Panama City - A Broward County high school music teacher is the 2012 Macy's/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year. But Alvin Davis wasn't the only teacher honored Thursday, two of Northwest Florida's finest were among the finalists. More than 180,000 teachers work to educate our children in the state of Florida. Five were in the running for the state's top educator and 2 of those finalists are from right here in the panhandle.
NewsChannel 7's cameras were there when Mosley High School literacy coach Lora McCalister-Cruel learned she was a teacher of the year finalist back in May. Macy's surprised her with the news during an F-CAT ice cream party. Fort Walton Beach High School math teacher Stephanie Thetford got the news after a drum line arrived in her classroom unannounced. Both teachers received $5,000 from Macy's and their schools also received a $1,000 reward.
Debra Norville emceed Thursday's gala in Orlando which included a one on one interview with McCalister-Cruel. In the end the highest honor went to high school music education teacher Alvin Davis of Miramar High School in Broward County. "This again is a wondering feeling. I don't just teach them to be the best they can be, I lead by example. I'm just trying to influence them to be good citizens in this country," said Davis.
The Florida Teacher of the Year is chosen by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee. Macy's has sponsored the program for 23 years.