Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program

Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program

This program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their schools and district school systems. The program honors one state representative and four finalists. In accordance with Florida Statue section 1012.21(5), the bureau provides coordination and technical assistance in the nomination, selection, and recognition processes.

Nomination packets are sent to district superintendents at the beginning of each school year. Selection processes may differ by district. Only one nomination may be submitted by a district to the state and only the superintendent may make the nomination.

All non-certified, non-instructional educational support personnel who serve at the school or district level (such as teacher aides, library aides, bookkeepers, secretaries and clerks, bus drivers, food service staff, custodians, building maintenance workers, warehouse workers, mechanics, nurses, and office managers) may be nominated. Nominees may be full or part-time employees. Instructional and administrative personnel as defined in Section 1012.01(2) (a) – (d) and (3). Certified administrative staff and contract employees are not eligible.

Finalists - By Year


Winner: Cheryl A. Thomas, Relief Bus Driver and Training Assistant at the Coachman Service Center, Pinellas County
Finalist: Christopher Gates, Technology Specialist at Broward Virtual School, Broward County
Finalist: Shaunda Burdette, Teacher Aide at the District Service Center’s Educational Services Department, Citrus County
Finalist: Stacey Fuhrman, Vision Paraprofessional at Citrus Grove Elementary School, Martin County
Finalist: Mark Nelson, Uniformed Security Officer at Acceleration Academy West High School, Orange County


Winner: James Lefko, Food Service Manager, Bayshore Elementary School, Lee County
Finalist: Toni Padgett, Career Specialist, Fleming Island High School, Clay County
Finalist: Kathy Moresi, Executive Assistant/Peer Lead, Florida Virtual School
Finalist: Deloris Patterson, School Secretary, Dr. Phillips Ninth Grade Center, Orange County
Finalist: Debra Alvis, Administrative Assistant, Greenwald, Booker Middle School, Sarasota County


Winner: Sue Mullen, Data Entry Manager, Breakfast Point Academy K-8, Bay County
Finalist: Susan McVeigh, ESE Parent Specialist, Flagler County Schools - ESE Department, Flagler County
Finalist: Jennifer Seidenstucker, Treasurer II, Eagles Landing Middle School, Palm Beach County
Finalist: Debra Stotts, Office Clerk I, Largo Middle School, Pinellas County
Finalist: Eric Henik, The Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Traditions, Plant Manager, St. Lucie County​


Winner: Norma Reyes, ESOL Paraprofessional, Purcell Elementary School, Polk County
Finalist: Stuart Sheinman, Technology/Network Support Associate, West Melbourne Elementary School for Science, Brevard County
Finalist: Linda Turner, Registered Nurse, Montclair Elementary School, Clay County
Finalist: Brenetta Lawrence, Program Specialist, Bond Elementary School, Leon County
Finalist: George Beasley, Sr., Custodian - Plant Maintenance, Seminole High School, Seminole County


Winner: Rachel Melson, 21st Century Site Coordinator, Bond Elementary School, Leon County
Finalist: April Stage, Instructional Paraprofessional, Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary School, Marion County
Finalist: Michelle Muniz, Home School Liaison, JD Parker School of Science, Math and Technology, Martin County
Finalist: Pamela Paone, Instructional Assistant, Hudson High School, Pasco County
Finalist: Charles Derexson, Secretary/Bookkeeper, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Pinellas County