OKEECHOBEE — The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has begun announcing the five finalists for the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year, and one of Okeechobee’s own has made the list. Yearling Middle School’s Krista Stanley.
Mrs. Stanley found out she was of the five finalists during a video call with FDOE Chancellor Dr. Jacob Oliva and FLDOE’s Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns.
This marks the first time an Okeechobee County School District teacher has been selected as a finalist for Florida’s teacher of the year in 30 years.
“I’m in shock, I’m speechless,” said Mrs. Stanley when learning of the news. “I’m so appreciative, and I just love my students. They’re the reason I work hard and try to give every one of them what they need.”
YMS Principal David Krakoff says the honor of being a state finalist is well earned by Krista.
“Mr. Kenworthy called to let me know on Tuesday afternoon,” said Mr. Krakoff. “I certainly felt a sense of pride in Krista knowing that in my 21 years in education, she truly is among the best I’ve worked with. Krista embodies equity — the commitment to bringing all kids to deep levels of learning. If all had teachers like Krista, there would be no learning gaps in the United States. She’s that good. So while I know there are many phenomenal teachers across our state, I also felt a sense of fulfillment for Krista because that young lady has worked so hard at her craft and for her students.”
In 2019, 86% of Mrs. Stanley’s students earned a proficient score on the Florida State Assessment.
“I have been so blessed to work with Krista,” said YMS math instructional coach Kellyann Campbell. “Not only as a colleague, but as a coach knowing that when I go into her classroom, it’s always a breath of fresh air because that is what we want for all of our students every day.”
Next the state selection committee will interview the five finalists in Tallahassee, with the winner announced FDOE Teacher of the Year Roundtable and Gala scheduled to take place in Orlando in July.
“Krista represents the reason that we are continuing to get better at Yearling Middle School,” continued Mr. Krakoff. “She has proven that all students can learn given a teacher like her. Krista has removed excuses for any student not learning by showing that all can when they have a teacher like her.”