Veteran teacher gets top honors
By LOGAN NEILL
BROOKSVILLE -- Suzanne Hays, a fourth-grade teacher at Brooksville Elementary School for the past 29 years, was named Hernando County's Teacher of the Year at ceremonies Saturday night at the Hernando High School Performing Arts Center.
Of 18 finalists for the honor, Hays was the unanimous choice by the Hernando Education Foundation, which sponsors the annual event. In addition to winning a cash prize of $600 from the foundation, Hays will represent the county in the state Teacher of the Year balloting in April.
In making her their choice for Brooksville Elementary's Teacher of the Year, Hays' peers lauded her for pioneering many of the school's family-oriented activities such as picnics, awards ceremonies and student-led counseling sessions.
"She makes school a busy and exciting place to be," wrote the Brooksville Elementary Teacher of the Year selection committee.
Hays, who has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Ball State University in Munice, Ind., and a master's degree in curriculum from the University of South Florida, has been teaching fourth grade at Brooksville Elementary since her arrival there in 1973.
In addition to her role as a teacher, she is active in several educational organizations, including the Hernando County Reading Association and the International Reading Association.
Other 2002-03 Teacher of the Year finalists included Bruce Morgan, Chocachatti Elementary School; Kristen Williams, Parrott Middle School; Dana Cottrell, Fox Chapel Middle School; Nancy Kesselring, J.D. Floyd Elementary School; Denise Ressel, Pine Grove Elementary School; Cynthia Moore, Spring Hill Elementary School; Betty Lou Tompkins, STAR Center; Colleen Doulk, West Hernando Middle School;
Alan Solomon, Central High School; Douglas Latta, Deltona Elementary School; Cathy Lee, Eastside Elementary School; Roxanne Campbell, Hernando High School; Patricia Kennedy, Moton Elementary School; Thomas Dye, Powell Middle School; Richard Renz, Springstead High School; Marguerite Kling, Suncoast Elementary School, and Diane Eichenberger, Westside Elementary School.
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