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PRESS RELEASE

April 15, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

2008 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Announced
~ Bay county lab manager honored for dedication to student success ~

TALLAHASSEE - Elizabeth Stephens was announced today as the 2008 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year (SREY) by State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair and Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith during the State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting in Tallahassee. Stephens is the manager of the SuccessMaker Lab, a reading and mathematics computer lab, at Springfield Elementary School in Bay County. The SREY Program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their school systems.

“I applaud Ms. Stephens for the tremendous amount of effort she has devoted to improving the lives of our children,” said Chairman Fair. “She is truly deserving of this award and her contributions to our education system will have a lasting effect for many years to come.”

The SREY receives an award check of $1,000 from the Department of Education. Each finalist receives an award check of $500 and each district nominee receives an award check of $200.

Following the SBOE meeting, Stephens and the finalists toured the Capitol Complex, Governor’s Mansion, Challenger Learning Center and attended a luncheon at Florida State University’s University Center Club. Sponsors of the day’s events included Apple, Inc. and Classic Limo & Sedan Service of Tallahassee.

“Student success is built around the hard work and enthusiasm of individuals such as Ms. Stephens,” said Commissioner Smith. “I congratulate her on this honor and am proud to have such a dedicated school employee serving our students.”

The SREY is chosen based on an application process that demonstrates the nominee’s efforts to go beyond the basic requirements of their duties and contribute to the academic success of students, schools and the district. The program honors one state award winner and four finalists. This year’s finalists were selected from a total of 66 nominees.

The four finalists for the award are:

  • Catherine Houck, a Teacher Assistant at Palm Harbor Elementary School in Pinellas County;
  • Jimmy Morrow, an On-Site Repairperson/Facilities Coordinator at Hallandale Adult Community Center in Broward County;
  • Jill Robbins, an Exceptional Student Education Paraprofessional at Washington Shores Elementary in Orange County; and
  • Carol Wilt, an Exceptional Student Education School Nurse Specialist at Sidney Lanier School in Alachua County.

For more information about the Florida SREY award, please visit: http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/yearemp.asp.

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