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Last but certainly not least: PCPS is proud to announce our remaining two finalists for Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year. From District 3, congratulations to:

– Kevin Wells, Teacher of the Year finalist, agriculture teacher, Mulberry High

– Lisa Nichols, School-Related Employee of the Year finalist, paraeducator, Spessard Holland Elementary

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

PCPS has now recognized our 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:

Kevin Wells, Mulberry High, TOY

One word sums up the impact Wells has had at Mulberry High: transformative.

The FFA instructor and head football coach is passionate about the many roles he fills at MHS. He cares deeply about the academic progress and personal well-being of his students and players, and parents can turn to him as an advocate for their children.

Wells also serves as a mentor for other MHS educators, and he regularly volunteers his time to assist with extracurricular events. In addition, he played a significant part in creating a dual-enrollment program at MHS that has resulted in more students earning college credits.  Administrators say Wells pours his heart into the school and its community.

Lisa Nichols, Spessard Holland Elementary, SRE

Nichols was a longtime, dedicated PCPS teacher before she retired and decided to continue her career as a paraeducator. She consistently goes above and beyond to make sure her students’ academic and personal needs are being addressed.

Nichols uses her classroom teaching experience to organize engaging STEM activities, and she works with Spessard Holland’s teachers to provide extra support for struggling students. Teachers know they can turn to her for wisdom and guidance.

Most of all, Nichols stands out for her compassion for children. From kindergarten through fifth-grade, she is beloved by Spessard’s students.

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