Volusia FUTURES Foundation Announces 2018 First Year Teacher Awards

By on April 12, 2018 in WNDB News

Daytona Beach, FL – The Volusia County School District and the FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools have recently announced the recipients of its 2018 First Year Teacher Award.

On April 9, the recipients were recognized during a reception at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach. The event was co-sponsored by FUTURES and Volusia United Educators (VUE) and refreshments were made and served by the Mainland High Culinary Academy. FUTURES is a non-profit organization that directly supports Volusia County Schools. To learn more about FUTURES, visit www.FUTURESVolusia.org or contact Executive Director Cynthia Ramirez at 386-255-6475, ext. 50730, or via email at caperric@volusia.k12.fl.us.

During the reception, Christy Mahaney, a Specialist with Volusia County Schools Professional Learning & School Improvement, explained each teacher’s passion for teaching as they were honored on stage. 2019 Volusia County Teacher of the Year Nicole Grebosz (of  Citrus Grove Elementary School) gave a motivational speech during the event. Nicklaus Conrad, the 2017 Elementary First Year Teacher Award recipient, and Shannon Salisbury, the 2017 Secondary First Year Teacher Award recipient, addressed the nominees and presented the awards.

The Elementary level First Year Teacher Award was awarded to Melissa Diamond, a 5th-grade teacher at Forest Lake Elementary in Deltona. The Secondary level First Year Teacher Award was awarded to Julian A. Gutierrez, an 11th and 12th-grade teacher from Mainland High School. Both teachers were selected from 47 nominees who were chosen to represent their schools. To qualify for the honor, a teacher must have earned a Baccalaureate degree, began teaching full-time on or after Jan. 1, 2017, exceeded standards set by the Volusia County School District, and been nominated by their school’s principal.

“Ms. Diamond has established a caring community of learners in her classroom, characterized by mutual respect and rapport,” said Forest Lake Elementary Principal Dr. Paul Nehri. “Having built this foundation, she is able to expect great things from her students. She refuses to let them settle for anything less that their best and makes them believe they can accomplish more than they ever thought they could. She models her own learning with frequent think-alouds, unpacks assignments with students to co-create success criteria, uses ‘Word Jam’ in the GoNoodle program so her students can challenge themselves with above grade-level vocabulary, and always celebrates success.”

“Julian Gutierrez is a bright, unique and passionate young educator with a desire to make a difference in the lives of our students,” said Mainland High School Principal Dr. Cheryl Salerno. “He has high expectations for all of his students and is able to blend modern technology with good old-fashioned people skills to create an effective and efficient culture for learning. He personifies the adage: students don’t care what you know until they know you care. He has students learning because he has connected with them in a way that is meaningful. He is also relatable, and I believe many of our young men and women see a glimpse of what they might become when they learn with him.”

The 2018 Elementary First Year Teacher nominees:

  • Blue Lake Elementary – Carolina Morales
  • Champion Elementary – Robin Knight
  • Chisolm Elementary – Brianna Townsel
  • Citrus Grove Elementary – Kaitlyn Scully
  • Cypress Creek Elementary – Amanda Serrano
  • Deltona Lakes Elementary – Lauren Warriner
  • Discovery Elementary – Crystal Mills
  • Edgewater Public – Ashlea Joiner
  • Enterprise Elementary – Megan Stebbins
  • Forest Lake Elementary – Melissa Diamond
  • George Marks Elementary – Tara Thomas
  • Holly Hill Elementary – Emily Mackenzie
  • Horizon Elementary – Sarah Smith
  • Manatee Cove Elementary – Kaylee Joan Lyons
  • McGinnis Elementary – Jessica Osterhout
  • Orange City Elementary – Brooke Hopkins
  • Osceola Elementary – Shana Seyk
  • Pathways Elementary – David Foresman
  • Pine Trail Elementary – Kyle Mangan
  • Pride Elementary – Kelsi Quicksall
  • Read-Pattillo Elementary – Kelly Aylwin
  • Spirit Elementary – Rachel Garay
  • Spruce Creek Elementary – Gary Lester
  • Sunrise Elementary – Marianne Dolce
  • Woodward Elementary – Jacqueline Ochs


The 2018 Secondary First Year Teacher nominees:

  • Atlantic High School – Kerianne Canetti
  • Campbell Middle School- Damon Barrs
  • DeLand High School – Alexis LaChance
  • DeLand Middle School – Michael Filz
  • Deltona High School – Julie Douglass
  • Deltona Middle School – Danielle Wynne
  • Galaxy Middle School – Ashley Amon
  • Heritage Middle School – Jonalyn Rivera
  • Hinson Middle School – Asihia Hines-Mack
  • Holly Hill School – Ashley Davis
  • Mainland High School – Julian A. Gutierrez
  • New Smyrna Beach High School – Megan Budd Parris
  • New Smyrna Beach Middle School – Evan Sanders
  • Pine Ridge High School – Loren Conlan
  • River Springs Middle School – John Russell Koenig
  • Seabreeze High School – Bruce Dunn
  • Silver Sands Middle School – Joan Strapp
  • Southwestern Middle School – Heidi Pena
  • Spruce Creek High School – James Rudd
  • T. Dewitt Taylor Middle-High School – Leigh Brown
  • University High School – Shelli Walters
  • Volusia Online Learning – Gina Connelly

(Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Elementary First Year Teacher of the Year nominees from Blue Lake Elementary – Carolina Morales; Champion Elementary – Robin Knight; Chisolm Elementary – Brianna Townsel; Citrus Grove Elementary – Kaitlyn Scully; Cypress Creek Elementary – Amanda Serrano; Deltona Lakes Elementary – Lauren Warriner; Discovery Elementary – Crystal Mills; Edgewater Public – Ashlea Joiner; Enterprise Elementary – Megan Stebbins; Forest Lake Elementary – Melissa Diamond; George Marks Elementary – Tara Thomas; Holly Hill Elementary – Emily Mackenzie; and Horizon Elementary – Sarah Smith.)

(Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Elementary First Year Teacher of the Year nominees from McGinnis Elementary – Jessica Osterhout; Orange City Elementary – Brooke Hopkins; Osceola Elementary – Shana Seyk; Pathways Elementary – David Foresman; Pine Trail Elementary – Kyle Mangan; Pride Elementary – Kelsi Quicksall; Read-Pattillo Elementary – Kelly Aylwin; Spirit Elementary – Rachel Garay; Spruce Creek Elementary – Gary Lester; Sunrise Elementary – Marianne Dolce; and Woodward Elementary – Jacqueline Ochs.)

(Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Secondary First Year Teacher of the Year nominees from Atlantic High School – Kerianne Canetti; Campbell Middle School- Damon Barrs; DeLand High School – Alexis LaChance; DeLand Middle School – Michael Filz; Deltona High School – Julie Douglass; Deltona Middle School – Danielle Wynne; Galaxy Middle School – Ashley Amon; Heritage Middle School – Jonalyn Rivera; Hinson Middle School – Asihia Hines-Mack; Holly Hill School – Ashley Davis; Mainland High School – Julian A. Gutierrez; and New Smyrna Beach High School – Megan Budd Parris)

(Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Secondary First Year Teacher of the Year nominees from New Smyrna Beach Middle School – Evan Sanders; Pine Ridge High School – Loren Conlan; River Springs Middle School – John Russell Koenig; Silver Sands Middle School – Joan Strapp; Southwestern Middle School – Heidi Pena; Spruce Creek High School – James Rudd; T. Dewitt Taylor Middle-High School – Leigh Brown; University High School – Shelli Walters; and Volusia Online Learning – Gina Connell.)

Photos courtesy FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.


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