Physical Education Teacher Keith Young was named FSDB Teacher of the Year and Administrative Assistant II Farrah Selleck was named School-Related Employee of the Year for the 2018-2019 academic year. Also honored were six FSDB Teacher of the Year finalists, listed at the end of this story. The campus-wide employee recognition ceremony took place on December 15, 2017 with school personnel and family members in attendance. The two honorees and six finalists were also recognized at the February 23, 2018 meeting of the FSDB Board of Trustees.
We are very fortunate at FSDB in being able to attract a wide range of highly qualified teachers and staff members,” noted FSDB President Dr. Jeannie Glidden Prickett. “It is a great pleasure to recognize the outstanding nominees, and to witness how their diverse backgrounds, training, dedication, and joy of teaching and learning inspires our students and enriches the FSDB community.”
The Teacher of the Year program under the state Florida Department of Education recognizes and honors the contributions of outstanding classroom teachers who have demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. The School-Related Employee of the Year program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they create for their schools and students.
FSDB TOY Honoree 2018-2019
Keith Young is a Physical Education Teacher who works with kindergarten through eighth grade blind and visually impaired students in the Blind Elementary-Middle School. His professional journey began with service in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years. Now in his eighth year at FSDB, Young has several degrees in hand from the University of West Florida – Bachelor’s in Physical Education, Master’s in Educational Leadership, and Master’s in Physical Education; he is currently working toward an Ed.D. in Physical Education.
Young is passionate about teaching physical education at FSDB “because there are unique challenges to teaching blind and low vision students. Since there is little to no visual access to incidental learning, I have to adapt and provide accommodations to my students who may have achievement gaps in physical literacy. As I see my students learn and grow, I feel that I’m growing as a person and educator. Teaching at FSDB has allowed me to do outreach through national and state organizations where I can show other educators what has been successful with my physical education program.” Young reports that this month he will receive the SHAPE America Southern District’s Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. He is currently a coach for the USA National Para Taekwondo and USA National Deaf Taekwondo teams. Young was also selected as the USA Team Leader for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
In describing his educational philosophy, Young places “students first, students last, students always.” He states that “Every decision an educator makes should have the students in mind. Since I teach classes from kindergarten to eighth grade, the lesson focus moves continuously from teacher-centered instruction to guided discovery to student-centered instruction. Every day, I make it a point to check for understanding to ensure that my students have a voice. The student learning outcome that is most important to me is being physically literate while gaining independence.” When asked how students would describe him, Young said “passionate, caring, and supportive,” all of which are accurate!
FSDB SREOY Honoree 2018-2019
Farrah Selleck is Administrative Assistant II with the Career Development Department and works with blind/visually impaired and deaf/hard of hearing students. Now in her second year at FSDB, her businesslike but friendly personality endears her to students and staff members alike.
Selleck assists high school students with building their resumes, assessing their career skills, exploring career pathways, developing their career portfolio in addition to interview practice and consultation, job application assistance, and more. She added, “We also host career-related workshops for students who work after school on campus to help them implement what they’ve learned once they graduate or leave FSDB.” When asked how students would describe her, Selleck said “attentive, supportive, and a role model,” qualities that are borne out in her positive influence in working with students.
When asked who a source of inspiration in her life was, Selleck said, “My grandmother. She passed away of cancer when I was 14, the summer before I entered high school. Despite the fact that she’s been gone for nearly 11 years now, I am the woman I am today because of her. She inspired me to work hard and focus on my academics while I was in high school and it paid off – I was the Valedictorian of my high school class (Selleck graduated from FSDB in 2011). She may not be here physically, but she remains in the back of my mind in everything I do in life; she is my motivator and role model.”
Passionate about her work with students, Selleck stated that “As FSDB alumnus, I aspire to see students achieve their dreams and goals they have in life. As a Deaf person, I want to be able to inspire and prove to Deaf students that they are able to do anything they want in life as long as they set their minds to it. Seeing them develop and succeed beyond their expectations is very satisfying.”
FSDB Teacher of the Year 2018-2019 Finalists
- Sheryl Bray is a Blind Elementary-Middle School teacher who works with third- to fifth-grade blind/visually impaired students.
- Teresa Buffolino is a Blind High School Science, Social Studies teacher who works with ninth- to 12th-grade blind and visually impaired students.
- Richard Malcolm is a Deaf High School math teacher who works with ninth- to 12th grade deaf and hard of hearing students.
- Kathy Pyle is a Deaf Middle School reading specialist who works with sixth- to eighth-grade deaf and hard of hearing students.
- Edith “DD” Stein is a Blind Elementary-Middle School Social Studies teacher who works with sixth- to eighth-grade blind and visually impaired students.
- Jessica Stultz is a Deaf Elementary School teacher who works with first-grade deaf and hard of hearing students.
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.