TALLAHASSEE, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ — During today’s Cabinet meeting, Fla. Governor Rick Scott recognized nine outstanding educators for their contributions to education with the Governor’s Shine Awards. Governor Rick Scott said, “This week, as a part of our 2015-2016 ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget, we announced a record level proposal of K-12 funding for Florida’s public schools.”

Fla. Governor Rick ScottHe continued, “The budget highlighted an investment of $7,176 per pupil, which is the highest ever in state history. This record funding, along with the exemplary efforts of our teachers, will equip our students with the foundation for success in college or careers. Our teachers do an outstanding job preparing our students for future careers.”

In conjunction with 2015 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!, which is being recognized January 26 – 30, Governor Scott honored teachers who specialize in the fields of reading and English language arts. Each year, Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! brings together education leaders and volunteers to promote the importance of literacy. This year’s theme, “Reading Accelerates Success,” connects the value of literacy with careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

◾Donna Born, Okaloosa County, Meigs Middle School – In Donna Born’s reading classroom at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar, FL, student-led interactive activities are all around. After 32 years of teaching in the Okaloosa County School District, the success of Born’s readers remains her top priority. Her creative approach to teaching readers has garnered her the title of Florida’s Middle School Reading Teacher of the Year. Believing each student has the potential to achieve success, Born’s hope is that her students gain confidence and realize the unlimited possibilities that are achievable.

◾Paul Caswell, Orange County, Windy Ridge K-8 School – Paul Caswell, in his 24th year of teaching, is a first grade teacher at Windy Ridge K-8 School in Orlando. Caswell holds an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement. In addition to classroom duties, he has served as a technology coordinator, media specialist and an instructional support teacher working with testing, and exceptional student education services compliance. A recipient of the 2013 Florida Elementary Reading Teacher of the Year award, Caswell has taught colleagues various reading strategies including reading analysis and Literacy SMART Centers.

◾John Fuller, Alachua County, MYcroSchool – John began as a fifth grade teacher and has since transitioned to teaching at MYcroSchool, a charter high school in Gainesville. Over the last four years, Fuller has been named Employee of the Year twice and has helped update the English curriculum. Fuller has also worked with the Florida Department of Education in training teachers on how to implement the new Florida Standards during the Summer Institutes of 2013 at various sites around the state.

• Pam Garrett, Leon County, Leon High School – With more than three decades of teaching experience in Florida under her belt, Pam Garrett says she knew she wanted to be a teacher since the second grade. Her love for reading and writing has inspired her students to think outside the box and find their own passions. In her classroom, she and her students strive to dig into a literary work to find the author’s true meaning and to examine his or her writing techniques. Garrett, who has taught English and journalism, is a National Board Certified teacher and a former Teacher of the Year.

• Paul Holimon, Collier County, Oakridge Middle School – Paul Holimon has taught high school English, writing, creative writing, Latin, intensive reading, AP language & composition and advanced communications methodology for a decade. After four years supporting teachers and shaping policy as a district coordinator of secondary literacy and president of the Council of Language Arts Supervisors, he has returned to the classroom at Oak Ridge Middle School, where he is passionately encouraging his students to use curiosity as a catalyst to explore the world from new perspectives.

• Erica McDowell, Hernando County, District Reading Coach– Erica McDowell serves as literacy coach for the Hernando County School District and has been impacting student learning for more than 18 years in the district. McDowell has always had a passion for reading and works to help all students gain a love of reading and to be life-long learners. McDowell’s goal as a literacy coach is to maximize student learning and help students reach their full academic potential. McDowell believes that education goes beyond the school walls and that education is most enhanced when businesses, families and community members participate in the process.

• Anjanette McGregor, Lake County, Tavares High School – Anjanette McGregor entered the teaching profession 11 years ago. She began her teaching career in Monroe County and then relocated to Lake County where she teaches high school intensive reading and English language arts. She works diligently to keep all teachers abreast on the new standards, including innovative ways to implement those standards to increase student engagement and success. McGregor is currently working on a community education project that will focus on the intricacies of education policy with the goal of increasing parental and community involvement.

• Sandra Misciasci, Hillsborough County, Newsome High School – An 11-year veteran of Hillsborough County Schools, Sandra Misciasci teaches Intensive Reading at Newsome High School in Lithia, FL. Misciasci is a passionate teacher who works tirelessly to reach all of her students. Misciasci was recognized as 2013-2014 State of Florida Reading Teacher of the Year, and has served as district trainer for Hillsborough County.

• Natasha Murphy, Marion County, West Port High– Natasha Murphy has been a Marion County teacher for 12 years. She is currently teaching 10th grade remedial reading at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla. Her greatest joy as a teacher is turning reluctant readers into passionate learners. She seeks to unlock her students’ ultimate literacy potential. She gets her students excited about reading and is committed to turning hesitant readers into lovers of literacy.