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Press Release

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Macy’s Makes Surprise, Magical Announcement for Teacher of the Year Finalist!

~ One of five finalists named to compete for distinguished 2012 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award ~

MIAMI, FL – May 17, 2011 – Teachers inspire students to reach for the stars every day. Now it is time for an extraordinary teacher to receive a magical, unforgettable and well-deserved honor for her commitment to her students. Lora McCalister-Cruel of A. Crawford Mosley High School in Bay County has been chosen as one of five finalists to compete for the 2012 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award.

At 1:00 p.m., Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality, Kathy Hebda, along with Georgi Morales, Media Relations Manager of Macy’s, were on hand to make the big surprise announcement. The school held an Ice Cream Social to celebrate the positive results the students and teachers achieved this year for the 10th Grade FCAT Writes test. During the event, Principal Sandra Harrison called on Lora McCalister-Cruel, the twelfth grade Literacy Coach, and told her that she had been chosen as one of five finalists for the prestigious honor. The celebration included the dolphin mascot and the drum line from the school’s marching band.

Upon receiving the good news, McCalister -Cruel was presented with a $5,000 check made possible by the Macy’s Foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card. A $1,000 check, also funded by the Macy’s Foundation, was presented to the finalist’s school. This year, the Macy’s Foundation will contribute over $100,000 in cash to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, as it has done since 1988.

“Teachers are extremely influential in the life of a child. We are honored and excited to support Florida's educators again this year. Their dedication and passion for educating children is unsurpassed,” stated Karin Darmanin, Macy’s Senior Vice President and Regional Director of Stores. “Macy’s wants to honor Ms. McCalister-Cruel for making her classroom a magical place for her students and inspiring them to reach their full potential!””

“The finalists for the Teacher of the Year award have demonstrated the extraordinary talent, knowledge and skill to ensure student success,” said Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “We too often underestimate the academic potential of our students and the efficacy of our teachers. I’m honored to recognize each of these outstanding individuals for their commitment to the success of all children and their selfless dedication to teaching.”

The winner of the 2012 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced during a ceremony on Thursday, July 7 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.

For the 23rd year, Macy’s will sponsor and produce the awards ceremony. During the event, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state will be recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching. Each of the nominees will be presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school, funded by the Macy’s Foundation.

In addition to the $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, the Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including 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 and the Macy’s Foundation have 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.

Editor’s Note:
Footage and soundbites from the surprise announcement can be downloaded from:
Still photos from the announcement can be downloaded from:

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. Macy’s stores and offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers.

For Macy’s media materials, images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at