Published: Jul 08, 2011 7:04 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 08, 2011 6:04 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla -  Alvin Davis, a teacher from Miramar High School in Broward County, was selected as the Florida Department of Education/Macy’s 2012 Teacher of the Year.

In addition to being named Teacher of the Year, Mr. Davis will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for education during the 2011-12 school year where he will visit schools throughout Florida to share information about educational opportunities and challenges in the state.

“Our teachers are the most influential factor in the education of our students and their successes have the unique capacity to shape the future of our children and the nation,” said Education Commissioner John L. Winn.  “Mr. Davis’ dedication to empowering Florida students to reach their goals is a testament to this capacity, and I am honored to recognize him as the 2012 Teacher of the Year.”

Additionally, Mr. Davis will represent the Sunshine State in the national Teacher of the Year awards program, and will receive a cash prize of $10,000 from Macy's, a customized trophy and an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy's also awarded the other four finalists – Lora McCalister-Cruel from A. Crawford Mosley High School in Bay County, Belinda Nease from Southside Elementary School in Nassau County, Stephanie Thetford from Fort Walton Beach High School in Okaloosa County, and Tracy Staley from Ponce de Leon Elementary School in Pinellas County – a $5,000 check and a $500 Macy's gift card. Each of the finalists' respective schools was also presented $1,000 to be used toward educational programs.

“Teachers generously give of themselves everyday to educate children, but elevate and empower future generations to achieve great things,” said Karin Darmanin, Macy’s Senior Vice President, Regional Director of Stores. “Macy’s is thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate with and honor Alvin Davis for his dedication and commitment to education and to always helping students reach for the stars.”

The Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year is chosen from district nominees by a selection committee comprised of teachers, principals, parents, and the business community. Florida's top educator is selected on the basis of demonstrating outstanding accomplishments in teaching, the ability to communicate with other educators and stakeholders, and exceptional professional and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.