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UNF College of Education and Human Services announces 2020 Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence recipients

UNF College of Education and Human Services Announces 2020 Gladys Prior  

Awards for Career Teaching Excellence Recipients

Four local teachers each awarded $15,000 for their commitment to education


Jacksonville, Fla. - The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) presented the 2020 Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence to four local Jacksonville teachers today.

UNF’s COEHS manages this gift and coordinates the annual award that presents $15,000 to each teacher. The Gladys Prior Awards are among the largest monetary awards for teachers in the nation.

The 2020 winners include Pamela Adams, Crown Point Elementary School; Mary Mickle, Waterleaf Elementary School; Edward Moore, Tiger Academy; and Jill Sullivan, Mayport Coastal Middle School.

The Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence was established in 1998 by Gilchrist Berg, founder and president of Water Street Capital, to honor teachers with lifelong careers in education and inspiring students. The award is named after Gladys Prior, Berg’s fourth-grade teacher at Ortega Elementary School. To date, Berg has given more than $2 million to honor Jacksonville teachers.

In an effort to surprise the teachers with the good news, principals in the Duval County Public School district invited faculty and staff to join for a special Zoom meeting where the winning teachers were announced in front of their peers. Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey, UNF COEHS dean, was also in attendance to make the special announcement.

“The Gladys Prior Awards allow us to show our sincere appreciation by recognizing those outstanding teachers who have been dedicated and committed to educating our local youth and making a profound impact in their students’ lives,” stated Yendol-Hoppey.

Together, the awarded teachers have a combination of more than 70 years of teaching experience.

Pamela Adams is a fifth-grade math and science teacher who has spent all of her 16-year teaching career at Crown Point Elementary School. She caters lesson plans for ESOL, gifted students and students with varying learning abilities. She also volunteers at parent/teacher and Title 1 events and serves as the school’s lead TV production club sponsor. Adams is known for sharing lesson plans with colleagues and inspiring others to seek continuous improvements. Each new lesson comes with a hands-on experience for students to learn from, with former students remember making “junk fish”, participating in market days and building models of the water cycle.

Mary Mickle has been a teacher for 29 years with the last 22 years as part of the Duval County Public Schools as an elementary school music teacher. She is currently at Waterleaf Elementary School where she starts every class by singing hello to each individual student with the students singing back in response. Mickle leads the honor chorus, recorder club and is the music director for the school play. Not only does she teach and inspire children at Waterleaf, she also mentors UNF interns and teaches adults.

Edward Moore is a fifth grade English Language Arts teacher at Tiger Academy. Students, parents and colleagues give him the highest accolades, expressing their profound gratitude for developing rapport with each of his students and supporting them outside of the classroom, even many years after graduation. Now in his fifteenth year of teaching, he still believes in attending every sporting event, performance and graduation he is invited to by his previous students. Moore serves as a mentor for teacher candidates and is a founding member of BADD (Brothers Accountable Driven and Determined).

Jill Sullivan has been a teacher at Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School for the last 11 years. She is the science department chair and lead coastal science teacher. She is described as a leader amongst her peers and as a role model by her students. She is known for her kindness and openness with her students, her passion for the sciences and her deep belief in teaching through hands-on experiences. She leads her students out of the classroom and outside for research and class projects often, including walks to Sherman’s Creek to study water quality or maintaining the schools many aquariums.

UNF’s College of Education and Human Services serves as an integral and dynamic contributor to the education, human services and sports communities in the Northeast Florida region and beyond.