FUTURES Foundation honors first-year teachers

Pictured front row, left to right, are Secondary First Year Teacher of the Year nominees from Atlantic High School, Diana Skerrett; Campbell Middle School, Taneshia Williamson; David C. Hinson Middle School, Allison L. Tanner; DeLand High School, Kristin D’Aquino; DeLand Middle School, Shayla S. Stoughton; Deltona High School, Nathacha Curras; Deltona Middle School, Julie Tussing; Galaxy Middle School, Cory Rowe; Heritage Middle School, Shelby Flowers; and Mainland High School, Haleigh Smith.


FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools announced its 2019 First Year Teacher Award recipients during its annual recognition event April 23 at Mainland High School’s Auditorium.  

Emily Budzilek, a kindergarten teacher at Palm Terrace Elementary School, received the Elementary level First Year Teacher Award while Haleigh Smith, a World History teacher from Mainland High School, received the Secondary level First Year Teacher Award. Palm Terrace and Mainland High School are both located in Daytona Beach.

This year’s reception, co-sponsored by FUTURES and Volusia United Educators (VUE), featured refreshments prepared and served by the Mainland High Culinary Academy.

Budzilek and Smith were selected for their awards from 51 nominees who were chosen to represent their schools. To be considered for the recognition, nominees must have earned a Baccalaureate degree, started a full-time teaching career on or after Jan. 1, 2018, performed outstandingly based on standards established by the Volusia County School District and been nominated by their school principal.

In recommending Budzilek for this award, Palm Terrace Elementary Principal Tucker Harris stated, “Mrs. Budzilek comes to school each day not only to teach standards at a high level, but to smile, hug and love her students. Each day she starts with a warm welcome to each of her students and focuses on ensuring that the children have a safe environment, where they are truly loved.”

Mainland High School Principal Dr. Cheryl Salerno stated, “As a new teacher entering mid-stream, Mrs. Smith was dropped into her PLC, but rather than being swept away or drowned in the details and drama, she popped to the surface and became a leader in her PLC. Her practice is a beautiful example of what Marzano refers to as the “art of teaching”. She takes research-based practices from the science of education and naturally weaves them into her craft making them her own.”


This year’s Elementary First Year Teacher nominees included:
  • Blue Lake Elementary School – Jamie Grover
  • Champion Elementary School – Courtney Kirk
  • Citrus Grove Elementary School – Elissa Cohen
  • Cypress Creek Elementary School – Alicia Melendez
  • Deltona Lakes Elementary School – Kathryn L. Buday
  • Edgewater Public School – Ryan Burkhalter
  • Enterprise Elementary School – Paige Shinsky
  • Freedom Elementary School – Katina Hurst
  • Forest Lake Elementary School – Jillian J. Larriviere
  • Friendship Elementary School – Elianis Nunez
  • George Marks Elementary School – Karen Smith
  • Holly Hill School – Taylor Berry
  • Horizon Elementary School – Jennifer Pugh
  • Indian River Elementary School – Patricia Crouse
  • R.J. Longstreet Elementary School – Stacie Snyder
  • Manatee Cove Elementary School – Danielle Staudte
  • McInnis Elementary School – Katie Hazel
  • Orange City Elementary School – Samantha Williams
  • Osceola Elementary School – Shelby Seaman
  • Palm Terrace Elementary School – Emily Budzilek
  • Pathways Elementary School – Tara Floyd
  • Pierson Elementary School – Tayla Kelly
  • Pine Trail Elementary School – Dusty Buck
  • Port Orange Elementary School – Haley Seay
  • South Daytona Elementary School – Mallory Smith
  • Spirit Elementary School – Danielle Bertossa
  • Starke Elementary School – Laney King
  • Sunrise Elementary School – Shannon Shontz
  • Timbercrest Elementary School – Christopher Collier
  • Turie T. Small Elementary School – Porscha Morrow
  • Westside Elementary School – Christina Murray
  • Woodward Elementary School – Samantha MacHardy
This year’s Secondary First Year Teacher nominees included:
  • Atlantic High School – Diana Skerrett
  • Campbell Middle School – Taneshia Williamson
  • David C. Hinson Middle School – Allison L. Tanner
  • DeLand High School – Kristin D’Aquino
  • DeLand Middle School – Shayla S. Stoughton
  • Deltona High School – Nathacha Curras
  • Deltona Middle School – Julie Tussing
  • Galaxy Middle School – Cory Rowe
  • Heritage Middle School – Shelby Flowers
  • Mainland High School – Haleigh Smith
  • New Smyrna Beach Middle School – Georgia Corr
  • Ormond Beach Middle School – Ashley King
  • Pine Ridge High School – Kelly-Ann Hammerdorfer
  • River Springs Middle School – Luke Gonyea
  • Silver Sands Middle School – Caleb Rich
  • Southwestern Middle School – Victoria Arnold
  • Spruce Creek High School – Griffin Fuller
  • T. Dewitt Taylor Middle/High School – Amber Dees
  • University High School – Susanna Alires-Medina


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