2018 BPS Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

VIERA, Fla. – Six Brevard Public Schools teachers were named as finalists for the 2018 Teacher of the Year distinction.

The finalists are Amanda Howell, Oak Park Elementary; Brandon T. Jenkins, Heritage High; Kristina Latraverse, Columbia Elementary; Connie Royster McLellan, Manatee Elementary; Michael Sperr, Kennedy Middle, and Amy Teed, Jackson Middle.

The finalists were selected out of 90 candidates by a panel of judges comprising principals and teachers from all over the county. The candidates were measured against a rigorous set of criteria that includes teaching philosophy and practice, leadership, professional development and parental engagement in the learning process.

The 2018 BPS Teacher of the Year will be chosen by a committee of education and civic leaders and will be announced at the Applauding Brevard’s Champions (ABC) Awards Gala on Jan. 24, hosted by the Brevard Schools Foundation. Community Credit Union is the premier sponsor of the event, which will be held at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.

Additional information on the six finalists follows. 

Amanda Howell, Oak Park Elementary

Gifted Student Program teacher Amanda Howell is in her 12th year with BPS and her second year at Oak Park Elementary. The Mims’ school is her home base and where she works with GSP students, but she also travels to other district schools to support their gifted and ESE programs. In addition, Howell serves as a hospital-homebound teacher and Odyssey of the Mind board member, tutors students-in-transition and is the assistant coach for Space Coast Jr./Sr. High’s JV softball team.

Brandon T. Jenkins, Heritage High

Director of Bands Brandon T. Jenkins has been at Heritage High in Palm Bay during his five years with BPS. Since Jenkins assumed leadership of the band program, it has more than quadrupled in size with approximately 130 current members and seen an increase in assessment scores from poor and fair to superior. He has created multiple instrumental ensembles at the school and uses technology daily to aid in teaching and enhancing the classroom experience.

Kristina Latraverse, Columbia Elementary

 Kristina Latraverse, an art teacher at Columbia Elementary in Palm Bay, has worked for the district and the school for three years. To improve the first impression of the school, Latraverse and her students created 523 ceramic flowers and installed them along the front walkway. She is also dedicated to creating connections between the school faculty and families, and uses social media and a blog to involve families in their child’s creative projects, and to connect with renowned artists and authors.

Connie Royster McLellan, Manatee Elementary  

Connie Royster McLellan’s has spent 15 of her 21 years with BPS at Manatee Elementary in Viera. The Kindergarten teacher is passionate about recognizing and meeting the individual needs of students and providing them with opportunities to succeed. McLellan also is the coordinator for the school’s photography club, leads charity projects and serves on many district committees.

Michael Sperr, John F. Kennedy Middle

 Michael Sperr has been a music educator at Kennedy Middle in Rockledge for seven years and a BPS teacher for 10. He has led his school’s ensembles to earn multiple superior assessment ratings and increased the amount of students participating in Brevard All-County Band from three to 18. Sperr has served on several district curriculum-writing teams as well as leadership teams that foster excellence in new teachers.

Amy Teed, Andrew Jackson Middle  

Amy Teed is currently in her 11th year with the district and sixth year at Jackson Middle in Titusville where she teaches three math courses. Teed has achieved significant learning gains with her students whose abilities range from struggling to gifted. She also is part of the district’s middle school math curriculum team and leads a group designed to reward students for meeting academic goals.

2018 BPS Employee of the Year Finalists Announced

VIERA, Fla. – Brevard Public Schools’ six finalists for the school-related employee of the year award were recently named.

The finalists are Wendy Albert, Eau Gallie High; Pete Baxley, Meadowlane Primary; Carmen Goslant, Head Start Department; Dorothy Hixson, Tropical Elementary; Dinah Kramer, Human Resources, and Laura Richardson, West Shore Jr./Sr. High.

These individuals were selected from 92 nominees submitted by individual schools and departments in recognition of their exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The 2018 BPS school-related employee of the year will be chosen by a committee of education and community leaders and will be announced at the Applauding Brevard’s Champions (ABC) Awards Gala on Jan. 24, hosted by the Brevard Schools Foundation. Community Credit Union is the premier sponsor of the event, which will be held at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.

Additional information on the six finalists follows.

Wendy Albert, Eau Gallie High

 Wendy Albert, the technology associate at Eau Gallie High, has been employed by the district for 16 years and at the school for five. She is responsible for providing technical support to more than 1,200 computers and 1,700 users. This includes helping teachers implement technology in order to differentiate instruction, assisting with state testing needs and providing technical maintenance. Albert also serves on the principal’s leadership team, collaborates with other technology specialists and mentors new employees.

Pete Baxley, Meadowlane Primary  

Pete Baxley has worked at BPS and Meadowlane Primary for nearly four years as a technology associate. He maintains the West Melbourne school’s computers and network, supported a major re-cabling project and ensures hardware and software are equipped for statewide testing. Baxley also guides students and faculty through technological challenges to help build their skills and confidence.

Carmen Goslant, Head Start Department   

Carmen Goslant is a family advocate who has been a district and Head Start Department employee for four years. In her role, she supports families in crisis, coordinates parent-education meetings and works with community partners to provide resources to families. Goslant also provides translation assistance to families who do not speak English

Dorothy Hixson, Tropical Elementary 

For 29 of her 31 years with BPS, Dorothy Hixson has been at Tropical Elementary in Merritt Island where she serves as a technology associate. She maintains and updates all the technology at the school including 750 computers. Hixson also provides school administration with recommendations on technology trends and also collaborates with them to communicate with families and support blended learning opportunities and student achievement.

Dinah Kramer, Human Resources 

Senior Human Resources partner Dinah Kramer has worked for the district for 29 years and in human resources for 15 years. She manages instructional certification to ensure employees are highly qualified for teaching positions and monitors state teacher requirements and laws. She also advises school administrators on personnel matters and recruiting efforts.

Laura Richardson, West Shore Jr./Sr. High  

Laura Richardson has been an e-learning assistant at West Shore Jr./Sr. High in Melbourne for nearly three years and a district employee for 13 years. She helps students navigate the lab which often provides an introduction to online learning, a route to graduation or opportunities unavailable in the traditional classroom. She also is responsible for monitoring student progress in the lab, serving as a liaison between students and virtual instructors and maintaining computers