Skip To Main Content

Elevating Excellence Award: January

Group of five adults holding a large check

Kenny Seybold, Principal Critcher, Maria Simao, Superintendent Mittelstadt, Teresa Rizzo

Superintendent embracing prize winner

Maria Simao and Superintendent Mittelstadt

Two adults facing right in conversation

Maria Simao and Principal Critcher

Three adults standing in conversation

Maria Simao, Principal Critcher, and Superintendent Mittelstadt

Group of adults surprising winner of an award

Kenny Seybold, Maria Simao, Principal Critcher, Teresa Rizzo, Superintendent Mittelstadt, and Dave Freeman

Elevating Excellence Award: January

January’s "Elevating Excellence Award" winner made a special connection with a student when they were at a low point in his day.

Maria Simao is the site coordinator for our Custodial Department at Old Kings Elementary School.

Earlier in January, Ms. Maria saw the kindergartener upset because he had lost his lunch box. English is his second language, and he was having trouble asking for help. Ms. Maria was able to speak to him in Portuguese. It just so happened she had an unused Old Kings Elementary School lunch box, so she found a good home for it. 

The young boy’s mother sent a note which read, in part, “Thanks for being so good to him. He tells me that you are his aunt and that he loves you. I don’t know you, but my son is happy, so I already like you.”

Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt surprised Ms. Maria earlier this week to thank her for making those connections. “When you are able to reach a child, connect with them when they aren’t having the best of days, and then turn that around? That is something he will remember for the rest of his life.”

Flagler County Education Foundation Director Teresa Rizzo was also on hand to support this monthly honor.

The following is a list of the other nominees who have gone above and beyond to impact our students and district best.

We also want to congratulate all the nominees for the January Elevating Excellence Award:

  • Joanna Hughes: Kindergarten Teacher, Wadsworth Elementary School
  • Bruna Roddy: MTSS Specialist, Indian Trails Middle School
  • Thomas Adams: Field Infrastructure, District Technology
  • Dr. Chris Stefancik: Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability, Teaching and Learning
  • Nina Youngman: 4th Grade Teacher, Rymfire Elementary School
  • Gillane Browne: Paraprofessional, Belle Terre Elementary School
  • Ray Francis: Health Sciences Teacher, Flagler Technical College
  • Jennifer Brooks: Art Teacher, Buddy Taylor Middle School
  • Felice Grushkin: IS Support Specialist, Indian Trails Middle School
  • Sara Novak: Assistant Principal, Matanzas High School
  • Gladys Bevacqua: Secretary, Plant Services
  • Madelaine Martinez Ortega: Custodial Manager, Bunnell Elementary School
  • Tokay Perugia: School Social Worker, Flagler-Palm Coast High School
  • Rhanjill Hill-Smith: CafeEDU Assistant Manager, Indian Trails Middle School