NEW PORT RICHEY — Patrick Connolly, a Land O’ Lakes High math teacher with 38 years of experience, has been named Pasco County’s Teacher of the Year.
Connolly received the award Saturday night at an event sponsored by the Pasco Education Foundation and held at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge High School.
Connolly, a New York native, taught in Missouri and was an officer and instructor in the Navy before coming to Pasco in 1989. This is his 23rd year at Land O’ Lakes High, where he teaches calculus and Algebra II.
As a teenager he planned an engineering career, but a chance to tutor other students made him realize teaching was his true calling.
“I had been given a gift and to not use that gift would be to thumb my nose at the universe,” Connolly said in a recent interview.
The other finalists for Teacher of the Year were James Washington, a ninth-grade language arts teacher at Zephyrhills High; and Marci Williams, a third-grade gifted teacher at Wesley Chapel Elementary.
Other school district employees of the year honored Saturday night include:
School-Based Administrator of the Year — Jason Joens, principal at River Ridge Middle School. Finalists were Kimberly Davis, principal at Gulf High School; and Latoya Jordan, principal at Lacoochee Elementary.
District-Based Administrator of the Year — Vanessa Hilton, director of the Office of Teaching and Learning. Finalists were Rob Aguis, director of Career and Technical Education; and Melissa Musselwhite, director of Student Support Programs and Services.
School-Related Personnel of the Year — Karen Zummo, a custodian at Weightman Middle School. Finalists were Kelly Baker, media technology assistant at Sunray Elementary; and Bonnie Marquis, instructional assistant at Moon Lake Elementary.
Non-Instructional Non-Bargaining Employee of the Year — Josh Nelson, a network analyst in the Office for Technology and Information Services. Finalists were Neil Canalungo, district plant manager; and William Hartman, a network specialist in the Office for Technology and Information Services.