Polk teacher named Florida Teacher of the Year

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) - A central Florida elementary school art teacher has been named Florida's 2015 Teacher of the Year.

Christie Bassett, a K-6 Art teacher at Highlands Grove Elementary School in Polk County, was announced as the winner in Orlando Thursday night at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios.

Bassett and four other finalists were selected in May from among 72 school district nominees: Jill Espinosa, of Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County; Lyndsey Matheny, of Citrus Elementary School in Indian River County; Kevin Ford, of Tarpon Springs High School in Pinellas County; and Daryl Cullipher, of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County.

"I am so honored to recognize Christie Bassett as the 2015 Florida Department of Education Macy's Teacher of the Year," said Commissioner Pam Stewart. "I am confident she will serve as an excellent Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, motivating and inspiring teachers across the state as they work to ensure our students are prepared for success in college, career and life. I look forward to working closely with Christie in the upcoming year."

Bassett will receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy's Foundation, along with an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


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