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Education

Surprises as Hillsborough's Teacher of the Year finalists announced

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:49 AM

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TAMPA -

Of the 15,000 teachers in Hillsborough County, seven learned today they are finalists for teacher of the year.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation visited the schools where the seven teach to surprise them with the news.

Confetti rained down and students cheered at each school site across the county.

At King High School, band and orchestra director Dakeyan "Dre" Graham – a 2003 graduate of the school – learned he was one of the finalists as he stood in the band room wearing a letter jacket and holding a pair of drum sticks.

"This is incredible," said Graham, 28, who could be mistaken for a student. "I never imagined I would be a finalist for teacher of the year."

Freshman Nicholas McCoy said Graham is the best.

"He's an amazing teacher," Nicholas said. "I've only been here five months and I already think he's one of the best teachers I have ever had."

At nearby Williams Middle Magnet School, Brian Nanns – whose parents and grandparents also were teachers -- received a visit as well. Nanns teaches computer applications in business at the school.

"He's just the best," said eighth-grader Kediejah Sullivan. "He works with the students when they need him. He's my all-time favorite."

The teacher's parents, Kathleen and Larry Nanns, got a call from the principal's office this morning so they could come to school and be a part of the surprise.

"This is so cool," his mother said. "He works so hard."

Other teacher of the year finalists are Cassandra Mattison, Advanced Placement literature teacher, Spoto High; Krysta Porteus, math teacher, Young Middle Magnet; Sharon Smith, first-grade teacher, Claywell Elementary; Kyla Bailey, music teacher, Lanier Elementary; and Kathy Hill, second-grade teacher, Mitchell Elementary.

Five finalists also were announced for the instructional support employee of the year and the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year.

The 17 finalists were selected from 690 nominees in the district.

The winners in each category will be named March 28.

Here are the finalists for the Teacher of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the Year and the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year. The awards will be handed out March 28.

Teacher of the Year

Cassandra Mattison, Advanced Placement literature teacher, Spoto High

Dakeyan "Dre" Graham, band and orchestra director, King High

Brian Nanns, teaches computer applications in business, Williams Middle Magnet

Krysta Porteus, math teacher, Young Middle Magnet

Sharon Smith, first-grade teacher, Claywell Elementary

Kyla Bailey, music teacher, Lanier Elementary

Kathy Hill, second-grade teacher, Mitchell Elementary

Instructional Support Employee of the Year

Maryann Bordonaro, secretary, Essrig Elementary

Cindy Nuñez, kindergarten assistant, Claywell Elementary

Susan Blackmon, kindergarten aide, Oak Park Elementary

Kelly Foss, secretary, Symmes Elementary

Brenda Gail Mosley, secretary, Robinson Elementary

Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year

Leticia Brull, English for Speakers of Other Languages resource teacher, Dickenson Elementary

JoAnna Helak, kindergarten and second-grade reading coach, B.T. Washington Elementary

William F. Leonard II, reading teacher, Progress Village Middle School of the Arts

Stacey Hirn, fourth-grade teacher, FishHawk Elementary

Soccorito Claudio, fifth-grade teacher, Wimauma Elementary

Instructional Support Employee of the Year

Maryann Bordonaro, secretary, Essrig Elementary

Cindy Nuñez, kindergarten assistant, Claywell Elementary

Susan Blackmon, kindergarten aide, Oak Park Elementary

Kelly Foss, secretary, Symmes Elementary

Brenda Gail Mosley, secretary, Robinson Elementary


rshaw@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7999

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