Florida Times-Union | by Emily Bloch | January 27, 2021
Mandarin High School educator Jim Schmitt, who teaches history and global perspectives and research, is the 2021 Duval County Teacher of the Year.
On Wednesday, at a luncheon hosted by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund at the downtown Omni Hotel, Schmitt and four other finalists were recognized for their accomplishments.
“We want to make our teachers feel like celebrities,” Jacksonville Public Education Fund President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune said. “After everything they’ve done for our kids, they deserve to have a moment when the community comes together and celebrates them.”
The EDDY Awards — which is celebrating its 30th year — was done a little differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The typically widely attended gala was swapped for a socially distanced lunch that was broadcast live via News4Jax. Organizers say the silver lining was that students, faculty and families were able to watch the event for support.
Duval County Teacher of the Year Jim Schmitt teaching at Mandarin High School. Photo by Jerial Fennell
Schmitt, who has 27 years of teaching experience under his belt, was recognized for his work developing a writing program for at-risk students, writing a $10,000 grant for a school-to-work program and for serving as a standards coach.
“In his class he’s different,” a current student said. “He always tries to incorporate new learning tools. It’s really entertaining and engaging. His class is one of my favorites.”
Featured image: Jim Schmitt receives his Teacher of the Year title at the Eddy Awards. Jacksonville Public Education Fund