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TALLAHASSEE – Today, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) named Trinity Brooke Whittington, a fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher at Bell Elementary School in Gilchrist County, as a finalist for the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year award. The announcement came during a surprise visit to Bell Elementary School, with Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns imparting the honor. The Florida Teacher of the Year program recognizes excellence in teaching and celebrates outstanding professional educators in schools across the state. The 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year winner will be announced on July 14 in Orlando.  

“Great teachers not only impact their students, but also their schools and their communities,” said Incoming Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “My congratulations to Trinity Brooke Whittington for your selection as one of five finalists for the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year award.” 

“We are very proud of Trinity Brooke Whittington. She’s an outstanding teacher and excellent role model for our entire community,” said Dr. Jim Surrency Gilchrist County Superintendent. 

“Mrs. Whittington’s classroom is a place of magic, where children are hooked from the moment they enter until the moment they leave. The relationships she develops with students, parents and colleagues are true and binding,” said Suzanne Mathe, principal of Bell Elementary School.  

Trinity Brooke Whittington has lived in the Gilchrist community her entire life. She has served as a fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher for the past five years and focuses on creating engaging lessons that affect her students in positive ways. Mrs. Whittington also teaches about service by leading school-wide efforts to provide blankets to the local nursing home, and by starting a library swap program to promote literacy. Her personal academic journey includes earning a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University, where she graduated summa cum laude.  

Five finalists were chosen for 2023 Teacher of the Year from nearly 185,000 public school teachers throughout the state. After each school district selects its teacher of the year, a selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community reviews each district application on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The winner will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education.

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