Joanna Norris, Associate Director Department of Public Relations (904) 620-2102
Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
Four Jacksonville teachers were surprised today as winners of the 2011 Gladys Prior Awards for Teaching Excellence. These awards, administered by the University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), were established in 1998 by Gilchrist Berg, founder and president of Water Street Capital, a Jacksonville investment firm. Dr. Larry Daniel, dean of the COEHS at UNF, presented each winner $15,000. To date, Berg has given 56 teachers more than $680,000.
The 2011 Gladys Prior winners are Susan Bailey, Sandalwood High School; Maria Victoria Schmidtt, Bishop Kenny High School; Frances Sullivan, Mandarin High School; and Barry Wilson, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
Susan Bailey, a teacher for 22 years,organizes a voter registration drive each year at Sandalwood High School to instill in students their responsibilities as American citizens. She took students to both the 2005 and 2009 presidential inaugurations to witness first-hand the lessons taught in her American Government classrooms.
She rallied her students to collect school supplies to help an inner-city school in another state and also organized a drive to increase PTSA membership 622 percent over four years. Bailey lives her commitment to service by offering students a safe place before and after school in her classroom, where she often provides food as well as support and comfort.
Maria Victoria Schmidtt has taught chemistry at Bishop Kenny High School for 14 years. This year, she will attend the National Science Fair with one of her students who will present his research. Schmidtt ensures that her students are successful by tutoring them one-on-one before school. Three days a week, she meets students after school to complete lab requirements of the Advanced Placement curriculum. Her Advanced Placement test scores exceed both state and national averages.
Schmidtt’s love of chemistry and her practical hands-on approach motivate her students to see its relevance in the world around them. As sponsor of the Science Club, she takes students to various science competitions/field trips and has co-authored a grant that resulted in equipment and laptops for science and math teachers.
Frances Sullivan, who teaches earth science and food/nutrition at Mandarin High School, is an advocate for student athletes. She started by preparing Friday night meals for football players who lived on the Northside and couldn’t get home and back in time for the football games. This activity and her concern for football players losing scholarships because of their grades led to the founding of the Adopt-a-Mustang program, which pairs each varsity player with a faculty/staff mentor who becomes the athlete’s on-campus parent.
Sullivan, a teacher for 19 years, has also organized an after-school study hall, where National Honor Society members tutor players and other students needing help. She also monitors players’ grades, taking swift action when necessary. Many college football players directly owe their success to “Mama” Sullivan.
Barry Wilson, a teacher for 21 years, teaches printmaking, drawing and painting at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he involves his students in collaborative community art projects. For years, he has led the school’s New View partnership with the Cummer Museum. One New View project resulted in a 30-foot mural of the Harlem Renaissance, which is on permanent display at the Clara White Mission.
Another project involved 150 students in a complex year-long study of the St. Johns River, resulting in a mural exhibited at the Cummer Museum, the Main Jacksonville Public Library and the Ritz Theatre.
Wilson and some of his students have created a garden at Douglas Anderson in a previously drab spot in front of the school. The garden has become an outdoor visual arts display, creative writing and science classroom as well as a place of tranquility for the neighborhood to enjoy.
For more information about the 2011 Gladys Prior Awards for Teaching Excellence, contact Lynne Raiser at email@example.com or at (904) 241-0974.
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