The 2019 awards program honored 240 outstanding employees from across the district.  Along with 12 finalists, the winners received cash awards and other prizes from event sponsors.

Judges included community members from local organizations and businesses, as well as past winners and finalists. Judges reviewed the applications without knowledge of applicant names or schools. Judging criteria included leadership and professional development activities, community and school involvement, and teaching style.

Each year, the Florida Department of Education names a Florida Teacher of the Year, choosing an educator who has “demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.” The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year award recognizes outstanding education support personnel for contributions to their schools and communities. Both of Polk’s winners will move on to compete for the state titles.

Jennie Cyran — 2019 Teacher of the Year

Jennie Cyran — 2019 Teacher of the Year

Ms. Cyran believes successful teachers are those who take the time to build trust and cooperative relationships with students and their families. She considers the classroom to be a student’s “second home,” where they can be free of judgment and embrace their mistakes as great learning opportunities. She often visits students’ homes so she can offer parents resources to help their children. Even while battling cancer, she continues to put in extra effort and spends time on Saturdays tutoring students. Ms. Cyran enjoys mentoring new teachers so they don’t feel overwhelmed. She also mentors female students through the Girls of Integrity program, which aims to help girls be strong academically, socially and behaviorally. Along with her fellow teachers, Ms. Cyran established the National Elementary Honor Society at Horizons Elementary. She also volunteers as a Special Olympics coach, mentor and unified partner for several sports.
Cynthia Wimberley — 2019 School-Related Employee of the Year

Cynthia Wimberley — 2019 School-Related Employee of the Year

As a cafeteria manager, Ms. Wimberley does more than keep a spotless kitchen and cafeteria, and serve tasty food to Sandhill Elementary’s students. Her desire to see all students succeed inspired her to create a new program. She meets with students who are struggling to develop behavior plans, and speaks with the children daily, reminding them to behave well. Ms. Wimberley explains that if they keep up their good behavior, they will earn a reward — which could be anything from a huge Star Wars ship, to a remote-controlled race car or a Lego set. Another one of her special projects is to give fruit baskets to students as a reminder to eat healthy.  The students love to win the fruit baskets, and administrators are happy to see them take healthy snacks home to share with their families.

2019 Honorees

Teachers of the Year are listed first followed by
School-Related Employees of the Year


Alturas Elementary – TOY: Nicole Boyzo; SRE: Caren Bone


Auburndale Central Elementary – TOY: Betty Calderon; SRE: Jacquita McAllister
Auburndale Senior High – TOY: Katelyn Nykiel; SRE: Paullet Gibson
Clarence Boswell Elementary – TOY: Linda Castor; SRE: Nona Dye
East Area Adult – TOY: St. Charles Germilus; SRE: Bruce Johnson
Jere L. Stambaugh Middle – TOY: Emily Diggs; SRE: Norma Williams
Lena Vista Elementary – TOY: Charlene Moses; SRE: Jeremiah Anhalt
Walter Caldwell Elementary – TOY: Joe Atchison; SRE: Maritza Neboyia


Bartow Elementary Academy – TOY: Darla Fenley; SRE: Kimberly Braddy
Bartow Middle – TOY: Jimmy Linch; SRE: Kimberly Brannan
Bartow Senior / IB / Summerlin – TOY: Kerry Brown; SRE: Sharon Olliff
Floral Avenue Elementary – TOY: Traci Maier; SRE: Tanisha Clayton
Gause Academy of Leadership – TOY: Edna Denise Whitten; SRE: Eula Gibson
Gibbons Street Preschool Center – TOY: Myrna Pabon Vargas; SRE: Stephanie Watts
James E. Stephens Elementary – TOY: Andrew Allen; SRE: Steven Hagan
Jean O’Dell Learning Center – TOY: Laura Holland; SRE: Bobi Fussell (Finalist)
R.E.A.L. Academy – TOY: Stacy Rice; SRE: Tina Wilson
Spessard L. Holland Elementary – TOY: Kacy Willis; SRE: Autumn King
Union Academy – TOY: Bryant Joyner (Finalist); SRE: Carol Sawyer


