Polk County Public Schools Announces 2022 Teacher and School Employee of the Year

Polk County Public Schools Announces 2022 Teacher and School Employee of the Year

For Schools, News
Inspire Awards graphic

Polk County Public Schools is proud to announce our Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year!

Ashley Brannon, a curriculum coach at Karen M. Siegel Academy, is the 2022 Polk County Teacher of the Year.

Tiffany Berrien, a physical education paraeducator at Rochelle School of the Arts, is the district’s School-Related Employee of the Year.

Profiles of each winner can be found below.

Brannon and Berrien will receive a cash prize generously donated by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, Herff Jones and Valley Bank. As Teacher of the Year, Brannon will also receive a car, courtesy of Lakeland Automall.

Both winners will move on to compete for state titles. Each year, the Florida Department of Education names a statewide Teacher of the Year, and a School-Related Employee of the Year.

PCPS celebrated Brannon, Berrien and many of the district’s other outstanding employees during tonight’s Inspire Awards at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. PCPS also recognized the district’s Principal of the Year, Amy Heiser-Meyers from Horizons Elementary; as well as the Assistant Principal of the Year, Tammy Ruhl from Floral Avenue Elementary.

The Inspire Awards are presented by the Polk Education Foundation and PCPS’ Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships.

Thank you to our event sponsors: Aramark, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Boswell & Dunlap, Lakeland Automall, LEGOLAND, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, Mosaic, Polk Education Association, Publix Super Markets Charities and TECO Energy.

Graphic for Teacher of the Year winner Ashley Brannon

Ashley Brannon — 2022 Polk County Teacher of the Year award winner profile:

Brannon says it is a “privilege” to serve students with severe physical, cognitive and behavioral disabilities at Karen M. Siegel Academy.

As a curriculum coach/resource teacher, she helps other teachers use best practices in their classrooms so that students can succeed. She also implemented a schoolwide writing program so that every student can express themselves through text, no matter what their disability may be.

Brannon helps with the planning and chaperoning of extracurricular activities and special events at her school, including prom, graduation and seasonal events. In addition, she volunteers her time to assist new educators from neighboring schools, helping them study for certification exams and sharing strategies that will benefit their students.

“My community, school and students provide me with so much happiness,” Brannon says. “My only hope is that I can one day repay them with the same.”

Graphic for 2022 SRE winner Tiffany Berrien

Tiffany Berrien — 2022 Polk County School-Related Employee of the Year award winner profile:

Berrien has spent four years working with PCPS as a PE paraeducator at Rochelle School of the Arts, where she serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

She takes the effort and time to learn about her students and talk to them about their day. They listen to her and follow directions because they know she cares about them.

As a former collegiate and semi-pro basketball player, Berrien brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as basketball coach for Rochelle’s boys and girls teams. Along with basketball instruction, she spends time tutoring students, helping them with their schoolwork and teaching them how to be good citizens. Her focus is to create a positive environment where students will work hard and strive for success.

* Ashley Brannon was chosen as the 2022 Polk County Teacher of the Year among the following teacher finalists:

  • Tracy Single — LEA facilitator, Scott Lake Elementary
  • Robynn Hamrick — kindergarten teacher, Davenport Elementary
  • Lindsey Hanger — English teacher, Bartow High/International Baccalaureate/Summerlin Academy
  • Kailyn Reynolds-Keller — PE teacher, R. Clem Churchwell Elementary
  • Kent Viles — ESE teacher, Lake Region High
  • Jennifer Campbell — reading teacher, Lake Gibson High

* Tiffany Berrien was chosen as the 2022 Polk County School-Related Employee of the Year among the following finalists:

  • Betty Goldwire — ESE paraeducator, Southwest Middle
  • Sandra Alls — school nurse, Davenport Elementary
  • Diana Tinker — paraeducator, Floral Avenue Elementary
  • John Winghart — school safety guardian, Brigham Academy
  • Tracy Walling — principal’s secretary, Eagle Lake Elementary
  • Jacquelyn Mulford — finance secretary, Auburndale High

Click here to read more about this year’s Inspire Awards finalists and honorees.