Breaking News
More () »

2 Tampa Bay educators named as finalists for Teacher of the Year

Members of the Florida Department of Education surprised both teachers at their schools on Thursday.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — Congratulations, Mrs. Johnson and Ms. Painter!

The two Tampa Bay area teachers were surprised Thursday by members of the Florida Department of Education to announce they are one of five finalists for 2022 Teacher of the Year.

Kari Johnson, a kindergarten teacher at Fruitville Elementary in Sarasota County, was in the middle of class when she got the news. Photos from the moment show Johnson covering her face in a complete state of shock over the news.

"Kari Johnson has dedicated her fifteen-year career to providing high-quality education to her kindergarten students," the DEO tweeted. 

Sarah Ann Painter, a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School in Pinellas County, was also teaching when she received the great news. Painter was presented with balloons and a banner while her students cheered for her. 

"Sarah is inspired by her students and their ability to overcome any obstacle in order to be successful," the DEO tweeted.

Each year the agency names five finalists from the more than 185,000 public school teachers in Florida during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Finalists have also been named in Volusia, Duval and Sumter counties.

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter