Okeechobee Teacher Named 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year

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FDOE Press Office | August 4, 2020

Tallahassee, Fla., August 4, 2020 – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran named Krista Stanley, a sixth grade teacher at Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee County, as the 2021 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Stanley was chosen from among more than 176,900 Florida public school teachers.

As the 2021 Teacher of the Year, Krista will receive a $20,000 check from the Florida Department of Education and a 2-Year Florida College scholarship, from the Florida Prepaid College Board, worth $8,000 to present to a student of her choice.

“2020 is the Year of the Teacher, and I am thrilled to name Krista Stanley as Florida’s Teacher of the Year,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront the importance of having a great teacher in front of every Florida student. A great teacher is critical to ensuring every student receives a world-class education. Florida educators have done an incredible job engaging students in distance learning and it has been noticed across the nation. In only four years of teaching, Krista has quickly risen to the challenge and is an inspiration and role model not only to her students but to her fellow educational leaders. She is a wonderful example of the thousands of Florida teachers who have dedicated their lives to inspire the minds of our students.”

“We are honored to recognize Krista Stanley for being selected as the 2021 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of a very important reality – that a great teacher in front of every student is absolutely essential. Krista’s passion and commitment inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, achieve, and work towards a great future for themselves, their communities, and the world. I look forward to working with her in the upcoming school year.”

During her time with the Okeechobee County School District, Krista developed her teaching practices and has become a leader within the district. She is a coach for her colleagues, a mentor for new teachers, a team leader for the other sixth-grade teachers and a district math representative. In addition, Krista supports her colleagues through curriculum development, textbook adoption and professional development. Using a standards-based approach, Krista has a passion for not only supporting other teachers, but also choosing the most effective instructional practices to ensure all her students receive a high quality education.

“As a graduate of Okeechobee High School, we are pleased that Krista Stanley returned to Okeechobee County to share her knowledge and insight with our 6th graders at Yearling Middle School,” said Okeechobee County Schools Superintendent Ken Kenworthy. “Krista has risen to the top in student achievement, serves as a role model for students, garnered respect from her peers and has been elevated as a pillar in our education community. It will be great for her to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with others from around the state. I know she will represent our profession with excellence and dignity.”

Yearling Middle School’s Principal David Krakoff said, “Krista embodies what every teacher should strive to be, a teacher who is devoted to guiding every student to mastery of content.”

As the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Stanley will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, working to create greater public awareness of Florida’s outstanding teachers and elevating the education profession. She will have the opportunity to promote and celebrate the countless contributions of Florida’s teachers, provide professional learning opportunities to educators and recruit future teachers into the education field.

The remaining four state finalists will each receive a $15,000 check from the Florida Department of Education – Kristin Wilson from Florida State University School in Leon County; Euan Hunter from Vanguard High School in Marion County; Rob Paschall from West Creek Elementary School in Orange County; and Syndie White from Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Palm Beach County. Each of the local district winners were recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching and will each receive a check for $10,000 from the Department of Education.

The Florida Teacher of the Year Program is made possible in partnership with the Florida Education Foundation and these generous sponsors: Florida Prepaid, State Farm, Gulf Power, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue, Florida Lottery, Voya Financial®, Florida Power and Light Company, Publix Super Market Charities, PNC Bank, Florida State University College of Education, Universal Orlando Resort, Blue Man Group and Herff Jones. 

For more about the Florida Teacher of the Year program, please visit Florida Teachers Lead.