By Bryan Boggiano
The Florida Department of Education named Eagle Ridge Elementary School teacher Seema Naik as one of five finalists for the 2023 Teacher of the Year award Tuesday.
Incoming Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. and Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns made the announcement during a surprise visit to the school, according to a press release.
Naik received the Teacher of the Year award for Broward County in February.
“A persistent and caring teacher, Naik constantly supports her students and seeks to work with parents, school staff and her community to help children reach their highest potential,” said Superintendent Vicki Cartwright in a press release.
After her county Teacher of the Year award, a selection committee comprised of teachers, principals, parents, and business figures reviewed applications based on multiple criteria.
The committee chooses finalists based on their ability to teach and communicate material, teaching philosophy, school and community service, and professional development, according to a press release.
“Seema Naik is a shining example of excellence in the classroom,” Diaz, Jr. said in the press release. “Her passion for teaching science and STEM subjects is nothing short of inspiring.”
Naik started her career in education ten years ago and has since brought STEM opportunities to students at Eagle Ridge, where she started the school’s first robotics club in 2017.
Coming from a family of musicians from India, Naik regularly uses music as a teaching aide. She creates songs and chants with lyrics that incorporate lessons for her students.
“In my experience as a school leader, there are only a few teachers I would consider to be a pioneer. It is clear in my mind that Seema Naik is a STEM pioneer in the education world,” said principal Lindsey Sierra in a press release.
The Florida Department of Education will announce the 2023 Teacher of the Year on July 14 in Orlando.
The award winner will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education for one year.
The other announced finalists include Deelah Jackson from Samoset Elementary School in Manatee County and Jennifer Jaso from Sarasota Middle School. We will add all finalists once we get them from the State.
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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