Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson and School Board Member Cathy Thigpen surprised three deserving teachers on Friday with the announcement they had been named one of the three Teacher of the Year Finalists: Ulaunda Nunn, Bob Sikes Elementary School; Jacque Whittle, Walker Elementary School; and Victoria Hurley, Baker School.

Ulaunda Nunn, Bob Sikes Elementary School

“It gives us great pleasure to learn that Mrs. Nunn has been chosen among our district’s finest educators as one of the top three finalists for Teacher of the Year,” said Bob Sikes Principal, Vicky Hayden.  “She personifies life-long learning for our students and teachers.  She continually adjusts and improves her practice to meet the needs of her students.  Mrs. Nunn exemplifies passionate leadership in her field, selfless dedication to the profession, and makes personal sacrifices to connect with students and families. She is a credit to Okaloosa County and Bob Sikes Elementary.”

“Okaloosa County is a district filled with caring, motivated, and highly qualified teachers.  To be selected as a finalist is a distinguished honor for an educator,” said Nunn.

“I think Mrs. Nun should win teacher of the year because she has been my role model – I want to be a teacher like her,” said Angelina Maldonadl.  “She makes reading and stuff fun for us.”

Caden Martin said “Mrs. Nunn should win teacher of the year because she gives us time to do everything and she helps us with reading and makes learning fun.”

“I think Mrs. Nunn should win because she teaches at a level where we can understand it and she goes at a pace to where if one person does not get it she will explain it to that single person or to the whole class,” said Emma Blake.

Jacque Whittle, Walker Elementary School

“Teaching is Jacque’s calling and her gift,” said Walker Principal Jeanine Kirkland.  “She manages to teach an age group of children that are becoming young men and women, yet she does not forget the unique needs they possess.  She shapes her students through enthusiastic, consistent instruction that is motivated by a love and appreciation for children that are coming into their own identity.  Her patient, but firm demeanor encourages responsibility and confidence in the learners in her classroom.  She is the ideal model of a lifelong learner for her students to follow and they willingly do so.  It is no wonder that her students respond so readily to her invitation to learn.  Jacque Whittle has certainly found the place where she can make a difference in the world…one child at a time!  Parents, colleagues, and children alike are just so glad that place is Walker!”

“I am humbled and honored to be considered as a representative for the amazing teachers here in Okaloosa County.  As educators, we have the unique opportunity to influence the lives of each child that crosses our paths throughout the years,” said Whittle.   “I can honestly say that every day I spend with my kids is a blessing.   Our district is overflowing with exceptional educators; therefore I am honored to have been selected as a finalist.” 

Logan Martin thinks Ms. Whittle should win Teacher of the Year because, “She is a real good teacher and she teaches us a lot.”

“I think Ms. Whittle should win because she is the best teacher I have ever had,” said Destiny Currie.  “She is really good at Math and she is really nice and lets us working in partners.”

“She has really great strategies,” said Brynlee Tew.  “She helps us learn. She has a way of teaching so that you can understand it.”

Victoria Hurley, Baker School

“Victoria Hurley has fully earned her time in the spotlight as a top educator in Okaloosa County,” said Principal Tom Shipp.  “Not only does she provide exemplary instruction in the classroom to some of our students who are highest at risk, but she has also taken a highly effective lead role in our site-based teacher training.  She is admired by students and educators alike.”

“I am inspired daily by my colleagues and I am humbled to be recognized among some of the best of the best,” said Hurley.  “I already feel like a winner because each day I get to do something I love.” 

Chris Stanley, an eighth grader, thinks that Ms. Hurley should win because, “she is a really good teacher.  She is laid back and not strict like all of the other teachers. 

“She is very hands on with everything and she treats everybody with respect,” said Eron Holloway.

“She gets her point across, is respectful, and teaches well,” said William Lushitobell.

“Congratulations to all the TOY nominees from our schools,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.  “Best of luck to our three finalists!”

Finalist bios will be added to this article as soon as they are available.  Please check back to learn more about the Teacher of the Year Finalists.

Congratulations to all of the Individual School Teachers of the Year:

SCHOOL NAME

First

Last

ANTIOCH

Elizabeth

Richards

BAKER

Victoria

Hurley

BALLET ACADEMY

Mistie

Rich

BLUEWATER

Michelle

Strickland

BOB SIKES

Ulaunda

Nunn

BRUNER

Nancy

Allen

CHOCTAW

Kim

Cassulo

CHOICE

Rhonda

Larson

CRESTVIEW

Janice

Waitman

DAVIDSON

Amy

Kelsey

DESTIN ELEM

Hillary

Ray

DESTIN MIDDLE

Jill

McNamara

EDGE

Angelle

Rosenbleeth

EDWINS

Shari

Harkins

EGLIN

Carol

Kotulan

ELLIOTT POINT

Patti

Crosslin

FLOROSA

Beth

Harr

FWBHS

James

Ryan

KENWOOD

Beth

Baker

LAUREL HILL

Jennifer

Franklin

LEWIS

Eva

Ratley

LONGWOOD

Kim

Thompson

MARY ESTHER

Calvin

Jasper

MEIGS

Steve

McCarthy

NICEVILLE

Amy

Meyer

NORTHWOOD

Steven

DelPozo

PLEW

Sonja

Leighton

PRYOR

Tina

Arceneaux

RICHBOURG

Karen

Lusk

RIVERSIDE

Amber

Johns

RUCKEL

Bill

Breitenbeck

SHALIMAR

Amanda

Piburn

SHOAL RIVER

Felton

Barnes

SILVER  SANDS

Allison

Abernathy

SOUTHSIDE

Shannon

Cratch

STEMM

Michele

Allard

WALKER

Jacque

Whittle

WRIGHT

Lisa

Owenby