Meet your 2023 Educators of the Year! (Blog image)

Meet your 2023 Educators of the Year!

January 31, 2024Lindsay Rothfeld

Nearpod and Flocabulary are excited to introduce the 2023 Educator of the Year Award recipients. Read on and join us in celebrating the outstanding achievements of our five distinguished Educators of the Year!

We’re thankful for the impact each of the ten finalists makes within their schools, among their students, and across their communities. Their dedication is the cornerstone of the Nearpod family.

It is with great excitement that we introduce our five distinguished Educators of the Year to you!

Nearpod’s 2023 Educators of the Year

Breaking Barriers

Creates equitable, inclusive learning environments and tackles obstacles head-on.

Asia Hutchings

Asia Hutchings - Community Connector Winner
Title I Lead Teacher, Florida
AMIkids Gainesville

Asia Hutchings, a Title I Lead Teacher at AMIkids Gainesville, a program for juveniles involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice, single-handedly plans and delivers a comprehensive curriculum, including math, science, language arts, social studies, vocational education, and physical education.

Beyond her academic contributions, Asia’s ability to build rapport and empathize with students facing drug abuse and traumatic experiences is commendable. Her efforts to introduce innovative learning tools like Flocabulary and hands-on projects like hydroponic and aquaponic systems significantly enhance the learning experience.

Community Connector

Brings people in the educator community together to collaborate and grow.

LeNeshia Markey

LeNeshia Markey Breaking Barriers Winner
7th-Grade ELA Teacher, Louisiana
Albert Cammon Middle School

LeNeshia Markey, a seventh-grade English language arts teacher and team leader, has made a profound impact at Albert Cammon Middle School by securing vital resources and inspiring events that promote education, health, and personal growth, including:

  • Collaborating with Capital One to provide school supplies and financial assistance
  • Arranging a visit from the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team to promote education and healthy living
  • Partnering with the sheriff’s department to implement a behavioral intervention initiative for young girls

Flocabulary’s Favorite

Deserves the ultimate *mic drop* for using Flocabulary in extraordinary ways!

Caroline Espinet

Caroline Espinet Flocab Fav Winner
Special Education Teacher, New York
Long Beach Public Schools

Caroline Espinet has embraced Flocabulary to create engaging and culturally relevant lessons for her special education students, especially the Week in Rap, to connect their passion for music to current events.

Beyond her classroom, Caroline is committed to spreading the benefits of Flocabulary through professional development sessions for educators in her district and Long Island. She emphasizes the importance of culturally relevant teaching and actively contributes to the school’s inclusive culture by spearheading major events like The Heritage Project and Celebrating Black History Through Music.

Magic Maker

Brings magic to the classroom by going the extra mile to foster a love of learning in students.

Eddy Rey Castellanos

Eddy Rey Castellanos Magic Maker Winner
IB Chemistry Teacher, Florida
Marion County School District

Eddy Rey Castellanos brings excitement to learning with initiatives like “Chemistry Day Celebration,” empowering students to participate in experiments with accomplished chemists, highlighting the practical applications, and discussing topics like the role of women in science and the challenges of pursuing scientific careers.

Her dedication to her students’ academic and personal growth is evident through her active community involvement and innovative teaching methods.

Nearpod’s North Star

Champions Nearpod with other teachers and is the go-to for Nearpod support and innovative ideas.

Scott Nicks

Scott Nicks North Star Winner
Middle School Science Teacher, Florida
St. Lucie Public Schools

Scott Nicks has exemplified excellence in implementing Nearpod in his science classroom. His daily use of Nearpod has not only made learning more engaging and accessible for his students but has also significantly boosted science testing scores across multiple schools in the district. Scott has proven that successful Nearpod implementation can lead to top results on district and state assessments. 

A strong advocate for using Nearpod to empower ALL learners to reach their full potential, Scott also focuses on specialized settings such as self-contained ASD (autism spectrum disorder) classrooms, as well as spaces to support ELL students.

His leadership in professional development has made him an invaluable resource to his peers by leading professional development sessions for both Nearpod beginners just getting started and advanced Nearpod users.

And a big shout out to our five runner-up finalists!

We’d like to spotlight our five additional finalists who have made significant contributions to their communities. 

Breaking Barriers Finalist

  • Amara Pascuito, 1st-grade Teacher, New York – Celebrated for her foundational work in early childhood education

Community Connector Finalist

  • Joseph Camputaro, 5th-grade Teacher, Florida – Recognized for his exceptional community-building efforts within the educational landscape

Flocabulary’s Favorite Finalist

  • Micah Wolfe, Language Arts Teacher, Oklahoma – Acknowledged for his engaging and innovative use of Flocabulary to enhance language arts education

Magic Maker Finalist

  • Amanda Cornet, Orchestra Teacher, Indiana – Delivered musical instruction that’s become a cornerstone of her students’ artistic development

Nearpod’s North Star Finalist

  • Ashley Yergin, Instructional Tech Coach, Georgia -Seamlessly woven technology into the fabric of learning

Congratulations, educators!

A round of applause to all our winners for their passion, commitment, and inspiring efforts in education! Each recipient is awarded $300, an upgraded Nearpod and Flocabulary subscription, and a personalized shirt to celebrate their achievements.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all educators who devote themselves to making a positive, lasting impact. We see and appreciate everything you do.

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