Skip to Content
Latest News

Department of Education Announces the 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalists

May 12, 2023

FDOE Press Office

Department of Education Announces the 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalists

Tallahassee, Fla., May 12, 2023 – This week, the Florida Department of Education announced the five 2024 Teacher of the Year state finalists. The five state finalists were chosen from 74 district teachers of the year. The Florida Teacher of the Year program recognizes excellence in teaching and celebrates outstanding professional educators in schools across the state. The 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year winner will be announced on July 20, 2023, in Orlando.

“My congratulations to these educators for their selection as the five finalists for the 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year award,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “These educators have made a significant impact on their students, schools and communities.”

Below is information about each of the five finalists.

Adrianna Swearingen, Bay County

Adrianna Swearingen, a media specialist at Northside Elementary School in Bay County, has an inspiring and captivating teaching style. While serving as an educator for the past seven years, Swearingen has focused on developing her students into the next generation of leaders. She facilitates student-run morning broadcasts and pioneers the Accelerated Reader Program, cultivating an environment of confidence in her students. When not in the classroom, she volunteers her time to the Northside Elementary Technology Club, Lego Club and Yearbook Committee. Transitioning from a classroom teacher to a media specialist in 2021, Swearingen was a key factor in Northside Elementary’s overall school grade increasing by 12 percentage points, English Language Arts (ELA) learning gains rising 21 percentage points, and learning gains for the lowest quartile of students in ELA growing a whopping 41 percentage points. Swearingen holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Florida State University.

Kimberly Crowder, Hamilton County

Kimberly Crowder is a reading intervention teacher at Hamilton County Elementary School in Hamilton County. Her classroom motto, “be a problem solver,” has established Crowder as a mentor for her students and fellow teachers. During her 13-year career, Crowder has served in many different roles, including teacher, teacher leader, reading coach and curriculum coordinator. As the reading interventionist, Crowder provides instructional support for students with unique abilities, manages curriculum materials, assists colleagues with lesson plans and reviews complex individualized education program reports. She is described as a compassionate leader who is dedicated to her craft and upholds the highest standards for the profession. Crowder holds a Bachelor of Social Work with a Minor in Child Development from Florida State University.

Sarah Idsardi, Hardee County

Sarah Idsardi, a fourth-grade teacher at North Wauchula Elementary School in Hardee County, is known for her innovative approach in the classroom. She integrates creative learning activities to engage her students and hosts virtual interactive cultural experiences with students from across the world. In addition, Idsardi serves as grade chair for the fourth-grade team. When she is not in her classroom, she can be found volunteering for North Wauchula’s after-school activities, including planning Accelerated Reader Parties, managing the Cool Cat TV morning show and coaching the Battle of the Books team. Idsardi truly has a servant’s heart and exemplifies this through her day-to-day life, from being a licensed foster parent to organizing tutoring services for children in vulnerable neighborhoods. Idsardi holds a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Florida.

Jennie Goffe, Hendry County

Jennie Goffe has been an agricultural teacher at Clewiston High School in Hendry County for the past ten years. Goffe champions Career and Technical Education, which provides students industry skills while preparing them for the workforce. Her students earn an average of 150 workforce certificates annually. Through her agricultural program, Goffe and her students manage a 480-acre farm, which includes taking care of over 60 animals, maintaining a greenhouse, harvesting crops, caring for pastures and growing sugarcane. After Hurricane Ian, Goffe initiated a joint effort for Clewiston High School students and community members of Hendry County to assist those in need in Fort Myers Beach. The effort included cleaning up hard hit areas following the devastation caused by the natural disaster. Goffe holds a Master and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education and Communications from the University of Florida.

Kayla Jackson, Highlands County

Kayla Jackson began her teaching career at Memorial Elementary School in Highlands County when it first opened its doors in 2008. Jackson currently serves as a fifth-grade math and science teacher and has been recognized as a high impact teacher multiple years in a row, indicating her students have achieved significant learning gains on state assessments. Jackson is a leader at her school and in the district. She is a mentor to new teachers, supports the student of the month program, leads professional learning for her colleagues and serves on the school’s curriculum leadership team. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of South Florida.

This year’s five 2024 Teacher of the Year state finalists were chosen from more than 185,000 public school teachers. After each school district selects its teacher of the year, a committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community reviews each district application 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 will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education.

In partnership with the Florida Education Foundation, the Florida Teacher of the Year program is made possible by these generous sponsors: Florida Prepaid College Savings Plans, Helios Education Foundation, Florida State University College of Education, and Herff Jones.

For more information about the Florida Teacher of the Year program, please visit Florida Teachers Lead.

Read More News...