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Macy's Teacher of the Year 2006 logo

July 27, 2005

Jennifer Fennell or
Cheryl Etters
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn Announces Samuel Bennett as the Florida Department of Education/Macy's 2006 Teacher of the Year
Polk County elementary school teacher recognized for outstanding contributions to teaching

ORLANDO — Education Commissioner John L. Winn and Macy's Florida President and Chief Operating Officer Trip Tripathy last night announced Samuel Bennett as the Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made during a live televised ceremony at Hard Rock Live! at Universal Studios CityWalk in Orlando.

"Congratulations to Samuel Bennett on being chosen as the Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year," said Commissioner Winn. "He represents the thousands of Florida teachers who are helping students achieve at the highest levels ever. I salute him for his love of education and his students."

The Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 177,000 public school teachers by a selection committee comprised of teachers, principals, parents, and the business community. Florida's top educator is selected on the basis of their outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and exceptional school and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

"Teachers are an integral part of rising student achievement," said Governor Jeb Bush. "We hope to continue to build on our success with programs like Sunshine Connections that will help teachers by providing essential information to help students succeed."

The Teacher of the Year will receive a total cash award of $10,000 from Macy's, a Lenox crystal trophy, an all-expense paid trip to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a $1,000 contribution to his or her school. Macy's will also award to each of the other four finalists a $5,000 check and $1,000 for their respective schools. In addition, the other district winners each receive $750 from Macy's plus $250 for programs at their respective schools.

"With passionate teachers like Samuel Bennett, it's evident Florida will continue to show rising student achievement in its classrooms," said Macy's Tripathy. "We are proud of all the Teacher of the Year candidates' commitment to our students."

For the 17th year, Macy's Florida has produced the awards program and contributed $100,000 to the winning district teachers, finalists and their schools in the state-sponsored program. To date, the company has contributed $1.7 million to teachers throughout the state, making their donation the single largest annual corporate cash contribution to Florida public schools.

The Florida Department of Education/Macy's Florida Teacher of the Year will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the good news about education in Florida and rising student achievement.

Sunshine Connections is an interactive on-line tool that enables administrators and teachers across the state to easily access to student performance data and diagnostics, curricular materials, and communicate with other teachers. It was developed with input from educators throughout the state, allowing teachers to devote more time to instruction.

For more information about Sunshine Connections, visit

For more information about the Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year, visit