Catherine Beaudoin, Pryor Middle School, Named Teacher of the Year

Catherine Beaudoin, Pryor Middle School, was named the Okaloosa County School District’s Teacher of the Year Thursday, February 19th at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.  Along with all of the School Teacher of the Year winners, Judith Rodriguez, Laurel Hill School, and Jackie Sheffield, Fort Walton Beach High School, were recognized as one of the top three finalists for this prestigious award.

Updated: To watch a YouTube video of this evening's events, please click here(Video compliments of Crestview Community Television.)

Catherine Beaudoin, Pryor Middle School – 2015-16 Teacher of the Year

Catherine Beaudoin has been teaching Language Arts and coaching high school and middle school soccer for three years.  She recently married her college sweetheart, Steven, this past July.  Catherine’s family and friends know her as the ultimate bookworm.  Her favorite part of teaching Language Arts is introducing her students to different types of literature.  Catherine’s grandmother, who would never buy her toys, only books, has influenced Catherine’s love for reading and writing.  It is that love of literature that she hopes to pass along to her students every day in the classroom.

Judith Rodriguez, Laurel Hill School – Teacher of the Year Runner-Up

Judith Rodriguez received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from California State University, Fullerton in 2004 and has since taught secondary math in California, elementary math in Texas, and currently teaches secondary math at Shoal River Middle School.  Judith is married to Tech Sergeant Juan Rodriguez, an active member of the USAF.  Together they have two wonderful children, Julisa age 7 and Julian age 3.  Judith’s biggest passion is teaching mathematics.  She feels fulfilled when her students begin to grasp difficult concepts and loves hearing them speak about how interesting mathematics is.  One of her favorite students quotes is “I enjoy math now, because you made it fun.”

Jackie Sheffield, Fort Walton Beach High School – Teacher of the Year Runner-Up

Jackie Sheffield is a Fort Walton Beach High School alumni and teacher.  Jackie’s 18-year teaching career started after graduating with her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Florida.  She began her teaching career at Davidson Middle School and transferred to Fort Walton Beach High School after teaching there for four years.  Jackie is married to Tracey Sheffield and they have two sons, Jack, a freshman at FWBHS, and Sam, a 6th grader at Bruner Middle School.  When she is not cheering her boys on at sporting events, she enjoys boating with her family, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, and shopping with her friends.

Teacher of the Year Selection Process

The selection of the Teacher of the Year actually began in the fall of 2014 when each school announced its honoree.  In December, each school’s Teacher of the year submitted a portfolio that included a detailed resume, responses to questions about their teaching philosophy and practice, and comments about the teaching profession.  Finalists were announced by the selection committee in January 2015, and committee members visited their classroom to observe them in action before selecting the winner that was announced at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.

Okaloosa County’s Teacher of the Year will compete with teachers from all public school districts and other institutions in Florida for the state’s top honor.  As the district winner, Catherine Beaudoin will participate in the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Roundtable and the Macy’s Gala Awards Ceremony in July when the state winner will be announced.

Tavia Marez, Fort Walton Beach High School, 2008 Teacher of the Year, served as the Teacher of the Year Chair.  This year’s selection committee included: Cathy Thigpen, Okaloosa County School Board Member; Karen Osborn, Kenwood Elementary School; Darla Brinkerhoff, Ruckel Middle School; Alyson Lofe – Bluewater Elementary School; and 2014-15 Teacher of the Year, Victoria Hurley, Baker School.

Special thanks to the sponsors for making the banquet possible: L3 Communications, Round the Bay Relay – NWFTC, Okaloosa County Education Association, Beavers, Inc. dba Arby’s, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Inc., and Jetty East Condominium Association.

Special thanks also to Karen Ott, Missie Sykes, and Brenda Zins, Banquet Committee; Eric Mitchell and Brandon McSween, Slideshow Presentation; and Pat Mixon, Program Design.

To see a complete photo gallery of the Teacher of the Year Banquet, please visit the OCSD Facebook page.

Congratulations to all of the School Teachers of the Year:

Susan Geering – Antioch ES

Anthony Chiarito – Baker School

Bretta Berger – Ballet Academy

Anne Samac – Bluewater ES

Angelique Cox – Bob Sikes ES

Michelle Robinson-Cook – Bruner MS

Kim McCarthy – Choctawhatchee HS

Patricia McCollough – CHOICE HS/Technical Center

Cari Ruschmeier – Crestview HS

Ashley Lee – Davidson MS


Gina Zombek Dever – Destin ES

Lori Bynum – Destin MS

Michelle McKain – Edge ES

Helen Hayles – Edwins ES

Ashley Seegars – Eglin ES

Melissa Sterman – Elliott Point ES

Rachel Appleton – Florosa ES

Kim Pope McDonald – Kenwood ES

Mary Katherine Carnahan – Lewis School

Elizabeth Josker – Longwood ES

Amy Ketler – Mary Esther ES

John Flasco – Meigs MS

Rebekah Ellis – Niceville HS

Erin Adams – Northwood ES

Amy Pendleton – Plew ES

Louann Bruneau – Richbourg School

Sheila Prater – Riverside ES

Jill Dickey - Ruckel MS

Jessica Benish Brown – Shalimar ES

Kim Whaley – Shoal River MS

Robin Chapman – Silver Sands School

Rebecca Kannapel – Southside Center

Robert Jernigan – STEMM Academy

Kim Medlock – Walker ES

Deborah Cross – Wright ES