Citrus Ridge: A Civics Academy – TOY: Jennifer Rae Olson; SRE: Hedda Lugo
Davenport School of the Arts – TOY: Erica Gotshall; SRE: Diego Acevedo Rivera
Horizons Elementary – TOY: Jennie Cyran (Finalist); SRE: Shannon Coffelt
Loughman Oaks Elementary – TOY: Tramekia Ross; SRE: LaVerne DesRoches
Ridge Community High – TOY: Michael Sargent; SRE: Debra Bragg


Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center – TOY: Jason Jones; SRE: Ronda Forgiana
Dundee Elementary Academy – TOY: Mindy Adcock; SRE: Ana Hernandez
Dundee Ridge Middle Academy – TOY: Kirk Hansen; SRE: Josephine Gonzalez

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake Elementary – TOY: Dorian Lyles; SRE: Stacy Atkinson
Lake Region High – TOY: Lara Boyd; SRE: Kayla Randall
Pinewood Elementary – TOY: Betsy Reeves (Finalist); SRE: Julianna Zavala

Fort Meade

Fort Meade Middle/Senior High – TOY: Louise Mills; SRE: Falicia Carrillo
Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary – TOY: Kimberly Nageon Delestang; SRE: Nancy Rodriguez
Lewis Elementary – TOY: Ashley Mettlen; SRE: Esperanza Nunez


Ben Hill Griffin Jr. Elementary – TOY: Zina Myers; SRE: Stacy Leech
Frostproof Elementary – TOY: Bobbie Spradlen; SRE: Patty Briggs
Frostproof Middle/Senior High – TOY: Clay Brantley; SRE: Yuridia Aguilar

Haines City

Alta Vista Elementary – TOY: Carlos Rodriguez; SRE: Danielle Prudhomme
Bethune Academy – TOY: Devin Butts; SRE: Amanda Ray
Daniel Jenkins Acad. of Tech. – TOY: Carlos Gonzalez; SRE: Orliz Espiritusanto
Eastside Elementary – TOY: Kellie Rogers; SRE: Janisse Marquez
Haines City Senior / Haines City IB – TOY: Olin Gee; SRE: Sharon Appling
Sandhill Elementary – TOY: Tiffany Singleton; SRE: Cynthia Wimberley (Finalist)
Shelley S. Boone Middle – TOY: Gentle Hamilton, III; SRE: Edith Hoskey

Highland City

Highland City Elementary – TOY: Patricia Wooley; SRE: Katie Arce

Lake Alfred

Karen M. Siegel Academy – TOY: Jennifer Sanchez; SRE: Julie Goodman
Lake Alfred Elementary – TOY: Randi Honer Pringle; SRE: Jacqueline Velilla
Lake Alfred Polytech Academy – TOY: Anne-Marie Hearn; SRE: Ruth Krischick

Lake Wales

McLaughlin Middle & Fine Arts Academy – TOY: Micky Polley; SRE: Kimberly Wurth
Roosevelt Academy – TOY: Stefanie Hendrick; SRE: Darlene Palmer
Spook Hill Elementary – TOY: Patricia Lettieri; SRE: Kay Edwards


