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Pinellas County teacher named 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year

Sarah Ann Painter is a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary school and says teaching is her calling.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Service, advocacy, and passion. 

Those were the three commitments that Sarah Ann Painter made to her fellow educators as she accepted the 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year award.

Painter, along with the superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, the school board chairperson, and other colleagues gathered for a ceremony Thursday in Orlando.

The fifth-grade Eisenhower Elementary School teacher says being an educator was her calling, and she wants to leave a legacy.

"Once a Painter, always a Painter" is a classroom mantra she shares with her students at the beginning of each school year to ensure they know they're always a family.

Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Grego described Painter as "the epitome of a teacher leader." She was also acknowledged Friday on Twitter by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"Sarah Ann has made a big difference in the lives of her students and is a role model for teachers everywhere," DeSantis wrote.

Painter was one of five finalists for the award – and there is no surprise as to why, being that her passion goes beyond just teaching inside the classroom.

She is the chairwoman of the School Advisory Council, representative for English Language Arts and serves as school liaison for the extended school day program.

Now, she will be adding the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education to her list of specialties. She will visit schools around Florida to share best practices with fellow educators.

Painter has been teaching for 18 years. She holds a master's degree from the University of Florida.

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