Mosley teacher gets $5,000 award as Teacher of the Year finalist

Panama City -- Loca McCalister-Cruel could hardly contain her surprise at finding out she was selected as one of five finalists for Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year. Certainly helping, the honor comes with an oversized check for $5,000, and a Macy’s gift card for another $500.

The surprise announcement came during an ice cream social at Mosley, scheduled to celebrate the positive results the students and teachers achieved this year for the 10th Grade FCAT Writes test. Principal Sandra Harrison called on McCalister-Cruel, a twelfth grade Literacy Coach, and broke the good news.

Now, McCalister-Cruel will compete with the five other Florida finalists for Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year. That winner will be announced during a ceremony on July 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando’s Universal Studios.

Today, Mosley High School shared in McCalister-Cruel’s win, with the school also receiving a $1,000 check.

The eventual Teacher of the Year winner will receive awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State.

The five finalists announced Tuesday were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community.

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