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PCPS is proud to announce our District 7 finalists for Teacher and School-Related Employee of the year. Congratulations to:

– Natalie McSwain, Teacher of Year finalist, Spanish teacher, Lake Gibson High

– Andrea Hancock, School-Related Employee of the Year finalist, testing paraeducator, East Area Adult School

Brief profiles of these two finalists can be found below. Photos from today’s prize patrol are available on the PCPS Facebook page.

PCPS is recognizing finalists from all seven districts, and the overall winners will be announced at the Inspire Awards on Dec. 7 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, finalists 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. Gold sponsors include: Aramark, Boswell & Dunlap, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Mosaic, Tampa Electric Company, Publix Super Markets Charities, Orlando Health, and Legoland Florida Resort.

Finalist profiles:

Natalie McSwain, Lake Gibson High, TOY

As a Spanish teacher, McSwain stands out for her excellent communication skills, helping to translate important information for Spanish-speaking parents so they are kept informed. She also innovates through her classroom environment, which has no desks — students sit in chairs arranged for discussion groups and write on clipboards as needed.

Lake Gibson administrators say they often take other teachers to McSwain’s classroom to observe her techniques. She also is heavily involved in school activities and professional development events, and has served as LGHS’ first-ever girls lacrosse coach. McSwain is “adored” by the LGHS community and considered a “force of nature.”

Andrea Hancock, East Area Adult School, SRE

Administrators at East Area Adult School describe Hancock as a “dynamo.” She is a paraeducator who has a gift for helping students improve their testing and computer skills; when they succeed, she is there to celebrate their progress.

Hancock is dedicated to her work and campus, making herself available as a resource for students and staff. Colleagues say she has an infectious, positive energy and knows how to make everyone feel valued.

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