Riverview High Coach ‘BJ’ Ivey named Sarasota County Teacher of the Year for 2017

His mother is a past Teacher of the Year at the same school

(From left) Sarasota County Schools Professional Development Specialist Dick Steinman, Teacher of the Year William ‘BJ’ Ivey, Superintendent Todd Bowden and Education Foundation of Sarasota County President Jennifer Vigne gather at the Teacher of the Year program. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools

Riverview High School social studies teacher and basketball coach William “BJ” Ivey Jr. was named 2017 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year on April 5.

Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden made the announcement during the annual luncheon celebration held in the district. The Sarasota County Schools’ High School Teacher of the Year, Ivey was selected from among three finalists. The ceremony honoring educators was held at Michael’s On East in Sarasota.

The other finalists were Holly Houghton-Brown, Tatum Ridge Elementary School fourth-grade teacher and the district’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year; and Christine Braun, Pine View School social studies teacher, who was named the district’s Middle School Teacher of the Year, a news release points out. The individual Teachers of the Year for each school also were honored at the April 5 event. A partnership of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County School District produces the celebration, the release explains.

“When revealed as Teacher of the Year, Ivey hoisted the award like a basketball trophy,” the release says. Jennifer Vigne, president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, compared the moment to the thrills of “March Madness,” the NCAA’s annual collegiate basketball championship series, the release adds.

During the program, Dick Steinman, professional development specialist for the district and selection committee member, noted Ivey “‘is not just a basketball coach, but a life coach,’” the release notes.

Accepting the award, Ivey said of his students, “‘I pray every day to have a positive impact on these kids.’” He added that, while he is honored to be named Teacher of the Year, “‘I really don’t even believe I’m the best teacher in my own home. That would be my wife, Samantha, who teaches fifth-grade math and science at Lakewood Elementary,’” the release continues.

“Ivey also talked about the influence of his mother, Jo Ivey, who attended the celebration,” the release says. “A retired district teacher who coached cheerleading and taught Spanish at Riverview, Jo Ivey was a past Teacher of the Year at that school and was National Cheerleading Coach of the Year, the release points out.

BJ Ivey is a native of Sarasota who has taught at Riverview for 11 years, the release says. His subjects have included not only social studies but also International Baccalaureate World History Honors and Advance Placement psychology, the release adds. He has served as the head coach for both the girls and boys basketball teams during his time at Riverview, and he has been the Nike Team Florida basketball coach. Additionally, the release continues, he was named Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Class 8A Coach of the Year in 2016.

Ivey earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction from National Louis University in Tampa, the release points out.

“The Teacher of the Year program recognizes educators in Sarasota County who exemplify dedication to student learning and innovative instruction,” the release explains. The district Teacher of the Year will receive a $2,500 cash award from the Education Foundation, sponsored by Sunset Automotive Group; the two runners-up each will receive $1,250, the release says.

Ivey will represent the Sarasota County School District in the Florida Department of Education-Macy’s Teacher of the Year program and will serve as a spokesperson for, and representative of, the teaching profession at various events until the next district Teacher of the Year is chosen, the release notes.