Darnell-Cookman Middle/High teacher Scott Sowell is 2012 Florida Blue Teacher of the Year
Jacksonville, FL - Dr. Scott Sowell was named the 2012 Florida
Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 21st Annual
EDDY Awards. Sowell, who teaches Advanced Placement Environmental
Science and Forensic Science at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School,
was selected from five outstanding finalists.
Sowell, a University of North Florida graduate who earned a
Ph.D. from Florida State University, has 12 years of teaching
experience. With a deep appreciation for the impact his lessons
have in the "here and now," Sowell works to excite, engage and
empower his students to understand the world around them.
His students learn science by doing science. Instead of
putting the lecture before the lab so that his students show him
what he said was correct, Sowell places the experience before the
lecture so that his students create their own learning by exploring
real-life scientific situations. He develops a strong community of
learners in his classroom, fostering a climate of collaboration,
empathy and kindness where critical thinking and creative
expression are valued.
In addition, Sowell is a novice-teacher mentor and
professional development facilitator. His passion for his practice
is evident inside the classroom as well as in the time he gives
back to bettering his profession and the field of scientific
The Teacher of the Year program is a joint venture of the
Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Schultz Center for
Teaching and Leadership. The Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of
the Year will then go on to compete for the state-wide title.
For more information about Sowell and all 163 school-level
teachers of the year, go to www.eddyawardsjax.org.
The Rotary Clubs of Duval County - the organization that
founded the EDDY Awards tradition - provides individual cash awards
and establishes five funds at the Jacksonville Public Education
Fund for each of the finalists to use for a project at their
"Tonight we truly saw how valuable these gifted professionals
are to our students and our community," said Cindy Edelman,
Chairwoman of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board of
Directors. "Scott Sowell is a brilliant educator and we look
forward to the experience and insight that he will bring to the
table during his tenure as Teacher of the Year."
Like every Teacher of the Year, Sowell will join the
Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board of Directors as an
ex-officio member for the next year until the 2013 Teacher of the
Year is named.
"Judging Duval County's Teacher of the Year restores my faith
in the great American invention of public education for all
students," said Deborah Gianoulis-Heald, President of the Schultz
Center Board of Directors. "Great teachers never stop learning how
to reach the students they genuinely love."
"On behalf of Duval County Public Schools, I applaud Scott on
achieving this elite honor in being named the Duval County Teacher
of the Year," said Duval County Public Schools' Superintendent Ed
Pratt-Dannals. "His ability to connect with students is unmatched,
and his dedication is proven through his students'
The Teacher of the Year program has evolved over the last two
years to become a full celebration of the teaching profession.
Changes include the introduction of the Wells Fargo Excellence In
Teaching Seminar Series, which will allow eight outstanding
Teachers of the Year to share best practices and demonstrate live
classroom instruction. The online series is accessible to all 8,000
teachers in our county. And in 2011, nearly 20 Teachers of the Year
participated in the two-day Mentoring Impact Symposium, which
provides an opportunity for teachers with three or more years
experience to serve as mentors for their colleagues.
The other four finalists - as well as all 163 school-level
teachers of the year - were also honored at the EDDYs, which took
place at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. The
Christy J. Constande, teacher at Chets Creek Elementary
Cindy Fitch, teacher at Oak Hill Elementary
Kate Houston, teacher at First Coast High School
Lauren Martin, teacher at Pinedale Elementary
The finalists were chosen from 15 semi-finalists after
interviews with the District Selection Committee. Teachers of the
year from 163 schools were nominated, and evaluated based on their
nomination packet, which included information about their
professional development, classroom practices and knowledge of
current educational topics.