By MITCH TRAPHAGEN
RUSKIN — Wayne Stinnard, a teacher at Cypress Creek Elementary School has been named one of five finalists by the Hillsborough Education Foundation for the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Award. Foundation members made surprise visits to 15 county schools on Friday to recognize not only teachers but also support staff.
Stinnard was unaware of his nomination when he was surprised by the visit from foundation members during his lunch hour. A teacher at the school for the past eight years, he credited the school administration and staff, as well as his students and their parents.
“This is a great community to work in,” he said.
Additionally, Elisabeth Denisar Babin from Dowdell Middle School was chosen as a finalist for Teacher of the Year.
In all, 15 finalists were selected for three awards, the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year and were chosen from 681 nominees. According to the foundation, the 15 finalists represent the best of the best from Hillsborough County Public Schools. The winner in each category will be announced at the Excellence in Education Awards Ceremony presented by the Verizon Foundation at Straz Center for the Performing Arts on February 16. In addition to the Verizon Foundation, sponsors of the program include Amscot Financial, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, Suncoast for Kids Foundation, the Tampa Bay Rays and Caspers Company McDonalds Restaurants.
For more information about the 2012 Excellence in Education Awards, visit www.educationfoundation.com.