Polk Co. Elementary teacher named Florida Teacher of the Year

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 06:42:23-04

A Polk County elementary school math teacher has been named the 2017 Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year. 

Governor Scott and First Lady Scott announced on Thursday that Highlands Grove Elementary School teacher Jessica Solano was chosen from five finalists. 

Governor Scott said, “I want to congratulate Jessica Solano for being recognized as this year’s Teacher of the Year, and also thank Macy’s for this wonderful opportunity to honor our state’s outstanding teachers. The leaders of tomorrow are in our classrooms today, and Florida teachers do a great job preparing students for college and future careers. Our Florida First budget invested a historic total of more than $20 billion this year for K-12 public schools, and I look forward to continue making Florida’s education system the best in the nation for students to succeed.”

“We are fortunate to have educators like Jessica Solano in our schools,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd. “She embodies the best qualities of a teacher: the willingness to challenge her students as well as herself, desire to innovate, initiative to embrace technology, and genuine concern for the children of our community. Ms. Solano is a credit to her profession. We are very proud to say she is one of the brightest lights in Polk County Public Schools.”

Solano will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about Florida’s success in education and the many opportunities afforded to students and educators in the Sunshine State.

For being chosen Teacher of the Year, she wins $20,000 funded by the state Department of Education and the Macy's department store. Solano also wins a $1,000 wardrobe, a $1,000 check for her school and an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.