Bill Duncan Opportunity Center – TOY: Cristina Leon Perez; SRE: Stacey Grimes
Carlton Palmore Elementary – TOY: Tim McHaffie; SRE: Jessica Custin
Cleveland Court Elementary – TOY: Megan Long; SRE: Leonora Ortiz
Combee Academy of Design and Engineering – TOY: Lori Bargeron; SRE: Tocashamara Bennett
Crystal Lake Elementary – TOY: Deborah Arnold; SRE: Tina Fout
Crystal Lake Middle – TOY: Gregory West; SRE: Telisa Burton
Dixieland Elementary – TOY: Chelsea Clements; SRE: Pam Cash
Doris A. Sanders Learning Center – TOY: Jan Grimes; SRE: Philip De La Cruz (Finalist)
Dr. NE Roberts Elementary – TOY: Jamie Monge; SRE: Kristina Lang
Edgar L. Padgett Elementary – TOY: Terri Bell; SRE: Irene Fowler
George W. Jenkins Senior High – TOY: Michael Marocco; SRE: Phil Cummings
Griffin Elementary – TOY: Anne McCallum; SRE: Angie Acevedo
Harrison School for the Arts – TOY: Beth Garcia; SRE: Kelly James
Highlands Grove Elementary – TOY: Emily Coppolo; SRE: Martin Plapinger
James W. Sikes Elementary – TOY: Selina Fontaine; SRE: Cindy Ferguson
Jesse Keen Elementary – TOY: Crystal Lucas; SRE: Norma Clark
Kathleen Elementary – TOY: Kristi Taylor; SRE: Jennifer McArthur
Kathleen Middle – TOY: Monique Smith; SRE: Jill Hutton
Kathleen Senior High – TOY: Kristin Nicholson; SRE: Terri Edinger
Lake Gibson Middle – TOY: Rebecca Harris (Finalist); SRE: Julie Keil
Lake Gibson Senior High – TOY: Mandy Stock; SRE: Terry Salerno
Lakeland Highlands Middle – TOY: Amber Hansen; SRE: Jorge A. Hernandez
Lakeland Senior High – TOY: Dane Mooney; SRE: Aimee Fraker
Lawton Chiles Middle Academy – TOY: Steven M. Jones (Finalist); SRE: Gregory Alava
Lincoln Avenue Academy – TOY: Julie Stone; SRE: Daniel Carrion
Medulla Elementary – TOY: Chad Holmes; SRE: Carol Grimsley
North Lakeland Elementary – TOY: Brittany Allen; SRE: Lee Ann Bellew
Oscar J. Pope Elementary – TOY: Julia Reckord; SRE: Amalin Rodriguez
Philip O’Brien Elementary – TOY: Azure Gipson; SRE: Jane Stauffer
Polk Virtual – TOY: Kelly Webster
R. Bruce Wagner Elementary – TOY: Rosemarie Rizzo; SRE: Melanie Kapocsi
R. Clem Churchwell Elementary – TOY: Angela Barnett-Forbes; SRE: Yamileth Williams
Rochelle School Of The Arts – TOY: Theresa McCawley; SRE: Susan Lewis
Rosabelle W. Blake Academy – TOY: Amelia Hart (Finalist); SRE: Gwendolyn Murray
Scott Lake Elementary – TOY: Kerri Fream; SRE: Peggy Zimmer
Sleepy Hill Elementary – TOY: Brenda Norquist; SRE: Holly Turner
Sleepy Hill Middle – TOY: Amy Hamilton; SRE: Zudie Smith
Socrum Elementary – TOY: Andrea Scarborough; SRE: Susan Lanier (Finalist)
Southwest Elementary – TOY: Latricia Gibson; SRE: Karla Benton (Finalist)
Southwest Middle – TOY: Katrina Lynn; SRE: Jose Velazquez
Tenoroc High – TOY: Jennifer Nestor; SRE: Susan Surratt
Traviss Technical College – TOY: Heather Perkins; SRE: Linda May
Valleyview Elementary – TOY: Suzanne Stuart; SRE: Felix Nunez
Wendell Watson Elementary – TOY: Jessica Gautier; SRE: Nethena Bowman
West Area Adult/Community – TOY: Kari Seeley; SRE: Cynthia Bencz
Winston Academy of Engineering – TOY: Ryan Pope; SRE: Maria Tamariz


