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Gilchrist County Educator Named 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist


May 19, 2022

FDOE Press Office
850-245-0413
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Gilchrist County Educator Named 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist

~ Bell Elementary School’s Trinity Brooke Whittington is one of five finalists ~

Tallahassee, Fla., May 19, 2022 – Today, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) named Trinity Brooke Whittington, a fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher at Bell Elementary School in Gilchrist County, as a finalist for the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year award. The announcement came during a surprise visit to Bell Elementary School, with Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns imparting the honor. The Florida Teacher of the Year program recognizes excellence in teaching and celebrates outstanding professional educators in schools across the state. The 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year winner will be announced on July 14 in Orlando.

“Great teachers not only impact their students, but also their schools and their communities,” said Incoming Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “My congratulations to Trinity Brooke Whittington for your selection as one of five finalists for the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year award.”

“We are very proud of Trinity Brooke Whittington. She’s an outstanding teacher and excellent role model for our entire community,” said Dr. Jim Surrency Gilchrist County Superintendent.

“Mrs. Whittington’s classroom is a place of magic, where children are hooked from the moment they enter until the moment they leave. The relationships she develops with students, parents and colleagues are true and binding,” said Suzanne Mathe, principal of Bell Elementary School.

Trinity Brooke Whittington has lived in the Gilchrist community her entire life. She has served as a fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher for the past five years and focuses on creating engaging lessons that affect her students in positive ways. Mrs. Whittington also teaches about service by leading school-wide efforts to provide blankets to the local nursing home, and by starting a library swap program to promote literacy. Her personal academic journey includes earning a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Five finalists were chosen for 2023 Teacher of the Year from nearly 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 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, State Farm Insurance, Florida State University College of Education, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, Florida Education Association, Herff Jones, Publix Super Market Charities, PNC Bank and Florida Power & Light Company.

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

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