Palm Beach County school district honors top principal, assistant principal, teacher, school-related employee

Winners advance to state level for recognition

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The School District of Palm Beach County and Education Foundation of Palm Beach County named the 2023 principal, assistant principal, teacher, and school-related employee of the year during the second annual Celebrate the Great awards outdoors ceremony at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium.

Earn honoree earned a trophy and a check worth between $1,500 and $2,000, depending on the category.

The Winners:

Principal of the Year – Dwayne Dennard, Pahokee Middle-Senior High School.

Dennard helped combine the middle school and high schools. He has been principal since 2018 at the combined school after serving as assistant principal at the high school, beginning in 2013 and three years later joined Pahokee Middle School as its principal. The school has a 100% graduation rate.

Assistant Principal of the Year – Caelethia Taylor, Lake Worth Community High School.

Taylor was hired as an assistant principal at the school in 2013. The highest graduation rate achieved at the school was 74% until the Class of 2022 became the first one to achieve a 90% graduation rate.

“The accolades are just the bonus, but I think the real reward comes from the daily growth that I see in teachers and students,” Taylor said. “I think that’s the biggest reward.”

Teacher of the Year – Joselyn Leon, Belle Glade Elementary School

Before becoming a teacher, Leon said she knew that working with kids was something she loved to do. Teaching was the answer to her prayers in 2017. She is a fifth-grade teacher at the school. “I am one of those people who’s lucky enough to say that they love what they do, so what I do doesn’t feel like work,” Leon said. “It’s a way to impact the world through working with children.”

School-Related Employee of the Year – Kathy Suarez, Village Academy in Delray Beach

Suarez works with families who rely on a variety of county resources working as a service facilitator. She also is translator between staff at the school and families.

“I believe in hard work and I believe in giving my employer my best work,” Suarez said.

The winners advance to the state level as part of the Florida Department of Education recognition programs.

“Education is a team sport, and this selection of finalists are a group that any district would be happy to have on their team,” Superintendent Michael J. Burke said. “We are your best choice, only because of our employees.”

“After all the noise, all that’s left is a teacher, a student, and a connection,” James Gavrilos, president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County said. “This night is about you. We call it Celebrate the Great. You 16 nominees are the greatest of the great.”

Allen Cone, WPTV Channel 5

Source: Palm Beach County school district honors top principal, assistant principal, teacher, school-related employee