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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Math teacher at Forest High School named Marion County’s Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Brown, a math teacher at Forest High School, was recently named Marion County’s 2024 Teacher of the Year at the 34th annual Golden Apple Gala in Ocala.

The event was orchestrated by the Public Education Foundation of Marion County and was held inside the Reilly Arts Center.

Brown, who teaches Geometry, is a 21-year teaching veteran who has been with Marion County Public Schools since 2015.

MCPS Golden Apple Teacher of the Yera finalist Jennifer Brown
Jennifer Brown, a math teacher at Forest High School, is Marion County’s 2024 Teacher of the Year (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

The award was announced at the end of the Gala, after recognition of all the School Based Teachers of the Year and Rookies of the Year, as well as speeches from all five 2024 Golden Apple recipients and the Rookie Teacher of the Year.

During Brown’s speech, prior to being named Teacher of the Year, she stated that she has been “privileged to work alongside some remarkable educators who have profoundly influenced how and why I teach.”

Brown continued by stating, “A thought-provoking question was once posed to me by a principal, and she asked, ‘If your class were an elective, how many kids would sign up?’ These words spoken over a decade ago still echo in my mind today, propelling me to infuse relevance and meaning into everything I teach.”

According to Brown, her math class today is “nothing like we experienced 30 years ago.” She stated that she has come to appreciate the challenging role of teaching in the 21st Century.

“I don’t just teach Geometry,” added Brown. “I teach children to believe in themselves and persevere, and to not give up.”

As Marion County’s reigning Teacher of the Year, Brown now advances to the state-level Florida Teacher of the Year Recognition program coordinated by the Florida Department of Education.

In December of 2023, the following four teachers also received Golden Apples and were in the running for Marion County’s Teacher of the Year award:

Timothy Mathews (Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks)

2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Timothy Mathews
2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Timothy Mathews (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

A drama teacher at Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks with a decade of experience, Timothy Mathews has spent the last three years with MCPS. He previously taught in Pasco and Pinellas Counties. His Bachelor of Arts in American Culture and Society is from Eckerd College while his master’s in Education comes from Concordia University-Portland.

Alysia Hoekstra (Maplewood Elementary School)

2024 Golden Apple Teacher of Year finalist Alysia Hoekstra
2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Alysia Hoekstra (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

Alysia Hoekstra, a fourth grade-reading teacher at Maplewood Elementary School, has spent her entire 16-year teaching career with MCPS. She has been honored three times for her teaching – twice before as her school’s Teacher of the Year and once as its Rookie Teacher of the Year. Her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication comes from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Miranda Brogan (North Marion High School)

2024 MCPS Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Miranda Brogan
2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Miranda Brogan (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

North Marion High School teacher Miranda Brogan has spent all seven years of her teaching career with MCPS. She teaches 10th, 11th, and 12th graders in her school’s Cambridge AICE Program (Advanced International Certificate of Education), an accelerated program for dedicated learners. She earned her bachelor’s in History from the University of Florida.

Stephanie Prisciandaro (Osceola Middle School)

2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Stephanie Prisciandaro
2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year finalist Stephanie Prisciandaro (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

A 19-year classroom veteran, Stephanie Prisciandaro teaches Reading Competency and Spanish and leads new teachers at Osceola Middle School. Her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Education come from the University of Florida while her master’s in Educational Leadership is from Saint Leo University.

Marion County’s 2024 Rookie Teacher of the Year

Also in December, a first-grade teacher at Greenway Elementary School, Carlie Schrimsher, was recognized as the Rookie Teacher of the Year in Marion County.

Carlie Schrimsher MCPS 2024 Rookie Teacher of Year
Carlie Schrimsher is Marion County’s 2024 Rookie Teacher of the Year (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

Schrimsher is in just her second year of teaching, and she is a Foundation Teacher-To-Be recipient. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the College of Central Florida.

At the conclusion of the 2024 Golden Apple Gala, Jenkins Auto Group provided Marion County’s newest Teacher of the Year, Brown, with keys to a new Subaru Outback and a free three-year lease. The local car dealer has been the presenting sponsor for the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program for more than a decade.

2024 Marion County Teacher of the Year Jennifer Brown
As Marion County’s Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Brown received a new 2024 Subaru Outback. (Photo: Marion County Public Schools)

To watch the gala in its entirety, visit the Marion County Public Schools YouTube page.

For more information, contact Meghan Magamoll (Executive Director of the Public Education Foundation of Marion County) at 352-671-4167, or visit the Public Education Foundation of Marion County website.