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Lee County's "Teacher of the Year" now named one of the best in Florida

Lee County's "Teacher of the Year" now named one of the best in Florida

CREATED Feb 10, 2012

SOUTH FORT MYERS - Dawn Voyer of Cypress Lake Middle School has been chosen as one of five finalists to compete for the 2013 Macy's/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award.

As Patrick Nolan explained in his report on the 6pm news tonight, Voyer was informed of the honor during an energetic pep rally at the school today.

A representative of Macy's presented her with a $5,000 check and a $500 gift card.

The school also received a check for the sum of $1,000.

Voyer cried as she told 4 In Your Corner what her job means to her.

"This is my life, this is what I love," she said tearfully.

"I was shocked and overwhelmed to learn I among the top five in the state."

"I just think of myself as a regular teacher," she said.

When asked what she'll do with the $5,000 prize money, Voyer said she knows just what she'll do.

"I need a new car," she said.

When asked what kind, she said, "A mini-van of course, I'm a mom!

The winner of the 2013 Macy's/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced during a ceremony on Thursday, July 12.

The event will be hosted by Inside Edition host Deborah Norville at Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk.

Each of the nominees will be presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their schools.

The winner will recived an all expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. 

The winner will also serve for one year as a Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities.

Just a few weeks, Patrick Nolan reported on the big announcement from Lee County Public Schools - she had been named the Lee School District's Teacher of the year. 

Back then, Ms. Voyer was surprised with a visit at her school. 

Look at the achievement of her students and you’ll see that they consistently have the highest average on the District’s Common Core Exams and their scores exceed the state average on the reading standards portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Every day her students are involved in an activity that is an application of the learning standard being taught. For Ms. Voyer, the textbook is really a reference point that provides a spring-board to the highest levels of learning. 

In her class, students have become experts in coaching one another in their cooperative groups, working through simulations and role-playing – all part of the learning process. Ms. Voyer illustrates for all what great teaching looks like and the power at teacher has to influence a child.

“Dawn is the great teacher that every parent dreams of for their child and every student remembers,” said Jeananne Folaros, Principal, Cypress Lake Middle. “No matter how high the bar is set, Dawn Voyer will jump over it!”

For Ms. Voyer, engagement and cooperative learning play a crucial role in her history classroom. Walk into her class on any given day and you’ll see a room buzzing with activity and noise. Students are questioning one another, hypothesizing and analyzing information – she knows they need constant activity, engagement and interaction to bring history to life. In her class, students are encouraged to discover and explore history rather than simply read about it.

One of Ms. Voyer’s best qualities as a teacher is that she keeps in mind that her students are just that – students. They are children, and while she may be teaching serious subject matter she presents it in a way so they still enjoy coming to class every day. 

“I try to create lessons that reach as many students as possible at one time,” Ms. Voyer said. “They get to use all of their senses – and I love hearing them say how fast the class flies by or how they can learn and have fun at the same time.” 

The other educators who were finalists for Lee County Teacher of the Year were:

•    Javier Garcia, Spanish Teacher (grades 9-12), Cypress Lake High School;
•    Debra Horn, Third-grade teacher, Cape Elementary School;
•    Kellen Mills, Art Teacher, Paul L. Dunbar Middle School;
•    Theresa Morosco, Exceptional Student Education Life Skills Teacher, Ida S. Baker High. 

The following sponsors provided gifts for the Lee School District Teacher of the Year:

Barbara B. Mann - 2 Tickets to an Upcoming Performance
The Veranda - $50 Gift Certificate
South Seas Island Resort - 3 Day / 2 Night Stay
Harmon Photography - Two 5x7 Photos and one 8x10 Photo
Ruth Messmer Florist - Floral Arrangement
Fred’s Award World - Specially Designed District Name Badge
Mark Loren Designs, Inc. - 4k Gold Lapel Pin
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre - 2 Tickets for Upcoming Dinner & Show
Norman Love Chocolates - 25-Piece Signature Candy Box
Seminole Gulf Railway - 2 Tickets
Fresh Market - Food Basket