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Press Release

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Selects Top School-Related Employee
~ Broward County records manager honored for going above and beyond to help students ~

Tampa – The State Board of Education and Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith today announced Jannette Thompson-Irwin as the 2009 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year. Ms. Thompson-Irwin earned the award for her exceptional work at Pompano Beach Middle School in Broward County, where she serves not only as the Confidential Office Manger, but assists as a school nurse, counselor, and community liaison and security specialist.

“Ms. Thompson-Irwin’s dedication to her students and colleagues is apparent from the many hats she wears and on behalf of the State Board, I’m honored to recognize her,” said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. “While providing essential services to students, she instills in them a can-do spirit that will help each of them achieve their dreams.”

The announcement was made during the State Board of Education meeting in Tampa. The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year 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.

“Jannette’s warmth and compassion shines through in every aspect of her life, and I’m thrilled to have her work ethic serve as an example for school employees statewide,” said Commissioner Smith. “Each of this year’s nominees has contributed tremendously to their schools and their efforts will positively impact the lives of the students they serve for many years to come.”

The Florida 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. Award selection is based on an application showing the nominees’ 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. Finalists were selected from a total of 63 nominees.

The four finalists also recognized were:

  • Jennifer Kyle, a School Social Worker at Murdock Middle School and Meadow Park Elementary School, Charlotte County.
  • Wilma Isabel Castaneda, a Media Center Assistant at Abess Park Elementary School, Duval County.
  • Susan Brenton, a Food and Nutrition Manager at Treasure Coast Elementary School, Indian River County.
  • April Dingman, a Title One Paraprofessional at Callahan Elementary School, Nassau County.

For more information about the Florida School-Related Employee of the Year award, please visit