ORLANDO- Krista Stanley, 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year and Yearling Middle School math teacher, spoke at the 2022 Teacher of the Year Gala on July 22 and gave her thoughts on what she has learned as her term comes to an end.
Krista spent much of the last year touring the state as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, promoting and celebrating contributions from Florida teachers. In August she returns to Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee as an instructional coach.
“It has been an honor to serve as the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year,” began Mrs. Stanley. “I have spent the past year in awe of the incredible work happening in education across our beautiful state. This year has been unlike any other. But what we’ve seen is resilience, compassion, grit, and most of all, the drive to provide high quality instruction for all students.”
Pinellas County elementary teacher Sarah Ann Painter was selected as the 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year at the gala, and will be the next Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education after Krista.
Krista’s selection in 2020 marked the first time in 30 years that a teacher from the Okeechobee County School District was awarded Florida’s Teacher of the Year.
“I’ve had the opportunity to learn, grow, and reflect on my teaching practice,” continued Mrs. Stanley. “One highlight of my year was the chance to award one of my former students, Mykah Stotler, with a two-year Florida College Plan Scholarship. Moments like those transforms lives, and I continue to be humbled by this opportunity.”
On April 7, 2021, Krista surprised Mykah in her classroom at the Okeechobee Freshman Campus with the news that she was getting a two-year scholarship worth $8,000.
“We came up with all this criteria and I got recommendations from teachers,” said Mrs. Stanley shortly after the announcement. “Everything Mykah’s teachers said was something I thought about her when she was in my class in sixth grade. Her commitment to continuously growing is like no other. It’s such a privilege to be able to give her this.”
“I was wondering what was going on,” said Mykah on seeing her former sixth grade teacher enter her classroom at the Freshman Campus. “And then she started describing the student and I was wondering if it was me or someone else.”
“Then she said my name and…,”said a grinning Mykah before trailing off.
“And your face has been red ever since,” Mykah’s parent Casey Rogers added, finishing her sentence.
At the gala, Krista described some of her trips as Ambassador for Education, such as observing a culinary arts classroom in Baker County helping students learn real world skills and a third grade classroom in Palm Beach in which students were hard at work developing their literary capability.
“I was able to witness the incredible education our students are experiencing across our diverse state,” explained Mrs. Stanley. “And what was evident was that each day Florida students have the chance to engage in content, courses, clubs, and activities that are related to their interests. These opportunities provide students that help them develop the skills that they need to be successful in the classroom and later in life.”
“Thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to represent educators across our great state as the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year,” concluded Mrs. Stanley. “I am forever grateful.”