacher of the Year
  • 2006 Broward History Teacher of the Year

Marilyn Pedak

High School Chemistry Teacher
Suncoast Community High School, Palm Beach County

  • 20 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • M.S. Biology, Barry University
  • Certified in 6-12 Chemistry, 6-12 Biology, 5-9 General Science, PK-12 Educational Media Specialist, Middle Grades Endorsement
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2000, 2010
  • 2009-10 Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year
  • 2010 Finalist for Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year

Anna Phillips

Kindergarten Teacher
Oak Hammock K-8 School, St. Lucie County

  • 7 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Elementary Education, Lee University
  • Certified in Elementary Education, ESOL Endorsement
  • 2007-08 St. Lucie County Teacher of the Year
  • 2007-08 Mary J. Brogan Award Recipient

Rebecca Pittard

5th Grade Teacher
Pine Trail Elementary School, Volusia County

  • 25 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Physical Education, University of North Carolina
  • M.A. Elementary Education, Nova Southeastern University
  • Certified in Elementary Education, Gifted Endorsement
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 1999, 2009
  • National Common Core Standards Work Team 2009 – January 2010
  • 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching

Melissa Reiker

High School English, AP/Honors Journalism Teacher
Apopka High School, Orange County

  • 7 years teaching experience
  • B.A. English, Rollins College
  • Certified in 6-12 English
  • 2009-10 Orange County Teacher of the Year
  • 2010 Finalist for Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year
  • 2005 Rookie Teacher of the Year

Kim Roberts

Music Teacher
Mitchell Elementary School, Hillsborough County

  • 29 years teaching experience
  • B.A. Music Education, University of South Florida
  • Certified in K-12 Music
  • National Board Certified Teacher, 2002
  • Hillsborough County EDDIE Award, 1995
  • University of Tampa Adjunct Professor

LaKenya Sanders-Sharpe

Math/Science Facilitator
Van E. Blanton Elementary School, Dade County

  • 6 years teaching experience
  • B.S. Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Florida
  • M.S. Elementary Education Specialist, University of Phoenix
  • Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University
  • Certified in Elementary Education, Educational Leadership
  • Math/Science Committee Chairperson
  • Math Brain Bowl Sponsor
  • Science Fair Director
  • 2008-09 Milken National Educator Award Recipient

Gary Stowers

High School AP/IB Calculus Teacher
Vanguard High School, Marion County

  • 35 years teaching experience
  • Teaches AP Calculus, IB Standard and Pre-Calculus
  • B.A. Mathematics Education, University of Kentucky
  • Certified in 6-12 Mathematics

Jasmine Ulmer

Title I Math Coach and Gifted Teacher
Lake Butler Elementary School, Union County

  • 5 years teaching experience
  • B.A. English and Classical Studies, University of Florida
  • M.A. Reading, University of Florida
  • Certified in K-12 Art, Elementary Education, 6-12 English, K-12 Reading, Gifted Endorsement
  • 2009 US Department of Education Classroom Fellow