Jun 162017

(L to R): Diana Sutton from the Community Foundation, ELL Teacher Liana Blanco, Media Specialist Sarah Smith, Reading Teacher Mary Swan, Student Activities Coordinator and Spanish Language Teacher Sarah Sheer, Philanthropist Mr. David Wolkowsky, Art Teacher Shannon Perkins, AVID and History Teacher Nora Laubenstein, Science Teacher & Teacher Professional Development Coordinator Tara Whitehead (also school teacher of the year), Principal Amber Archer Acevedo, College Advisor Gavin Townsend pose for a picture after receiving the prestigious community award. Mr. Wolkowsky designed the award as a way to reward teachers for their hard work and dedication to the students. Many of the teachers choose to “pay it forward” and end up using the money in their classrooms and learning environments. Not pictured: Valerie Palay French Language and Life Skills Development Teacher

David Wolkowsky, affectionately known as “Mr. Key West” to many, awarded eight teachers $5,000 each at Key West High School in the first week of June. Mr. Wolkowsky has been bestowing the Teachers of Merit Awards for 16 years, since 2001. The educators learned they’d been chosen during a faculty meeting after watching a short film dedicated to Mr. Wolkowsky.

Teachers receiving the award from previous years were showcased in the short film. In it, they thanked Mr. Wolkowsky for his generosity.  Many believe the awards have motivated teachers to emulate their benefactor by giving back to the community. Liana Blanco, an English Language Learners teacher, and recipient of the award this year, said she is grateful for Mr. Wolkowksy’s contribution. “I appreciate how Mr. Wolkowsky supports education in our community.  We face so many challenges in our schools, and we need help from our community to be successful.  He has consistently supported teachers for many years in a meaningful way, and I truly appreciate it,” Liana Blanco said.

Mr. Wolkowsky has collaborated with Key West High School’s administration and the Monroe County School District in hopes of encouraging teacher retention at KWHS and as an effort to garner more support and recognition for the teachers within the community. “It’s so important, in a thriving community that we have good teachers who are appreciated by the community for their work,” Mr. Wolkowsky said.

The following educators received the honor for 2017:

  • Liana Blanco | English Language Learners Teacher
  • Sarah Smith | Media Specialist
  • Mary Swan | Reading Teacher
  • Shannon Perkins | Art Teacher
  • Nora Laubenstein | AVID and History Teacher
  • Tara Whitehead | Science Teacher & Teacher Professional Development Coordinator
  • Valerie Palay | French Language & Life Skills Development Teacher
  • Sarah Sheer | Spanish Language Teacher & Student Activities Coordinator

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys also coordinates with Mr. Wolkowsky on the yearly award system. To learn more information about the foundation, the Teachers of Merit Awards, and Mr. Wolkowsky, click here. For more information about the Monroe County School District, visit the website and find us on Facebook @MYMCSD

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 June 16, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #223, News, Special Event  Add comments

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