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Press Release

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ivonne Amor, (305) 577-6791,
Melissa Goff, (305) 577-2171,

Leon County Teacher Named As One of Top Five Finalists for 2010 Macy's/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year

Inspirational Teacher on Receiving End of Surprise of a Lifetime!
~ One of five finalists named to compete for distinguished 2010 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award ~

Miami – Exceptional teachers have the power to inspire the dreams of future generations. Now, one inspirational teacher is going to see her dream come true. Emily Barbacci of Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee in Leon County has been chosen from a group of 72 teachers to compete for the 2010 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award. Today Florida Department of Education Commissioner, Dr. Eric J. Smith, along with a representative from Macy’s, made the big surprise announcement. The high school American History Teacher was called by Principal Dr. Alan Cox to the Principal’s Office and told that she has been chosen as one of five finalists for the prestigious honor.

Upon receiving the good news, Ms. Barbacci was presented with a $5,000 check from Macy’s and a $500 gift card. Macy’s also presented a $1,000 check to the finalist’s school. This year, the company will contribute over $100,000 in cash to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, as its done for the past 21 years.

For the 21st year, Macy’s will sponsor and produce the awards ceremony. “Teachers are an inspiration and are extremely influential in the life of a child,” said Macy’s Senior Vice President, Regional Director of Stores Karin Darmanin. “Macy’s is honored and excited to support Florida’s educators, who do so much to shape the leaders of tomorrow,” concluded Darmanin.

“Each teacher of the year finalist embodies the traits that have helped shape the success of our students,” added Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Their dedication and passion for educating children is unsurpassed and I’m so proud of their accomplishments.” Commissioner Smith and Darmanin will announce the winner of the 2010 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award during a ceremony on Thursday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. The event, hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Deborah Norville, will be held at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk.

During the ceremony, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state will be recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching. Macy’s will present each of the nominees with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school.

The Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including a check totaling $10,000 and an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also 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. To date, Macy’s has contributed over $2 million to teachers throughout the state.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Each finalist is selected on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding 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.

Lawton Chiles High School is located at 7200 Lawton Chiles Lane, Tallahassee, FL 32312.

About Macy’s

Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. For Macy’s media materials, please visit our online pressroom at

View Photo of: Emily Barbacci of Lawton Chiles High School in Leon County accepting the Macy’s check with her students