ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida’s 2014 Teacher of the Year is a language arts teacher from Central Florida.

Dorina Sackman, an ESOL teacher at Westridge Middle School in Orange County, was announced as the winner in an Orlando ceremony at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios, Thursday night. The ceremony was hosted by the Florida Department of Education and Macy’s.

Sackman and four other finalists were selected in May from among 72 school district nominees: English teacher Nancy Smith of Citrus High School in Citrus County; reading teacher Apryl Shackelford of Northwestern Middle School in Duval County; English, theater history and dance teacher Patricia Gair of Cypress Lake High School in Lee County; and marine science teacher Katrin Rudge of Riverview High School in Sarasota County.

According to a bio provided by Macy’s, Sackman has been teaching non-native English speaking students in Florida for the past 14 years. She treats her classroom as a stage for these children to celebrate their diverse backgrounds while still learning English. Her proficiency in five languages helps her to communicate with parents to help facilitate involvement in their child’s education.

Sackman faces the constant struggle of introducing students to concepts that are not only new, but in a different language. Sackman has used the Common Core Standard to add depth to her lesson plans and often collaborates with other ESOL classrooms to help show students how each lesson relates outside the language arts subject. Collaborating with different subjects in her ESOL classroom allows her students to use a higher level of thinking and to communicate better to grasp concepts and apply classroom learning to the outside world.

Sackman will receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, along with an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State.

During the event, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state were recognized and presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school, funded by the Macy’s Foundation. This year’s finalists were chosen from more than 189,000 public school teachers by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee consisting of teachers, principals, parents and the business community.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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