2018 BPS Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

2018 BPS Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced


Nov. 13, 2017


VIERA, Fla. – Six Brevard Public Schools teachers were named as finalists for the 2018 Teacher of the Year distinction.


The finalists are Amanda Howell, Oak Park Elementary; Brandon T. Jenkins, Heritage High; Kristina Latraverse, Columbia Elementary; Connie Royster McLellan, Manatee Elementary; Michael Speer, Kennedy Middle, and Amy Teed, Jackson Middle. 


The finalists were selected out of 90 candidates by a panel of judges comprising principals and teachers from all over the county. The candidates were measured against a rigorous set of criteria that includes teaching philosophy and practice, leadership, professional development and parental engagement in the learning process. 


The 2018 BPS Teacher of the Year will be chosen by a committee of education and civic leaders and will be announced at the Applauding Brevard’s Champions (ABC) Awards Gala on Jan. 24, hosted by the Brevard Schools Foundation. Community Credit Union is the premier sponsor of the event, which will be held at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.


Additional information on the six finalists follows.


Amanda Howell, Oak Park Elementary


Gifted Student Program teacher Amanda Howell is in her 12th year with BPS and her second year at Oak Park Elementary in Titusville. Howell works with GSP students from Oak Park, Mims and Pinewood elementary schools and leads collaborative projects between gifted and exceptional education students. In addition, Howell serves as a hospital-homebound teacher and Odyssey of the Mind board member, tutors students-in-transition and is the assistant coach for Space Coast Jr./Sr. High’s JV softball team.



Brandon T. Jenkins, Heritage High


Director of Bands Brandon T. Jenkins has been at Heritage High in Palm Bay during his five years with BPS. Since Jenkins assumed leadership of the band program, it has more than quadrupled in size with approximately 130 current members and seen an increase in assessment scores from poor and fair to superior. He has created multiple instrumental ensembles at the school and uses technology daily to aid in teaching and enhancing the classroom experience.



Kristina Latraverse, Columbia Elementary


Kristina Latraverse, an art teacher at Columbia Elementary in Palm Bay, has worked for the district and the school for three years. To improve the first impression of the school, Latraverse and her students created 523 ceramic flowers and installed them along the front walkway. She is also dedicated to creating connections between the school faculty and families, and uses social media and a blog to involve families in their child’s creative projects, and to connect with renowned artists and authors. 



Connie Royster McLellan, Manatee Elementary


Connie Royster McLellan’s has spent 15 of her 21 years with BPS at Manatee Elementary in Viera. The Kindergarten teacher is passionate about recognizing and meeting the individual needs of students and providing them with opportunities to succeed. McLellan also is the coordinator for the school’s photography club, leads charity projects and serves on many district committees.



Michael Sperr, John F. Kennedy Middle


Michael Sperr has been a music educator at Kennedy Middle in Rockledge for seven years and a BPS teacher for 10. He has led his school’s ensembles to earn multiple superior assessment ratings and increased the amount of students participating in Brevard All-County Band from three to 18. Sperr has served on several district curriculum-writing teams as well as leadership teams that foster excellence in new teachers.



Amy Teed, Andrew Jackson Middle


Amy Teed is currently in her 11th year with the district and sixth year at Jackson Middle in Titusville where she teaches three math courses. Teed has achieved significant learning gains with her students whose abilities range from struggling to gifted. She also is part of the district’s middle school math curriculum team and leads a group designed to reward students for meeting academic goals. 



All BPS Teacher of the Year nominees in order by school name:


