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Picking the best of the best

The nominations have been announced; now it’s time to select an honoree.

The four nominees for Gulf District School’s Teacher of the Year will be observed by a three-person team of out-of-district administrators on Tuesday, and they’ll select a district winner based on the observation and a letter of recommendation from a colleague.

Wewahitchka fifth grade math teacher Hester Peck
Port St. Joe High secretary Wanda Nixon, and Port St. Joe High School physical science, anatomy and physiology teacher Dawn Grace
Port St. Joe first grade teacher Krystal Terry. and Port St. Joe Elementary School paraprofessional Joy Evans
Wewahitchka Middle School science teacher Wendy Chafin
Wewahitchka Elementary School food service cashier Marilyn Causey
Wewahitchka High School paraprofessional Jane Wade
Gulf County School District transportation and maintenance Tony Strange
Gulf County School District finance and fiscal clerk Ashley Baird

The six nominees for School-Related Employee of the Year, along with their immediate supervisors, will have the honor on Wednesday, when they will be interviewed by a three-person committee of retired educators.

Nominated from each of the district’s four schools, 90 percent based on teachers’ votes and 10 percent on the principal’s vote, this year’s quartet of teachers include two from the sciences, Dawn Grace, who teaches physical science, anatomy and physiology at Port St. Joe High School, and Wendy Chafin, who teaches middle school science at Wewahitchka High School.

Krystal Terry, who teaches first graders at Port St. Joe Elementary School, and Hester Peck, fifth grade math at Wewahitchka Elementary, are the nominees for the younger ages.

The district winner will go on to compete in the 2022 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year program. Selection criteria includes a video, resume, essays, lesson plans, letters of recommendation, and superintendent nomination letter.

For the School-Related Employee of the Year, there is one nominee from each school, one from the maintenance and transportation departments, and one from the district offices.  Nominees are selected by their work site peers.

This year’s nominees are Joy Evans, a paraprofessional, at Port St. Joe Elementary; Marilyn Causey, food service cashier at Wewahitchka Elementary; Wanda Nixon, secretary at  Port St. Joe High School, Jane Wade, paraprofessional at Wewahitchka High School; Ashley Baird, finance clerk, at the district offices; maintenance Tony Strange, who works in the transportation and maintenance department.

The committee will select a district winner based on the interviews, letter of recommendation, and an application submitted by the nominee. Criteria considered include teamwork, collaboration work ethic and initiative. 

District winner will go on to compete in Florida Employee of the Year program.