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.