Kingsford Elementary – TOY: Gelissa Rodriguez; SRE: Katy Ramirez
Mulberry Middle – TOY: Spencer Katz; SRE: Nancy Hutton
Mulberry Senior High – TOY: Michelle Alldredge; SRE: Audrey Dorsett
Purcell Elementary – TOY: Jennifer Jones; SRE: Rebecca Baugher


Lake Marion Creek Middle – TOY: Richard Echevarria; SRE: Norma Hernandez
Laurel Elementary – TOY: Temperance Anderson-Bryant; SRE: Kerri Howard
Palmetto Elementary – TOY: Amy Worthington; SRE: Yasmin Corchado Moreno

Polk City

Polk City Elementary – TOY: Amanda Youngs; SRE: Ronnita Hines

Winter Haven

Chain of Lakes Elementary – TOY: Kristi Wilson; SRE: Maria Quiles
Denison Middle – TOY: Anne-Christine Holby; SRE: Denise Foster
Elbert Elementary – TOY: Janet Paxton; SRE: Grisselle Torres
Frank E. Brigham Academy – TOY: Amy Powell; SRE: Kaye Stine
Fred G. Garner Elementary – TOY: Grace Evans; SRE: Joni Gann
Garden Grove Elementary – TOY: Joy Beatty; SRE: Raymond Valentin Perez
Inwood Elementary – TOY: Jasmine McKenzie; SRE: Serena Dunn
Jewett Middle Academy Magnet – TOY: Kirbi McClenton-Fisher; SRE: Idalia Shanahan
Jewett School of the Arts – TOY: Jessica France; SRE: Kimberly Holbert (Finalist)
John Snively Elementary – TOY: Keenya Bell; SRE: Mamie Ciszek Hall (Finalist)
Lake Shipp Elementary – TOY: Lindsey Daniel; SRE: Cassandra Daniels
Ridge Technical College – TOY: Anne Hopper (Finalist); SRE: Mel Kouch
Wahneta Elementary – TOY: Diane Foli; SRE: Rosalinda Santillan
Westwood Middle – TOY: Arthur Davis, Jr.; SRE: Jana Dixon
Winter Haven Senior High – TOY: Stacy Erb; SRE: Deborah Macon


Visit the 2019 Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year photo gallery.

Both event photos and red carpet portraits are available for free download.

Please share your photos on social media using the hashtag #LovePolkSchools.

Honoree Videos:

View video tributes to each of this year’s honorees. Videos are compiled by district and can viewed in the 2019 Teacher & School Related Employee of the Year YouTube Playlist.

(A list of nominees is available in each video’s description.)


TOTY Poster 2019
SRE 2019 Poster

Platinum Sponsors:

  • Ledger Media Group
  • MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
  • Regal Automotive

Gold Sponsors:

  • Boswell & Dunlap LLP
  • Florida Blue
  • Legoland Florida Resort
  • Mosaic
  • Publix Super Markets Charities
  • TECO

Silver Sponsors

  • AMSCOT Financial
  • Ben Hill Griffin, Inc.
  • Citizen’s Bank and Trust
  • Duke Energy
  • Florida Prepaid College Board
  • Florida Southern College
  • Horace Mann Insurance
  • Huntington Learning Center
  • Lakeland Magic
  • Polk Education Association
  • Polk State College
  • Southeastern University
  • Suncoast Credit Union


  • Projectors provided by Smiley’s Audio Visual, Inc.
  • Men’s wardrobe provided by Men’s Wearhouse, North Lakeland
  • Women’s wardrobe provided by InnerAct Alliance
  • Additional set pieces provided by Theatre Winter Haven
  • Makeup provided by the Traviss Technical College cosmetology program


Thank you to these partners for providing gifts to this year’s winners!

  • Florida Southern College
  • Herff Jones
  • Horace Mann Insurance
  • Lakeland Magic
  • Ledger Media Group
  • Merlin Entertainment
  • MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
  • Regal Automotive
  • RP Funding
  • Walt Disney World

Previous Winners