Leesburg HS math educator named Florida Teacher of the Year

Tammy Jerkins announced at Universal Studios Orlando

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Photo provided by Office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mathematics teacher Tammy Jerkins from Leesburg High School has been named the Florida Department of Education's Teacher of the Year, the governor's office announced Thursday night.

The Lake County educator was among five finalists vying for the honor. Jerkins was announced during an annual award gala at Universal Studios Orlando.

"First Lady Ann Scott and I are proud to join Macy's and the Florida Department of Education to recognize the 2018 Teacher of the Year, Tammy Jerkins," Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release. "I'd like to thank all of these educators for their incredible impact on Florida students and I applaud their commitment to preparing them for higher education and successful careers. The workers and leaders of tomorrow are in our classrooms today and every day, Florida teachers go above and beyond to ensure their success."

The other finalists were Katelyn Fiori from Vero Beach Elementary School; exceptional education teacher Diego Fuentes from Hillcrest School in Marion County; Michael Miller from Kissimmee Elementary School; and math teacher Vanessa Ko from Palm Harbor Middle School.

The Teacher of the Year winner receives $25,000 from the Florida Department of Education and Macy's, as well as an all-expense-paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy's also is providing the winner with a $1,000 clothing allowance.

Each finalist's school also will receive $1,000 from Macy's.

Copyright 2017 by WKMG ClickOrlando. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.