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Photo Gallery | Manatee School District announces award finalists

Manatee County, Florida -- On Dec. 17, eight extremely talented and devoted Manatee County School District employees were given a surprise visit from Superintendent David Gayler and other district guests who officially announce they were finalists for the EdVantage Education Awards.

The EdVantage Education Awards celebrate excellence in education in Manatee County by selecting an "Educator of the Year" and a "Support Employee of the Year".

The finalists are listed below:

Educator of the Year

Carrie Rainwater, Science Teacher, Nolan Middle School

Deborah Miele, Math Teacher, King Middle School

Jason Schiessl, Theatre Arts Teacher, Southeast High School

Zadda Bazzy, Music Teacher, Oneco Elementary School

Support Employee of the Year

Diane Popovice, Registrar, Mills Elementary School

Joni Wallace-Brightbill, Secretary II, Matzke Support Center

Sandy Heaton, Senior School Secretary, Wakeland Elementary School

Todd Persinger, Head Custodian, Anna Maria Elementary School

The finalists will be honored and the winners will be announced at the EdVantage Education Awards on Wednesday, March 6, beginning at 7 p.m. at the new Manatee Technical Institute campus, located at 6305 S.R. 70 East.

The Educator of the Year will then move on to the Florida Department of Education Macy's Teacher of the Year competition. The Support Employee of the Year will advance to the Florida School Related Employee of the Year competition.

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