October 16, 2017
Teachers of the Month and Employee of the Month for October were honored at the Wakulla County School Board Meeting on October 16, 2017.
Teachers Ginni Brown, Sara Lovestrand, and employee Tonya Montague were selected by their peers to be recognized for their roles in helping Wakulla County remain an academically high-performing school district.
Medart Elementary School’s Virginia “Ginni” Brown grew up in Monticello, Florida and attended Aucilla Christian Academy from pre-kindergarten through her high school graduation.
She then attended North Florida Community College where she graduated with her AA (Associate of Arts) degree, going on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Flagler College. In addition, she has earned the Reading Endorsement and the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Endorsement.
Brown notes, “What I like best about my job is watching my students learn and grow. The look on their little faces when they finally master whatever they have been working so hard on is priceless!”
Entering her fourteenth year of teaching, she has had plenty of experience enriching the lives of her students. Beginning in 2003, she taught pre-kindergarten at Aucilla Christian Academy for five years.
In 2009, she moved to Wakulla County, her husband Josh’s hometown, and was hired by Principal Jackie High to work at Riversink Elementary School. She then went to teach at Medart Elementary in 2015 where she started as a third grade teacher and now teaches kindergarten.
“Every day in kindergarten is amusing and exciting,” she says. “No two days are the same and we have to be prepared for whatever!”
Circling back around, she now works with Medart Principal Stan Ward, a colleague from her Riversink Elementary days.
“I have had the pleasure to know Ginni Brown first as a classmate at Flagler College, second as a co-worker when we both taught at Riversink Elementary, and now as her supervisor at Medart Elementary,” says Principal Stan Ward.
“Mrs. Brown consistently achieves success in every aspect of her job. I believe that is because she maintains the right balance of professionalism, humor, and dedication in teaching her students all they need to know to be successful.”
He adds, “Teaching, in itself, is an adventure every day, but being a kindergarten teacher takes you on an adventure unlike any other. I am proud to say that she is one of my teachers, and I look forward to seeing all she will accomplish in the future.”
Sara Lovestrand of Wakulla Middle School is also Teacher of the Month for October.
In her eighth year of teaching, Lovestrand has a variety of talents to offer her students from years of experience in the classroom, on the softball field, and on the volleyball court.
Lovestrand is certified to teach Mathematics Grades 6-12, Physical Education Grades Kindergarten-12, and ESE (Exceptional Student Education) Grades K-12.
A Wakulla High School graduate, she then went on to earn her AA degree from Chipola College, her Bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College, and a Master’s degree from Texas Women’s University.
She taught Math for two years in Orange County Public Schools after graduating from Florida Southern College. “I transferred from teaching down in Orlando to come back home closer to family and friends. I have always wanted to teach and coach in my hometown,” she says.
In 2012, Lovestrand was hired to teach Math courses at Wakulla High School and coach, leaning on her experience playing volleyball and softball at WHS and playing softball in college.
“I enjoy helping others in life. This job enables me to help students daily in a vast array of situations,” Lovestrand notes.
Now in her fourth year at Wakulla Middle School, she is using all of her areas of study: teaching Grades 6-8 PE and Math, and leading the WMS Volleyball and WMS Softball Teams as head coach of both.
“One of the most enjoyable experiences I have found in this field of work is when your past students return to visit and share what their time with you as a teacher meant to them. I know what all my amazing teachers meant to me, and I feel truly grateful to give that positive educational experience back to my students.”
WMS Principal Tolar Griffin observes, “She comes to work every day with a smile. It is obvious she cares for her students and works hard to make a positive impact in their lives. Extremely talented, she excels at teaching both PE and Math, making it fun for her students to improve their skills. As head volleyball and softball coach, her teams are always competitive. WMS is fortunate to have Coach Lovestrand on our team.”
Shadeville Elementary School’s Tonya Montague is the October Employee of the Month.
A product of the Wakulla County School System, she attended Shadeville Elementary for Grades K-6 and graduated from Wakulla High School when it housed Grades 7-12.
Montague is in her 25th year of contributing to education. “After 12 years of running a home daycare, I decided to change jobs and wanted to continue to work with children,” she says. “I applied with WCSB for a Teacher Assistant/Paraprofessional position and was hired to work in an ESE classroom.”
She is now in her third year as a Data Entry Clerk for Shadeville Elementary School.
Giving credit to her “Shadeville family”, she says, “We have an amazing faculty and staff. Our students are great to see every day and work with as well.”
Shadeville’s Principal Nicholas Weaver adds, “Tonya is an amazing person with an incredible work ethic. She managed the huge job of organizing the Shadeville Fall Festival, keeping everything on track and on time. She continues to impress me with her attention to detail in everything she does. She truly is an asset to the Shadeville family.”
Superintendent Bobby Pearce and the Wakulla County School Board members awarded plaques to these three at the October 16 School Board Meeting.
“It is so telling when faculties and staffs show up to a weeknight School Board Meeting to honor their colleagues. That these awards are earned by votes from their peers is the key. They represent all of the hard-working faculty and staff members in our school system and we sincerely congratulate them and thank them for jobs well done,” says Superintendent Pearce.