Middle-school math teacher Krista Stanley is the 2021 Teacher of the Year

By: - August 4, 2020 6:30 pm

Krista Stanley, a middle school math teacher from Okeechobee County, is named 2021 Teacher of the Year. Source: Florida Department of Education Facebook

Krista Stanley, a sixth grade math teacher from Okeechobee County, is the 2021 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year.

A homegrown educator — she graduated from Okeechobee High School — Stanley stayed in the county and teaches at a high-poverty, diverse school. It’s Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee.

Stanley just finished her fourth year of teaching, but she’s “risen to the top in student achievement, serves as a role model for students, garnered respect from her peers and has been elevated as a pillar in our education community,” Okeechobee School Supt. Ken Kenworthy said in a press statement.

The Teacher of the Year announcement was made Tuesday during a Zoom press conference — a celebration that came even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and concerns remain about the launch of the new school year.

But Stanley was upbeat.

“I just love my job and I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized and be named as 2021 Teacher of the Year,” Stanley said on the Zoom call.

“I couldn’t do what I do without all the support in my district,” Stanley said during the Zoom call. “Our district leadership is awesome, and my administrators do so much. And they support me and just really helped me become the educator I am today.”

In a written statement, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran stressed the need for quality teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID crisis “has reminded us of a very important reality – that a great teacher in front of every student is absolutely essential,” he said in the statement. “Krista’s passion and commitment inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, achieve, and work towards a great future for themselves, their communities, and the world.”

Stanley was chosen from more than 176,900 public school teachers, and as the Teacher of the Year, she’ll get a $20,000 check, and a two-year Florida College scholarship worth $8,000 to present to a student of her choice, according to the Department of Education.

Stanley will serve for a year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, which includes “working to create greater public awareness of Florida’s outstanding teachers and elevating the education profession.”

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.