588229b01297f-image-1DOWLING PARK — The Suwannee Education Foundation presented the 2016-17 Suwannee County Teacher of the Year and School Related Employee of the Year banquet Tuesday.

Eight educators and 12 school district employees were honored for excellence in their performance, passion and talent for serving students. Each of Suwannee County School District’s schools and departments selected a TOY and SREOY representative. Each finalist participated in an interview and application process to be selected as the 2016-17 Suwannee County TOY or SREOY. The announcements of TOY and SREOY winners were the highlight of the banquet.

Andrea Lanier, a paraprofessional from Branford High School, was chosen as the Suwannee County SREOY. Her peers describe her as someone who always has a positive attitude, a team player who is always willing to help others, and a “service above self” type of person. Outside of the classroom, Andrea volunteers many hours with the Branford FFA and Take Stock in Children Programs.

Melva Batts, an eighth-grade language arts teacher from Suwannee Middle School, was chosen as the Suwannee County TOY. Melva is passionate about preventing bullying amongst students, providing equal opportunities for all students to succeed regardless of socio-economic demographics, and advocating for “education beyond the classroom,” in which entire communities commit to becoming stakeholders in the growth and success of their youth. Melva will go on to represent Suwannee County in the 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year Program.

The recognized TOY representatives from each school were Vickie Pagliai (SPS), Lindy Meeks (SES), Cathy Nicely (SIS), Kary Black (SHS), Margaret Williams (BES), Cara Soride (BHS), Janie Maxwell (RTC) and Batts.

The recognized SREOY representatives from each school and department were Linda Cheshire (SPS), Joann Ledew (SES), Amy Steed (SIS), Jackie Wiggins (SMS), Heather Crotty (SHS), John Sinclair (RTC), Janice Lee (BES), Mary Ann Chaney (SCSB Office), Julian Durham (Facilities), Brian Gollery (IT), Scott Melanson (Transportation) and Lanier.

The Suwannee Education Foundation extends appreciation to the sponsors who made the 2017 Teacher of the Year Program possible: First Federal, Pilgrim’s Pride, Wes Haney Chevrolet, Poole Realty, Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative, Klausner Lumber One, Suzie’s Flowers and Gifts, Dr. Herbert C. Mantooth, Windstream Communications, Sara Jane Moore, Branford Rotary Club, and Advent Christian Village.

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