Teacher Appreciation Month

National Teacher Appreciation Day is celebrated on the Tuesday of the first full week of May.

This year that happens to be May 2nd 2023. In 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim National Teachers’ Day. Congress declared March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day. The National Education Association continued to observe National Teacher Day on the first Tuesday in March until 1985. The National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to make the Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day.

A week isn’t enough to celebrate the dedication and work of educators. That’s why Educators for Excellence’s National Board of Director turn each May into Teacher Appreciation Month. It’s a chance to recognize excellent educators and the amazing work they do on behalf of their students and ensure their voices are heard on the issues that matter to them.

Dr. Elicel Similien Miami Norland super star teacher and mentor to young men
Meet Elicel Similien, a Haitian American educator of 10 years, currently teaching 12th grade intensive reading to students at Miami Norland Senior High. Mr. Similien learned the importance of having a proper education at an early age after having to translate information to his parents who had a limited education growing up. This ultimately pushed him to succeed academically throughout his educational career and sparked his interest in becoming a teacher. Although Mr. Similien is primarily a classroom teacher, he wears many hats at Norland High. He serves as a sponsor for the Kings of Glory Mentoring Program and 5000 Role Models of Excellence.
Kings of Glory Mentoring Program Sponsor - The purpose of the K.O.G. mentoring program is to establish a support system for African American and minority male adolescents attending public schools in an urban community. The mentoring program aims to pair its participants with educated and professional men in their communities who seek to develop high achieving youth. The program will provide the young men with both academic and social activities to enhance their leadership skills, decision-making skills, and their ability to think critically.
5000 Role Models of Excellence - While serving on the School Board of Miami-Dade County, FL, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson noticed a pattern of young minority boys either being incarcerated, entering the drug trade, or dropping out of school. Not willing to sit back and allow society and poverty to destroy the lives of our children, Wilson began to challenge the men of Miami-Dade County to intervene in the lives of “at-risk” youth. Thus, in March 1993, initiated by the School Board of Miami-Dade County, the 500 African American Male Role Models of Excellence was born. Wilson’s vision gained immediate response from the community and continues to serve as a major force in the transition of raising young boys to become men

Susan Chue is a “Championship Winning Coach” and Referee mentors students at Rockway Middle
She’s a Championship winning cross-country coach and an NCAA referee, even earning a recognition as a finalist for referee position in the WNBA. Still, what is most impressive is her passion to mentor her student athletes at Rockway Middle. This former college basketball athlete pushes her students to reach their full potential and set a high standard for excellence.

Precious Symonette Miami Norland Senior High teacher uplifts student voices in and out of the classroom
There was no doubt Ms. Precious Symonette was going to be a teacher. She has always had a love for learning and finds the concept of sharing knowledge with others fulfilling. As the creative writing teacher at Miami Norland Senior High, she uses a transformative approach to helping her students grow their ideas and uplift their voices uniquely. It was this teaching style that inspired sponsoring the Freedom Writers Club. What do they do? Well, it’s a school club where members meet during, before and after school to read, discuss and compose different writing pieces, including poetry that focus on civic responsibility, experimental learning, and uplifting student voices. Ms. Symonette has a very happy spirit and believes that everyone should learn how to “breathe life” into others through positivity and encouragement.

Victor Grimaldo Educator incorporates Japanese culture into teaching
Victor Grimaldo started his career in education after he graduated college and moved to Japan where he was a teacher for 5 years. Here he discovered his love for creating that special connection with his students to be that motivating figure in their lives. 4 years later, Mr. Grimaldo continues to inspire students at McMillan Middle school as a math teacher, athletics director, activities director, and founder of the school’s Japanese club. In this club he incorporates the unique Japanese culture he witnessed while living abroad and makes learning fun through Japanese literature, customs, and even food! Although these responsibilities may overwhelm most people, Mr. Grimaldo sees it as an opportunity to bring the joy back to learning and allows students that attend his school to find their own sense of belonging. He believes that the teaching profession truly allows you to make an early impact on the upcoming generation and serve as a guide along their own journey to life.

Janelle Corado Exceptional Students Teacher uses the environment to engage her students at Riviera Middle
Janelle Corado is an ESE teacher at Riviera Middle School. Ms. Corado understands that she needs to engage, challenge and educate her exceptional students on a daily basis. For her, getting her students actively participating on the environment is the key. For example, she created a hydroponic garden maintained by her ESE students. On a weekly basis, her class feeds nutrients to the plants, observes the pH balance of the water they use, and even harvest fruits and vegetables that have been used in their school’s cafeteria. These ESE students are all part of the schools “All Star” program which tends to students with intellectual disabilities.

Claudia Walden Middle School teacher brings health science to a new level
Claudia Walden is the Health Science teacher at McMillan Middle School who has a passion for teaching and helping others! Before her teaching career began 28 years ago, she started in a clinical lab where she made diagnostic kits for common diseases. Today she brings that love for science to life in the classroom by having her students learn how to draw blood, take vitals, and take CPR and EKG training. She even heads the schools HOSA program and won rookie advisor of the year for all middle schools in Florida with this program that helps build important leadership skills for students in the health science field.
Dr. Tiffany Israel teaches at Broward College in Creative Writing
As an educator, Dr. Tiffany Israel has been honored to work with students of all ages - from middle school through university. After completing her MFA in Creative Writing, she began pursuing her love of literature by teaching at institutions such as Valencia College and Daytona State University. Upon returned to South Florida, she completed her PhD in Pedagogy and Literature. Currently, Tiffany teaches at Broward College, and devotes her free time to blogging about her life as a first time mom to a raging toddler.
Britney Ivey Thompson is a CAP Advisor at Miami Norland Senior High School
A proud graduate of Miami Northwestern Senior High. Britney is an alumnus of the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and a Minor in Health Science. Britney also graduated from Grand Canyon University with Master’s in Curriculum/ Instruction in Reading and Second Master’s in Educational Leadership .
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