Published: May 26, 2010 7:09 PM EDT
Updated: May 26, 2010 4:09 PM EDT

The School District of Collier County’s six Employees of the Year were officially recognized during a regular meeting of the District School Board of Collier County on Thursday, May 20, 2010.

      The district’s School-Related Employee of the Year is Danielle Gilman of Veterans Memorial Elementary School. Danielle is a safe schools assistant responsible for providing a safe, fun, and nurturing environment during both lunch and recess. While her job title says that she is an assistant, several at the school call her a leader, someone other staff members look to for support and guidance.

      The Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Robyn Covino, a first grade teacher at Naples Park Elementary School. The school’s nominating committee said that Ms. Covino’s enthusiasm for reading is contagious. She is described as a dream lifter, someone who teaches students that they are on the brink of greatness, but that greatness will look different for each and every one of them.

       The Middle School Teacher of the Year is Gina Rose, art teacher at North Naples Middle School. The nominating committee said that Mrs. Rose has a magical way of raising the curiosity level of her art students by inviting them to learn about the concepts as she introduces them to masters of that particular form of art. 

      The High School Teacher of the Year is Mary Beth Merrill, an Exceptional Student Education/inclusion teacher at Gulf Coast High School. Those nominating her said that Ms. Merrill creates lessons that are hands-on, practical, meaningful to the student, and adapted to meet their needs and styles.

      The Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year is Germaine Leonard, commercial foods/culinary arts teacher at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology (LWIT). Her nomination form states that Chef Leonard assigns tasks to be done by students based on their own level of experience. The kitchen at LWIT provides a stimulating work environment for students to thrive in. 

      The district’s nominee for Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year is Susan Ellard, career and technical education health science teacher at Gulf Coast High School. Her education philosophy is that it is critically important for all teachers to become involved in reading instruction across the curriculum in order to prepare our students to compete in the global marketplace.