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School district honors three

A teacher, principal and secretary were recognized at a banquet Thursday night.

By KENT FISCHER

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- When Pasco High School agriculture teacher Ed Dillard sees apathetic, listless teens on campus, he sees in them a bit of himself.

Dillard says that as a young man growing up in Alabama, he had no aspirations and no goals beyond landing a job in construction. In stepped Paul Dean, an influential high school teacher who showed Dillard the possibilities beyond a dead-end job.

For the past 26 years, Dillard has tried to do for his students what Mr. Dean did for him. The Pasco County School District and the United School Employees of Pasco honored that effort at a banquet Thursday night, naming Dillard their Teacher of the Year.

Dillard, 48, oversees Pasco High's chapter of Future Farmers of America, one of the county's largest and most active chapters. Over the years, his students have won 18 state agriculture awards, have restored an antique fire truck for the Florida Pioneer Museum and have run petting zoos for local elementary schools.

In 1997, Dillard was named the state's top agriculture teacher. He and a local hog farmer founded the Pasco County Youth Hog Show and Sale.

In the application submitted to the committee that chose the Teacher of the Year, Dillard wrote that he encourages his students to undertake real-life agricultural projects such as raising livestock or cultivating crops.

"Not a day goes by that I don't try to impress upon students how important agriculture is to mankind and how they can fit into this vast and diverse career area," Dillard wrote. "If you love your subject and are knowledgeable about it, the teaching is easy and the students respond well to you."

Two other district employees also were honored Thursday night.

River Ridge Middle/High School Principal Tammy Rabon was named Administrator of the Year. Doreen Pattermann, a secretary at Sunray Elementary School, was named School-Related Personnel of the Year.

Rabon, 37, started her teaching career in 1991 at River Ridge as a social studies teacher. In 1994, she was named an assistant principal there. In 1998, she oversaw Pasco's offering of International Baccalaureate, a high-powered program for gifted high school students. Pattermann, 44, is a secretary for the guidance and special education departments at Sunray Elementary in Holiday. Before joining the staff at Sunray, Pattermann worked for nearly 10 years in the district's Cyesis program for new mothers.

Pattermann is a certified child care assistant and runs Sunray's ABC committee, which assists needy families in times of trouble.

Each of the winners was presented with, among other things, a check for $500 and a commemorative gold ring.

-- Kent Fischer covers education in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6241 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6241. His e-mail address is kfischer@sptimes.com.

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