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Today was the final stop for the surprise patrol.

Last but certainly not least, congratulations to our District 7 finalists for the 2022 Polk County Teacher and School Related Employee of the year:

  • Jennifer Campbell — Teacher of the Year finalist, reading teacher, Lake Gibson High
  • Jacquelyn Mulford — School-Related Employee finalist, finance secretary, Auburndale High

Brief profiles of these two finalists can be found below (see italics). Photos from today’s surprise patrol can be found on our Facebook page.

The PCPS surprise patrol has now recognized our finalists from all seven districts, and the overall winners will be announced at the Inspire Awards, which will take place on Jan. 20, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The Polk Education Foundation and PCPS’ Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships collaborate to present this annual event.

During the event, nominees will be recognized with video tributes and receive sponsored gifts. The Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year will receive a cash prize generously donated by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

Platinum sponsors for the event include Lakeland Automall and MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

Finalist Profiles, District 7

Jennifer Campbell — reading teacher, Lake Gibson High, District 7 finalist for Teacher of the Year

At Lake Gibson High, Campbell plays an essential role by helping students earn the reading requirements they need to graduate.

“One of the first conversations that we have is that they are not defined by the score they receive on any test … but by the effort they give and the positive attitude they portray,” she says.

As students tackle the objectives they need to graduate, Campbell hopes they’ll also develop positive feelings about reading.

“Additionally, my aspiration is that they will handle any challenge in life the same way: create a goal and take necessary steps until achieving success,” she said.

Campbell serves as a teacher mentor and heads the reading department at LGHS. She also pioneered an initiative that allows colleagues to visit and observe each others’ classrooms as a way to pick up new ideas to benefit students.

Campbell tries to stay involved with students outside of the classroom as well, serving as a senior class sponsor to help with awards, graduation and other activities.

Jacquelyn Mulford — finance secretary, Auburndale High, District 7 finalist for School-Related Employee of the Year

Mulford is the money maven at Auburndale High, but administrators say her true value is being a “very special person who devotes herself wholeheartedly to the school community.”

In addition to handling her own duties, Mulford is quick to lend a hand in the school’s main office and guidance department. Even when things get hectic, she keeps her cool and helps wherever needed.

Mulford is involved in the community beyond school, serving with local organizations for causes that include Alzheimer’s disease, neighborhood beautification and efforts to assist students in need at local schools. Every year she also organizes and hosts a Christmas luncheon with a volunteer Santa and gifts for all children who attend.

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