Six finalists in the annual Outstanding Educator of the Year recognition program were announced Friday during surprise visits from officials with Pinellas County Schools and the Pinellas Education Foundation.
The Pinellas County Schools Outstanding Educator of the Year finalists are:
• Jennifer Anderson, Language Arts and Reading at East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs: Jennifer is a 25-year veteran of Pinellas County Schools. She holds a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. She has earned her Reading and English as a Second Language Endorsements. Jennifer is a member of the school's Literacy Leadership Team, a K-12 Reading facilitator, a Model Classroom Teacher and an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Site Team member.
• Becky Bride, Mathematics and head of the Math Department at Palm Harbor University High School: She has been with Pinellas County Schools for 18 years of her 24-year teaching career. Becky has a bachelor's and a master's degree in Mathematics Education from the University of South Florida. She has taught numerous math subjects from General Math to Advanced Placement Calculus. She is a math textbook author, has presented at several mathematics conferences and has previously taught at the college level at St. Petersburg College.
• Krista Kelleher, Autism Spectrum Disorders at Sawgrass Lake Elementary in St. Petersburg: She teaches students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in grades two through five and has been with Pinellas County Schools for 11 of her 16 years teaching. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master's degree from the University of South Florida and earned her Autism Endorsement in 2012. In addition to her daily classroom duties, Krista organizes a spring play each year with performances by all of the ASD children at Sawgrass Lake.
• Jennifer Klimis, Gifted Program and case manager at Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary: She is a nine-year veteran of Pinellas County Schools. Jennifer holds an associate's degree from St. Petersburg College (formerly St. Petersburg Junior College) and a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. She is currently working toward her master's degree from the University of Connecticut. Jennifer is the school's facilitator for the ACCEL Team and the School-wide Enrichment Model. She leads the school's morning news program, an accelerated math club and a creativity club.
• Jean Wark, Kindergarten at Perkins Elementary in St. Petersburg: She began her teaching career in 1982 and has been a Kindergarten teacher at Perkins since 1985. She has an associate's degree from St. Petersburg College (formerly St. Petersburg Junior College) and a bachelor's degree from Florida State University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was named the Early Childhood Education Student of the Year in 1982. (*Note: Wark will receive her notification visit Tuesday.)
• Joanne Wright, Reading at Safety Harbor Middle School: She has worked for Pinellas County Schools for nine years. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Natal in South Africa and has earned her Reading and English as a Second Language Endorsements. Joanne serves as the school's technology coach, is a team leader, a mentor and co-founder of the Making a Difference club for students.
The 2012-13 Outstanding Educator of the Year will be announced at the annual Evening of Excellence, presented by the Pinellas Education Foundation, on Feb. 25, at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.