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Marion County to Announce Teacher of the Year Friday Night


Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, Public Relations Director

352.671.7555 ◊ FAX: 352.671.7735 ◊ CELL: 352.840.3265


Golden Apple Logo





MARION COUNTY – Marion County Public Schools proudly announces the 30th anniversary of the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Gala this Friday, January 24, in black-tie fashion.  The Gala is coordinated by the Public Education Foundation of Marion County. 


The 30th year celebration showcases the district’s five finalists for teacher of the year.  Each was recently surprised with a classroom visit from the Golden Apple caravan including Superintendent Dr. Heidi Maier, Public Education Foundation Executive Director Judi Zanetti, Marion County School Board members, and dozens of other district and community representatives.


Golden Apple recipients have at least four years of classroom teaching experience while rookies have three years or less.


Marion County’s 2020 Golden Apple teachers include:

  • Victoria Craig, a science teacher at West Port High School. She joined the district 16 years ago and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Biology from Florida Atlantic University.  Her master’s degree in Biology comes from the University of Nebraska–Kearney while her master’s in Educational Leadership comes from Saint Leo University.
  • Erin Darmody, the media specialist at Dunnellon High School. Darmody joined the district nine years ago and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Florida Gulf Coast University and a master’s in English Education from the University of Florida.
  • Lindsey Flanagan, a seventh-grade Civics teacher at Belleview Middle School. Flanagan joined the district in 2015.  Her academic degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in History and a master’s in Secondary Education – both from the University of Florida.
  • Euan Hunter, an International Baccalaureate (IB) Chemistry teacher at Vanguard High School. Hunter joined MCPS in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Edinburgh. He earned Post-Graduate Certification in Chemistry and Science from the University of Cumbria and received a master’s in Leadership and Management from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.
  • Katie Weston, a math, social studies, and AVID teacher at Liberty Middle School. She joined the district eight years ago and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of North Florida. 

All five Golden Apple recipients will share brief speeches about their teaching careers during Friday’s event.  Each will also be introduced by a current or former student of theirs.


Meantime, Elizabeth Rockey, from Saddlewood Elementary School, is Marion County’s 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year. She will also speak at Friday night’s event.  She is a third grade inclusion teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a master’s in Special Education from the University of Florida. 


Marion County’s 2020 Teacher of the Year will be announced during the event broadcast live from On Top of the World’s Circle Square Cultural Center near Ocala. 


Marion County’s 2020 Teacher of the Year also receives a pre-paid, three-year lease on a new car from Jenkins Auto Group in Ocala. 


The Golden Apple Gala airs live at 7PM on the Marion Education Channel and replays every Friday and Saturday at 7PM and Sundays at 2PM through February 29.  The Marion Education Channel is available on Comcast 99, Cox 12, and other local cable companies.  The event also streams live on the district’s YouTube channel (MCPSmedia).


For more information, contact my office or Judi Zanetti, executive director of the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, at 352.671.4167.

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