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May 9, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

2007 Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the five finalists for the 2007 Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year. The finalists were selected from district winners across the state and represent more than 180,000 Florida educators. Each finalist was selected on the basis of superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service.

"There is no greater honor than recognizing those who change the course of young lives," said Commissioner Winn. "These finalists represent our state's finest teachers and we are grateful for their commitment and dedication to ensuring each child reaches their potential."

Each finalist was surprised with a $5,000 check from Macy's and a $500 Macy's gift card at presentations made at his or her school. In addition, Macy's also presented $1,000 to each of the finalists' respective schools to be used toward educational programs. For the 18th consecutive year, Macy's has contributed $100,000 toward honoring Florida's finest teachers through the Teacher of the Year Program.

"At Macy's, we feel teachers are our state's greatest human resource. That's one reason why we're proud of our long-standing commitment to education in Florida," said Julie Greiner, chairman and CEO, Macy's Florida. "The Teacher of the Year program gives us the opportunity to honor the best in the state as well as motivate teachers to strive for excellence in their own communities."

The five finalists are:

  • Melissa Brinson, a seventh grade science teacher at Suwannee Middle School in Suwannee County.
  • Lynn A. Carrier, a third grade inclusion teacher at Gulfstream Elementary School in Miami-Dade County.
  • Conney Dahn, a ninth through 12th grade exceptional education teacher at Jensen Beach High School in Martin County.
  • Margaret Jan Graham, a sixth grade language arts teacher at Cobb Middle School in Leon County.
  • Cathy Hardesty, an eighth grade math and science teacher at Hill-Gustat Middle School in Highlands County.

The remaining district winners each will receive $750 from Macy's, a $100 Macy's gift card plus $250 for programs at their respective schools. In addition, the finalists' names, photos and schools will be displayed in Macy's stores May through August.

The 2007 Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year will be named Wednesday, July 12, during a ceremony honoring Florida's teachers at Hard Rock Live! at Universal Studios CityWalk, Orlando. The winning teacher will receive a total cash prize of $10,000 from Macy's, a customized trophy and an all-expense paid trip to New York City for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. In addition, he/she will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State.