The Polk County School Board has many events and programs celebrating the accomplishments and hard work of our staff, community partners and students from both the present and the past. The following recognition events are coordinated by the Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships.

Teacher of the Year 2018 Graphic

Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year

The 2018 awards program honored over 230 outstanding employees from across the district. Michelle Dinwiddie, a 10th-grade English teacher at Lake Gibson High in Lakeland, was named the 2018 Polk County Teacher of the Year and Margie Foreman, a clinic nurse at James E. Stephens Elementary, was named the district’s School-Related Employee of the Year. Along with 12 finalists, the winners received cash awards and other prizes from event sponsors.

Hall of Fame

The Polk County Schools Hall of Fame was created in 1985 to recognize former students of Polk County Public Schools who have gone on to distinguish themselves in their careers or communities. Since its inception, the Hall of Fame has inducted over 100 former students. Hall of Fame members have made significant professional contributions in the arts, business, clergy, education, entertainment, government, law, military, medicine, sports or other fields.

Nominees must have attended a Polk County public school, but graduation from a Polk County public school is not a requirement. A panel of judges evaluates each nominee using criteria such as leadership, professional excellence, innovation and their impact on local and global communities. Each inductee and their nominator will receive an invitation to the induction banquet.

Volunteer of the Year Logo

Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year Program

The gift of time is precious, and volunteers are truly generous when it comes to investing this valuable resource in our schools and with our students.

This award ceremony acknowledges the crucial role school volunteers play in students’ lives and how they enrich our schools with their selfless dedication.

This event is made possible through the sponsorship of MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

About Face Logo

About-Face Awards

The About-Face Award recognizes secondary students who have made a significant turn around in their behavior, academic achievement and attendance in school. One student from each middle and high school in the district receive the award annually at the awards program. Students are nominated by their school and receive a medallion for their success.

This event is made possible through the sponsorship of TECO Energy.

Superintendent's Scholars Logo

Superintendent's Scholars Awards

The top high school seniors from Polk County Public Schools take center stage at the annual Superintendent’s Scholars Awards.

The ceremony recognizes seniors for their outstanding educational achievements; Superintendent’s Scholars include graduating seniors who have earned a 3.8 GPA or higher by their seventh semester.

Each student has an opportunity to introduce themselves, announce their college or career plans, and receive a medallion as a symbol of their accomplishment to be worn at graduation.

Wheels To Engagement

Wheels to Engagement

Through a partnership with Jarrett-Gordon Ford, the Wheels to Engagement program recognizes parents who actively participate in the education of their student. The goal is to increase student achievement at designated low performing schools. Each designated school’s Parent-of-the-Year will be entered into a drawing. The grand prize winner will receive a new Ford Fusion and a $1,000 check courtesy of CenterState Bank. Second and third place winners will receive a $2,000 check courtesy of CenterState Bank.