And the Winners Are…
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The 2018 Outstanding Educator of the Year and Business Partners of the Year were all announced at the Evening of Excellence at Mahaffey Theater this evening. Presented by the Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools and sponsors by Ditek, Humana and the Tampa Bay Rays, the event also featured entertainment, the induction of Frank Chivas into the Hall of Honor and a special dessert reception celebrating the best in education.
The winner for the 2018 Outstanding Educator is Jessie Boyce. In honor of her award, a limo will pick her up at her home and deliver her to Tyrone Middle School at 6421 22nd Ave N. in St. Petersburg tomorrow morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. Students and staff will be on hand to congratulate her. Media is welcome to attend.
Jessie, the Mathematics teacher at Tyrone Middle School, has been teaching for 10 years, the last five of which have been at Tyrone Middle School. She has taught both math and science, but most recently has been teaching sixth grade math. She helped start a 1 to 1 technology initiative as Tyrone has transitioned to become the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning, and she is part of the Pinellas Innovates initiative, spearheading personalized learning and flexible seating in the county. Boyce is also an ambassador for multiple educational technology companies such as Kahoot, Flipgrid and is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. She writes, provides training, speaks at conferences and blogs about education as it changes and ways to bring innovation into the classroom.
As Outstanding Educator of the Year, Jessie will receive prizes valued at approximately $10,000 including cash awards totaling almost $5,000 from the Pinellas Education Foundation and the Pinellas Community Foundation, a Keg A Que gas grill from Clearwater Gas System, a limo ride to school courtesy of His & Hers Limousines, a gift basket from Nardo’s Natural Organic Skin Care, Mahaffey Theater tickets courtesy of the Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts, a two-night stay at the Hotel Indigo, a weekend luxury car rental from Crown Auto Dealerships, a $3,500 scholarship from Nova Southeastern University, the Outstanding Educator commemorative ring courtesy of Balfour, tickets to Walt Disney World, Sea World and Aquatica courtesy of Disney and Sea World respectively, and special recognition at the Education Night with the Rays in the spring at Tropicana Field.
The Outstanding Educator Fan Favorite Award – an award category voted on by students, parents and the community who selected their fan favorite on the Foundation’s Facebook page is Jenni Herman, a second grade teacher at Pinellas Central Elementary. In total, more than 3,600 votes for Fan Favorite were cast for the finalists this year.
As winner of the Fan Favorite Award, Jenni will receive special recognition and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Education Night with the Rays at Tropicana Field. In addition, she will receive a personalized Rays jersey, a Keg A Que from Clearwater Gas System, Mahaffey Theater tickets courtesy of the Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts, a two-night stay at the Hotel Indigo, and two bottles of wine courtesy of Republic National.
All Educator of the Year finalists will receive a $500 cash award from the Pinellas Education Foundation, an autographed copy of Wanderlust by Dick Jacobs, a $2,500 scholarship from Nova Southeastern University, two bottles of wine from Republic National and special recognition and a party suite at Education Night with the Rays at Tropicana Field.
All of the finalists will receive a commemorative medallion from the Pinellas Education Foundation. In addition, all 10 finalists were treated to a special Finalist Recognition Breakfast in December sponsored by Casper’s McDonalds and the Pinellas Education Foundation. They were also introduced to the community as they rode on a holiday float sponsored by Casper’s McDonalds Company during St. Petersburg’s Snowfest Holiday Parade.
The Business Partners of the Year were also announced and honored during the evening. Winners for the Business Partner of the Year are:
Humble Bee Gardens
Frank Chivas was inducted into the Hall of Honor.
Frank’s business acumen is only rivaled by his generous community spirit. From age 11, he was raised in foster care after losing his father, a commercial fisherman, at sea. But by 16, he moved to Pinellas County where he launched his first business in wholesale fish.
Soon after, he began opening restaurant after restaurant each under the same umbrella company, Baystar Restaurant Group, but each completely unique in its style and menu though all serve at least some seafood caught by his own fleet of boats. Among his restaurants are the Salt Rock Grill, Island Way Grill, Marlin Darlin Key West Grill and Rumba Island Bar & Grill.
And although Frank is known for his great food and amazing restaurant atmospheres, it’s his passion for helping those in need that should get the most praise. The list of causes and nonprofits that have been beneficiaries of Frank’s generosity includes the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy, Clearwater 4 Youth, Clearwater Community Sailing Center, Boys & Girls Club, UPARC, the Clearwater Aquarium, and of course the Pinellas Education Foundation among many others. His passion for helping children in our community deserves recognition. It gives us great pleasure to celebrate Frank and his work in the community.
Title sponsors for the celebration are Ditek and Humana. The Tampa Bay Rays Foundation are the sponsors for the Outstanding Educator Fan Favorite Award. Additional details of each finalist and photos of the event may be found at www.facebook.com/pinellaseducation.
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About The Evening of Excellence
This annual event pays tribute to the Best Educators and the Best Business Partners who create ever expanding opportunities for Pinellas County’s children. It also celebrates the contributions of a business leader who is inducted into the Pinellas Free Enterprise Hall of Honor, in recognition of his/her community service and advocacy for education.
About Pinellas County Schools
Pinellas County Schools is the seventh largest school district in Florida and 24th largest in the nation, serving more than 101,997 K12 students at 132 schools. With more than 17,000 employees, the school district is the largest employer in the county. The vision of Pinellas County Schools is 100% Student Success. We encourage parents, business leaders and community members to partner with us in our mission to educate and prepare each student for college, career and life.
About The Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is an independent, non-governmental not-for-profit established in 1986. The Foundation’s mission is to accelerate educational achievement for ALL students through the effective mobilization of innovation, relationships and resources. Well known Pinellas Education Foundation programs include: Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Future Plans, Take Stock in Children Scholarships, Youth Connect, Academies of Pinellas and Fund A Classroom Grants.