On Dec. 5, a small group of executives from Hillsborough county surprised Steinbrenner Algebra 2 teacher, Lisabeth Leist, with her nomination for District Teacher of the Year.
Superintendent, Jeff Eakins, the President of the Hillsborough Education Foundation, and even Ronald McDonald, among others, informed Leist that she was among five teachers in the entire county being honored for this prestigious title.
Administrators and leaders of the community met in Leists classroom to award her and recognize her in front of her students and fellow teachers.
“[I feel] overwhelmed and excited. It was a complete surprise,” said Leist.
In order to be considered for this revered position, there is a process that teachers must undergo. It begins at the school level where administration nominates a worthy candidate. The teacher must then fill out an application consisting of a series of essays related to their teaching strategies and the culture of their classroom. A selection committee then reviews the applications of the prospective candidate and selects 10 nominees out of the 250 total. There is another round of selections and interviews and five teachers are chosen to be honored.
“I am so excited for her. I think Mrs. Leist embodies everything that we want in our teachers She is willing to go above and beyond,” said Principal Kelly King.
Among the 15,000 teachers in the county, Leist will be recognized at the Straz center on Jan. 16 along with the other four nominees. There they will be honored in front of everyone and on teacher will be awarded the Teacher of the Year for Hillsborough County. From there they will compete within the state for the title of Teacher of the Year in Florida and could possibly be nationally recognized.
Leist is the first teacher from Steinbrenner to be a finalist.
Lauren Johnston // Backpage Editor