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PRESS RELEASE

April 18, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn and State Board Chairman Handy Announce School-Related Employee of the Year

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn and State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy today announced Sheila Byrd as the 2006 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year. Byrd is an Exceptional Student Education Teacher Assistant at Mildred Helms Elementary School in Pinellas County.

"Ms. Byrd has proven that she is a valuable member of the team at Mildred Helms Elementary," said Commissioner Winn. "Her contributions to the school are evident in the students' academic success and performance."

The announcement was made during the State Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee. The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year receives an award check of $1,000 from the Department of Education. Each regional finalist receives an award check of $500 and each district nominee receives an award check of $200.

"On behalf of the State Board of Education, I am thrilled to recognize Ms. Byrd as the 2006 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Award recipient," said Chairman Handy. "We recognize and applaud the value special education teachers have in the classroom. She sets an example for others to be involved and committed to education in Florida."

The School-Related Employee of the Year Program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their schools and district school systems. The selection is based on an application showing that the nominee goes beyond the basic requirements of their duties and contributes to the academic success of students, school and the district. The program honors one state representative and four regional finalists.

The four regional finalists for the award are:

  • LaDtetre' McClain, a Media Aide at Alachua Elementary School, Alachua County;
  • Janet Gierhart, a Family Resource Center Paraprofessional at Orange City Elementary in Volusia County;
  • Joey L. Williams, an Exceptional Student Education Assistant for Autistic Students at Lakeside Junior High School in Clay County; and
  • Kathy McCain, a Prekindergarten Lead Teacher at Cedar Key School in Levy County.

For more information about the Florida School-Related Employee of the Year award, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/yearemp.htm.