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Duval Educator Named 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist

May 4, 2021

FDOE Press Office

Duval Educator Named 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist
~ Mandarin High School’s James Schmitt one of five to vie for top award ~

Tallahassee, Fla., May 4, 2021 – Today, during a surprise visit to Mandarin High School, the Florida Department of Education announced that history teacher James Schmitt is a 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year state finalist. On hand to make the announcement were K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva and Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns. The 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year will be named on July 22 in Orlando.

James Schmitt is passionate about creating self-learners in his classroom. He created Teachers Teach Teachers, a learning community for educators across the district. The community showcases instructional practices and coaches teachers as they implement new strategies. Prior to Mr. Schmitt joining the education profession, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. He has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

“My congratulations to James Schmitt as one of five 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year state finalists,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran.  “James’ commitment to education doesn’t stop at the classroom; he also effortlessly works with his fellow educators across the district to provide a professional learning community. His work to continually push his students to become self-learners shows a real dedication to education and we are proud to have Mr. Schmitt in our state’s education system.”

Superintendent Diana Greene of Duval County Public Schools stated, “What is most impactful about Mr. Schmitt’s classroom is the use of movement, engagement strategies and thought-provoking discussion to get all students simultaneously out of their seats and learning.”

Sara Bravo, Principal of Mandarin High School, said, “Mr. Schmitt’s classroom is a space of true learning and engagement; music plays, debates ensue, student voice is encouraged, and history is not only taught, but experienced.”

This year’s five 2022 Teacher of the Year state finalists were chosen from more than 185,000 public school teachers throughout the state. After each school district selects its teacher of the year, a selection 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 also 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, State Farm, Gulf Power Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, Herff Jones and Florida State University College of Education.

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

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