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Press Release

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Jean Lamar Announced as Florida Department of Education/Macy's 2009 Teacher of the Year

Middle school teacher recognized for long-term commitment to teaching excellence

Orlando — The 20th annual Florida Department of Education/Macy's 2009 Teacher of the Year was announced last night at the Hard Rock Live! located at Universal Studios CityWalk in Orlando. Jean Lamar, a teacher from Callahan Middle School in Nassau County, was announced as the winner during a ceremony hosted by Emmy Award winner Deborah Norville.

“While only one individual is selected as teacher of the year, all of our teachers are essential to the great strides Florida is making in increasing student learning and achievement,” Governor Charlie Crist said. “Each and every day, our teachers focus on thousands of details, somehow mastering that delicate balance between being motivator and academic counselor.”

Lamar will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for education, visiting schools throughout the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in Florida. She will receive a 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.

"I’m thrilled to recognize Jean Lamar as the 2009 Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Jean will serve as an excellent education ambassador for Florida because she represents what can be achieved when we believe in and focus on our students. Her innovative interdisciplinary approaches to instruction are surpassed only by her infectious enthusiasm for learning.”

Macy's will also award each of the other four finalists —Kevin Holland, Pace High School, Santa Rosa County; Danny Whittenton, Kathleen High School, Polk County; Jennifer Bohn, Evans High School, Orange County; and Jeanne Wright, Cypress Creek Elementary School, Volusia County— a $5,000 check and a $500 Macy's gift card. Macy's also presented $1,000 to each of the finalists' respective schools to be used toward educational programs.

“Jean Lamar is a phenomenal educator, whose mastery of teaching and dedication to her students goes well beyond the classroom. Macy’s is honored to recognize such an accomplished teacher, who is a shining example to us all,” stated Julie Greiner, Macy’s Florida Chairman and CEO.

The Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 180,000 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 his or her 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.

For more information about the Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year, visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/yeartch.asp.