Collier Teacher Honored for Excellence

Collier Teacher Honored for Excellence

Contact: Mark Pudlow
May 20, 2004
850.224.1429 or 850.508.9756

Claudia Simmons, a Collier County teacher with more than 30 years experience in the classroom, has been named the winner of the annual Florida Education Association Award for Teaching Excellence.

Simmons, who is in her 29th year teaching elementary school in Naples after beginning her career in her native Pennsylvania, was chosen by a panel of top educators at FEA.

”Claudia Simmons exemplifies what’s great about Florida public schools,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “All students deserve the highest quality education and expert teachers like Claudia who understand both the subjects they teach and the children they teach.  This combination makes the difference in student achievement.”

Among her school responsibilities, she has served on School Improvement Councils, has been a Grade 4 Team Leader for 18 years and has supervised 13 student interns since 1986. She has been an active member of the Collier County Education Association, serving as a building representative, a member of the bargaining team and on more than 20 school district committees. She served 14 years as an officer in the CCEA, including eight years as President.

The four other finalists were Patti Lochner, a kindergarten teacher in Fort Myers; Beverly Ledbetter, a social studies teacher in Pasco County; Pam Quimuyog, a first-grade teacher in Panama City; and Christle Rafool, an elementary school teacher in Flagler County.

All of the finalists will receive a commemorative plaque and Simmons will receive a $5,000 cash prize. She will represent Florida in the national competition for the National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. That honor, which will be announced this summer, includes a $25,000 prize.

The FEA Award for Teaching Excellence was announced at the annual FEA Delegate Assembly on Friday, May 14, in Orlando.

The Florida Education Association is Florida’s largest association of professional employees. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

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