School Name Name Position
Adult Education Dora Bertini Guidance Counselor
Allen, Roy Elementary Stacy Gantt Third Grade Teacher
Andersen, Hans Christian Elementary Linda Touzet SLD Resource Teacher
Apollo Elementary Lisa Hilburn Third Grade Teacher
Astronaut High Jackie Barnette ELA Teacher
Atlantis Elementary Jacqueline Roberson Kindergarten Teacher
Audubon Elementary Teri Esmond EBD Primary Teacher
Bayside High Brian D. Callinan AP Human Geography/ World History Teacher
Brevard Virtual School Kathleen Bussendorf Secondary Teacher
Cambridge Elementary Maureen M.  Callahan Third Grade Teacher
Cape View Elementary Tiffany J.  Remington Second Grade Teacher
Central Middle Daniel Lee Band Teacher
Challenger 7 Elementary Kaitlin Bearden Fifth Grade Teacher
Cocoa Beach Jr./ Sr. High Jim Mardulier Science Teacher
Cocoa High Lori   Smith Art Instructor
Columbia Elementary Kristina Latraverse Art Instructor
Coquina Elementary Quantia Edmonds Third Grade Teacher
Creel, Dr. W. J. Kimberly Newsome Third Grade Teacher
Croton Elementary Tina  Goolsby ESE Resource Teacher
DeLaura Middle Sandra Stewart Science / Science Research 
Discovery Elementary Mary Sears Fifth Grade Teacher
Eau Gallie High Calandra Harding 11 & 12 Grade Teacher
Edgewood Jr./Sr High Christopher J. Waterman Theatre Teacher
Educational Technology Melissa Woods Educational Tech Teacher
Endeavour Elementary Lois Ingraham-McCoy Forth Grade Teacher
Enterprise Elementary Jaclyn Herold Six Grade Teacher
Fairglen Elementary Vicki Taber Fifth Grade Teacher
Freedom 7 Elementary Diana Lawless Forth Grade Teacher
Gemini Elementary Kimberly Bliss Exceptional Education 4th-6th
Golfview Elem Magnet Rhonda Ripperger Fifth Grade Teacher
Harbor City Elementary Susan Dike Second Grade Teacher
Heritage High Brandon Jenkins Band Director / Music Teacher
Holland, Spessard Elementary Tonya Johnson Fifth Grade Teacher
Hoover, Herbert C. Middle Glenn Bywater Seventh Grade Teacher
Imperial Estates Lori R. Mitchell Library Media Specialist 
Indialantic Elementary Elizabeth Foster Third Grade Teacher
Jackson, Andrew Middle Amy Teed  Math Teacher 
Jefferson, Thomas Middle Shane Starrak Varying Exceptionalities 7th-8th
Johnson, L.B.  Middle Terrie Segal AVID Coordinator/Teacher
Jupiter Elementary Theresa Macgowan Title One Teacher/Sci. Lab
Kennedy, John F. Middle Michael Sperr Music Teacher
Carroll, Lewis Elem Melba Mizell Math/Science Teacher
Lockmar Elementary Kathryne Sandstorm Bryant  Third Grade Teacher
Longleaf Elementary Tamara Lynn Shannonhouse  Fifth Grade Teacher
Madison, James Middle Sandra Faith Science Teacher /VE SLD
Manatee Elementary Connie Royster McLellan Kindergarten Teacher
McAuliffe, Christa Elementary Robin Hatfield Third Grade Classroom Teacher
McNair Magnet Middle Mary DeRossett Science Teacher
Meadowlane Intermediate Amber L. Evans VE Teacher
Meadowlane Primary Elem. Sarah Blanchard Second Grade Teacher
Melbourne High  T.J. Woodbury Advanced Placement Teacher
Merritt Island High Pat Campbell Science Teacher
MILA Elementary Andrea Chapman Six Grade Teacher
Mims Elementary Becky Johnson Second Grade Teacher
Oak Park Elementary Amanda Howell Gifted Teacher
Ocean Breeze Elementary Gary V. Smith Six Grade Teacher
Palm Bay Elementary Ashley Rothe Kindergarten Teacher
Palm Bay Magnet High Christine E.  Handlon Mathematics Teacher
Pathways at Gardendale Julia Kennedy English Teacher 6 - 12
Pathways at Pine Grove Sonia Guerao Guidance Counselor
Pinewood Elementary Kathleen Vaughan Literacy Coach
Port Malabar Elementary Janette Cedeno Kindergarten Teacher
Pre-K, ESE Christy Hyde Speech-Language Pathologist
Quest Elementary Lynne Anne Vera Forth Grade Teacher
Riviera Elementary Danielle LaVelle Kindergarten Teacher
Rockledge High Jeffrey Higginbotham Science Teacher
Roosevelt Elementary Michelle M. Sirounis Physical Education Teacher
Sabal Elementary Patricia Robinson Sixth Grade Teacher
Satellite High Andrew Hoppenbrouwer Teacher
Saturn Elementary Barbara Poulsen First Grade Teacher
Sculptor Charter School Michelle Marie Akimenko Art Instructor
Sea Park Elementary Linda Collins Specific Learning Disabilities
Sherwood Elementary Leigh Carmody First Grade Teacher
Southwest Middle Brandy Griswell Literacy Coach
Space Coast Jr./Sr. High Francine Barnao Drabik Social Studies / Dept. Chair
Stevenson, Robert Louis Elem Kacey Coyle Fifth Grade Teacher
Stone Middle Richard L. Flesher, Jr. Civics Teacher
Sunrise Elementary Jennifer Sherrill Second Grade Teacher
Suntree Elementary Amy Imka Media Specialist
Surfside Elementary Jodi Rozycki Forth Grade Teacher
Titusville High Linda Scarlata Intensive Language Arts
Tropical Elementary Barbara Wilcox Kindergarten Teacher
Turner, John F.  Elementary Eileen Borkowski Music Teacher
University Park Elementary Carrie Young Title One Coordinator
Viera Charter School Mary A. Rabun Social Studies Teacher
Viera High Jeffrey Draves Social Studies / Dept. Chair
West Melbourne Elementary Cathy Mistretta  Guidance Counselor
West Shore Jr/Sr High Donald D.  Gornto Math & Computer Teacher
Westside Elementary Holly Berry Third Grade Teacher
Ralph Williams Elementary John Kurowski Music Teacher


Contact: Matt Reed

Assistant Superintendent/PIO

Office: 321-633-1000 ext. 796