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Manatee County Educator Named 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist

May 18, 2022

FDOE Press Office

Manatee County Educator Named 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist

~ Samoset Elementary School’s Deelah Jackson is one of five finalists vying for the top award ~

Tallahassee, Fla., May 18, 2022 – Today, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) named Deelah Jackson, a fourth-grade teacher at Samoset Elementary School in Manatee County, as a finalist for the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year award. The announcement came during a surprise visit to Samoset 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.

“Deelah Jackson is a tremendous example of service and commitment. She’s an exemplary educator,” said Incoming Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Congratulations for your selection as a 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year finalist.”

“Math is Deelah Jackson’s strong suit, but her love, dedication and resilience add up when it comes to achieving goals,” said Manatee County Superintendent Cynthia Saunders.

“Deelah chooses to be in the classroom. It is her calling, and it is where she gets her energy. She is at school many days from sun-up to sun-down working with and for students,” said Maribeth Mason, principal of Samoset Elementary School.

Deelah Jackson is considered an integral part of the Samoset Elementary School community, and she is especially passionate about teaching math. She’s known for engaging her students with high-quality lesson plans, as well as singing and movement to drive the lessons home. Mrs. Jackson is a member of the Samoset school advisory council, and the school’s emergency response team. She was also a police officer prior to embarking on her teaching journey and holds a degree in elementary education from Ball State University.

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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