Published: Mar 29, 2011 8:50 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 29, 2011 5:50 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Collier County’s Public Schools recognized six employees Tuesday as employees of the year.  They received the news in surprise classroom visits.

The honorees are:

  • Social Studies teacher Susan Soulard of Gulf Coast High School – Collier County nominee for Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year.  Susan was also named district’s Social Studies Teacher of the Year for the 2006-07 school year.


  • Physical Education teacher Tim Coyle of Tommie Barfield Elementary School – Collier County Elementary School Teacher of the Year.  Tim is seen by many of his students as a role model.  Several have stated, “When I grow up, I want to be like Coach Coyle.”


  • Exceptional Education teacher Cathy Crowley of North Naples Middle School – Collier County Middle School Teacher of the Year.  Cathy emphasizes the importance of good citizenship.  A common occurrence that can be seen throughout the school include her students asking other students if they need help carrying books or lunch trays. 


  • Earth Space Science teacher Valerie Valdes of Gulf Coast High School – Collier County High School Teacher of the Year.  In her teaching strategies, Valerie uses real world situations to cover topics such as energy, climate change, and ecology.  In doing this, her students better relate to the subject matter. 


  • Business Education teacher Barbara Spenik of Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology – Collier County Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year.  With the downturn in the economy, many of Barbara’s students are adults who were previously employed in a different occupation.  Last year 89% of her students successfully completed their program and sought employment in the local workforce.


  • Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Groce of New Beginnings-Immokalee – Collier County nominee for Florida School-Related Employee of the Year. Jeff has a commanding presence coupled with compassion.  You might find Jeff searching for clothing or food for some of his students and getting home late in the evening because he was out after work delivering items to his students. 


The six, representing their peers, will be officially recognized at the May 17 School Board Meeting.