BCPS honors top teacher, principal, assistant principal and school-related/District employee at annual Caliber Awards Ceremony
By Nadine Drew
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) announced its top teacher, principal, assistant principal and school-related/District employee during the 2018 Caliber Awards Ceremony at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, February 1, 2018. The annual ceremony recognizes and honors the dedication and hard work of the District’s outstanding educators, leaders and staff.
The event was attended by more than 1,300 guests to honor the nearly 550 talented nominees and 16 extraordinary finalists vying for their respective coveted titles.
Congratulations to all of the 2018 Caliber Awards winners!
Teacher of the Year Tammy Freeman, Monarch High School
In her more than 10 years as an educator, Tammy Free-man’s passion for her work has earned the respect and admiration of both her students and colleagues. An English teacher who also serves as chair of the Language Arts Department, Freeman has shown outstanding ability as both collaborator and leader. She was named Monarch High School Teacher of the Year, in recognition of her efforts in challenging and encouraging young learners to grow as critical thinkers. “I empower my students by not only instilling skills that will help them become successful in life, but by helping them see how important their voice truly is,” Freeman says. This accomplished educator encourages her students to challenge themselves as independent learners and critical thinkers. Her commitment to personalized instruction builds students’ confidence in their abilities and a strong foundation for lifelonglearning.
Principal of the Year Michelle Kefford, Charles W. Flanagan High School
Michelle Kefford is in her seventh year as principal of Charles W. Flanagan High School. “When educating the next generation, it is critical that we provide exciting and relevant learning experiences for all students,” says Kefford. “My journey as a principal began by stressing to all staff it was imperative that we subscribe to a personalized approach to learning.” She also emphasizes the importance of students taking ownership of their learning. Quality education is a family tradition for Kefford, who says its value was instilled from a very young age. She recalls her mother urging her to teach and says, “I am grateful every day that I took her advice.” Kefford is described by her colleagues as dedicated and relentless in her commitment to ensure that the students she serves receive a first-class, high-quality education.
Assistant Principal of the Year Winfred Porter, Jr., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
For the last five years, Winfred Porter, Jr. has served as assistant principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and for more than a decade, he has leveraged student ingenuity and curiosity by placing them in real-world situations. “It’s up to educators to find unique ways to prompt students to soak up information and apply it in unique and creative ways that impact the world,” he says. One of Porter’s strengths is the ability to build positive relationships with his students. “Building relationships with students is like opening a checking account. When it comes time to make a withdrawal, you must have something in the bank,” he says. “As an administrator, there are many opportunities to make withdrawals through discipline and corrective inter-actions, but I have made it a priority to make as many depo-sits of encouraging words and positive interactions, to ensure a productive understanding is developed. At the end of the day, students respect me for being consistent with them.”
School-Related/District Employee of the Year Frinette Volquez, Office Manager/Confidential Secretary, Hallandale High School
Frinette Volquez is the confidential secretary at Hallandale High School. A 13-year veteran of BCPS, she began her career as a cafeteria aide. She believes that every student has the potential to become something special. Volquez says that “by providing students with a safe and stimulating environment, where they are free to express their feelings, ideas, and opinions without judgement. We empower them to unlock their full potential to do great things.” Volquez’ colleagues say she is a true team player who always goes above and beyond, and fosters positive attitudes to bring out the best in others.
For the first time in Caliber Awards history, and thanks to the sponsorship of the Broward Education Foundation in partnership with Toyota of North Miami, the Teacher of the Year was awarded keys to a 2018 Toyota Camry SE.