Penny Mickler, Hamilton County School District Teacher of the Year, represented Hamilton County as a wonderful ambassador this week at the Florida Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year Roundtable. The roundtable affords Teachers of the Year the opportunity to network with colleagues, share ideas and provide input on educational issues of state and national importance.

Hamilton County Superintendent Tom Moffses commented, “Mrs. Mickler is an outstanding teacher for our students in Hamilton County.  We are very proud of her accomplishments in education and the opportunity Florida’s Teacher of the Year program and the Teacher of the Year Roundtable have provided Mrs. Mickler this week.”

Hundreds of Florida teachers and school administrators, as well as Florida Department of Education leadership, gathered in Orlando, FL, to learn which of the five finalists chosen from more than 191,000 public school teachers throughout the state would be named the 2016 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year.

Deborah Norville, Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of Inside Edition, served as master of ceremonies.  Darlene Hanes, Macy’s Executive vice President, Regional Director of Stores and Florida Governor Rick Scott opened the sealed envelope to reveal the name of this year’s top educator in Florida.

Diane McKee of Hillsborough County was named 2016 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year at the gala event. The Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year is chosen from more than 190,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. The top educator is selected on the basis of superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The most important qualification is the teacher’s exceptional capacity to inspire love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Macy’s has created a very special way to recognize Florida’s top educators that provides them with tangible rewards and memories to last a lifetime. Each District Teacher of the Year receives a cash award of $750 and $250 for their respective schools, funded by the Macy’s Foundation. Also this year, Macy’s will surprise three District Teachers of the Year with a $1,000 Macy’s gift card and these special awards: the Magic of Leadership award for a teacher who leads by example, the Magic of Teaching award for a teacher who goes beyond the basic job description to continue positive growth in her students, and the Magic of Giving award to a teacher with a unique ability to create positive change in the community.