Miami-Dade County Set to Announce Teacher of The Year

NBC 6 Education Reporter Ari Odzer has a rundown of the finalists vying to be the county's top educator this year.

(Published Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018)

What to Know

  • Four teachers from across the county will vie for the title of top educator in 2017-18.

  • The winning teacher will be able to drive home from Thursday night’s ceremony in a brand-new car.

It’s always satisfying to be recognized by peers for outstanding performance, no matter what profession it happens to be. Thursday night, Miami-Dade Public Schools will announce its Teacher of the Year. These are the nominees:

Aaron Taylor teaches fourth grade at Henry Reeves Elementary School. He grew up in the same Liberty City area, and says he’s humbled to be nominated for the award. Taylor says his students are the reason for his success and he says they give him motivation every day.

“The children, the passion that the kids have, just to see them grow, to see them start so young and grow up and see how they evolve and become these wonderful people the community and society needs,” Taylor said.

Molly Winters-Diallo teaches social studies at Alonzo and Tracey Mourning Senior High School. Both of her parents were teachers, so she’s a natural.

“There is not another career, I think, that I would find more fulfilling than teaching, because I feel like you have the ability to make an impact in your students’ lives each day,” Winters-Diallo said.

Judy Rodriguez left a better-paying job in pharmaceuticals 20 years ago and has never looked back. She says she feels a special calling to work at the COPE School, which is an alternative education center.

“All of my students are either pregnant teens or teen moms, so for me, it’s not just about educating them, it’s about putting them in a better position to care for their children, so I feel as if I’m impacting two generations simultaneously,” Rodriguez explained.

Katina Perry-Birts made the improbable leap from school security guard to teacher. She says volunteering in a classroom inspired her to go back to college and make the career change. Now she feels inspired every day by her fourth grade students at Florida City Elementary School.

“Every day, every day there’s a challenge, it’s not saying every day’s easy, but seeing that light bulb come on with them is very rewarding,” Perry-Birts said.

The winning teacher will be able to drive home from Thursday night’s ceremony in a brand-new car.