Florida Teacher of the Year visits Gulf District Schools

Gulf District Schools enjoyed a visit from 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year Sarah Ann Painter on March 29 as Painter made her way through school districts across the state.

Painter first visited the classroom of Gulf District Schools’ 2021 Teacher of the Year Krystal Terry, a first-grade teacher at Port St. Joe Elementary School.

“The love in her room is palpable,” Painter later wrote of Terry in a Facebook post. “Nobody loves their students like Mrs. Terry. I saw student after student just walk up to her (while she was teaching) to get a hug and then go straight back to work.”

Then, Painter received a tour of the facilities before speaking to gathered staff members after the school day ended.

“From there, the administration took me on a tour. You could see the pride in their eyes as they showed off their staff and students,” she wrote. “I ended by sharing my message with the staff.”

Painter, a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Pinellas County, has been teaching for more than 18 years.

Every year, a statewide teacher of the year is selected from the winners in each of the State’s 73 public school districts at the Teacher of the Year competition, which will be held in Tallahassee this year.

Kim McFarland, a geometry teacher at Port St. Joe High School, will be representing Gulf District Schools at this year’s competition.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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