Booker Middle School educator wins Beginning Teacher of the Year award from a state council

Donna Heath the third teacher at that school to receive the honor

Donna Heath. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools
Donna Heath. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools

A Booker Middle School English teacher has received the 2015 Beginning Teacher of the Year award from the Florida Council of Teachers of English (FCTE), the Sarasota County Schools have announced.

Donna Heath is the third Booker Middle teacher to win the award from the FCTE, a news release says. Joanna Fox and Christopher Pauling were honored in previous years, the release adds.

Heath began working for the Sarasota County School District in 2003 as a media specialist, the release continues. When the district eliminated such positions in 2013 as a budget-cutting measure, Heath made a decision to pursue another path in education, the release notes.

Pauling, Heath’s colleague and friend, said in the release, “You can imagine what it was like for Donna to dedicate herself to becoming a teacher after being a media specialist for 10 years. She took it seriously and pursued her master’s degree. She has grown with experience and knowledge, has made well-received presentations to the FCTE about modern teaching practices and strategies, and is applying them in her classroom.”

Heath’s presentations to the FCTE were on the topics Life after Bullying: Young Adult Novels Lead Teens on the Road to Recovery and Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Multicultural Literature as Informational Text, the release adds

“She teaches a wide range of students, from struggling readers to gifted readers,” the release points out. “Her extensive knowledge of young adult literature and her background as a media specialist [have] helped Heath teach her students to appreciate good writing.”

“After being inspired by the fine teachers in my daughters’ classrooms, I decided to begin my journey to become a teacher,” said Heath in the release. “The constant support of my husband and daughters keep me striving every day to be the best teacher I can be for my students. I hope my passion for literacy and lifelong learning will inspire my students to love reading and will help them be successful in their lives.”

Heath is scheduled to receive her master’s degree in secondary English education from the University of South Florida in Tampa in May 2016, the release notes.

Booker Middle School is located at 2250 Myrtle St. in Sarasota.