Educators honored at Golden Apple Celebration

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
MOORE HAVEN – Tonie Marine Garcia was named Glades County District Teacher of the Year at the annual Golden Apple Celebration on Jan. 10.

MOORE HAVEN – West Glades Elementary School teacher Tonie Marine Garcia was named Glades County District Teacher of the Year at the annual Golden Apple Celebration on Jan. 10.

Pauline Lewis of Moore Haven Elementary was named District School-Related Employee of the Year.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
MOORE HAVEN – Pauline Lewis of Moore Haven Elementary is Glades County District School-Related Employee of the Year.

In response to the question, “What inspires you as an educator?” Ms. Garcia responded: “My answer, while being extremely significant, is simple … my students. It is simple because they are the single most important reason that I am eager and excited to be an educator. They are all the motivation and inspiration I need to be able to put my best foot forward every day. While the answer is simple, it’s significant because I do not take my role in their lives lightly. I spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with around 17 students each year, and they are so much more to me than just students. Every morning we refer to each other as our ‘class family’ because that is exactly what we are: a family. I cannot control their time outside of my classroom but I can control the 35 hours they spend with me each week and because of that, I am continuously doing my best to make sure they feel valued, listened to, comfortable to make mistakes, and most importantly, loved. Each morning as my students enter the room, they are promptly greeted, given a hug and reminded that they are loved! As each school year ends many things will fade from their memory, but it is my hope that the influence I have on them while they are my students, might assist them in becoming successful, compassionate and caring individuals … and that is all the inspiration I need to keep pouring my heart into being an educator.”

Ms. Lewis, a paraprofessional at Moore Haven Elementary, has been employed with district for 22 years.

Glades County Teacher of the Year school winners were:
• West Glades School: Tonie Marie Garcia;
• Moore Haven Elementary School: Christie Williams-Croskey;
• Moore Haven Middle-High School: Samantha Rhymes and,
• Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School: Melodie Smith.

School-Related Employee of the Year school winners were:
• District office: Shila Timms;
• West Glades School: Brisa Reyna;
• Moore Haven Elementary School: Pauline Lewis; and,
• Moore Haven Middle-High School: LaFonda Hallback

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