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Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year 2011


Photo of Cheryl Conley Cheryl Conley
Elementary Education/Middle School Science
Osceola Magnet Elementary School
Indian River County

Cheryl has a love for learning that is contagious. “I get excited about learning and that excitement generates a positive energy and an enthusiasm in my students.” Her classroom is a student-centered, activity-filled base of learning and she can often be seen dressing in crazy outfits, rapping lessons or assignments or conducting hands-on science activities. She even rewrites the words to popular songs in order to teach new ideas or concepts. “I’ll try anything to keep the students in my class actively engaged. Taking chances is part of teaching!” Whether she is hobbling around the room dressed as a Florida pirate from long ago or sharing science secrets dressed as Albert Einstein, Cheryl guides her students as they learn, explore and discover.

Cheryl has an enthusiasm for science that she is eager to share with others. “From rock and bone collections to breeding, hatching and raising angelfish, I immerse my students in science and technology. Much like whole language immersion, I believe that scientific “literacy” is fostered from seeing and appreciating the natural world.” Her principal, Susan Roberts, writes, “Mrs. Conley has been instrumental in revitalizing the science program at Osceola Magnet.” A favorite lesson of her students’ involves dissecting turkey necks in order to study how the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems work together. Cheryl has written and designed other science-driven units such as “Reading Rocks” and “Lighthouses of Florida” that she has shared school-wide and even throughout her region. Serving as science coordinator for her school, she formed a popular afterschool science club that has grown to include half of all fourth and fifth grade students in its membership. “Learning is a process, not a product. I want to enable my students to construct their own knowledge, not just memorize it.”

Cheryl feels the perfect formula for reaching students is a blending of creativity, passion and positive energy. “When I get creative and energetic, so do my students.” She maintains high expectations for all students and she provides opportunities for them to include their families and communities in their education. Cheryl strives to find the hidden talents and gifts in each of her students while offering innovative opportunities for them to participate in community service projects and organizations. “It is important to teach students to think with an open mind while encouraging them to look for opportunities to give back to their community. The students are our success stories…they are our legacy.”

Cheryl is available for speaking engagements and for conducting workshops in any of the following areas:

  • Differentiated instruction
  • Creating a brain compatible environment
  • Reading/writing across the curriculum
  • Science notebooks in the elementary classroom
  • Teaching science using classroom demos
  • Assessing student growth using alternative assessments
  • Writing or vocabulary instruction
  • New teacher training
  • Parent involvement in the classroom

To inquire about Cheryl’s availability, please contact Bonita Hampton at .