Andrew Hutcheson, physics teacher at Matanzas High School, was named 2017 Teacher of the Year, and Brandon Seminara, assistant director of the Flagler County Youth Center, was named 2017 Employee of the Year for Flagler County.
The buzz outside the Flagler Auditorium, before the 2017 Teacher and Employee of the Year award ceremony, was, ‘How are they going to top last year’s event?’"
The 2016 event featured Superintendent Jacob Oliva dressed as ‘Super Teacher’ flying across the stage, and 2015 Employee of the Year Brun Hudson made his entrance on roller skates.
As the curtains parted, the crowd erupted in cheers. In shadow, on stage, Oliva, Matanzas Principal Earl Johnson, and Matanzas Assistant Principal Ken Seybold, dressed in tuxedos, silver sequined hats, and carrying canes, were posed in chairs and surrounded by the FPC dance team.
The dancers all kicked up their heels to “Putting on the Ritz,” an appropriate song for the night’s theme “A Touch of Class.”
Oliva credited the FPC dancers with helping the three men with the dance routine on little notice.
“We like to kick it up a notch,” Oliva said. “We sprang the idea on the FPC dance team two days ago.”
The nominees continued the high beat as they, and their school escorts, waltzed, cha-chaed, and boogied down the aisle when their names were called. Cheering them on were sections of supporters with balloons, banners and pom-poms. An “I love you mom” sign was raised high as Rymfire Elementary’s Charlotte Bradley approached the stage.
Fourth-grade Old Kings Elementary student Chloe Skoglund and her mom Vallery, clutched a bouquet of flowers and a pack of Extra spearmint gum (because she’s extra special) for teacher Kalena Kinsman.
“She makes everything fun, but she still teaches you the things you need to be taught,” Chloe said about Kinsman.
DeAndre Harris, the 2016 Employee of the Year, introduced each Employee of the Year in his traditional energetic style, admitting he wasn’t quite ready to give up the title.
Kimberly Weeks, last year’s Teacher of the Year for the county, told about a former student who had succeeded against all odds and returned to tell Weeks about the difference being in her class made in her life.
Week’s advice to the teachers in the room was; “Hold onto your stories and keep changing lives.”