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Macy's 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year Awards Gala

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WHO: Hundreds of Florida teachers, school administrators and education leaders will gather for the announcement of this year's Macy's/Florida Department of Education's Teacher of the Year.

Deborah Norville, Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of Inside Edition, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart along with Macy’s EVP Regional Director of Stores Dennis Witte will announce the name of this year’s top educator in Florida.

WHAT: The 2017 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year will be announced at the gala event. The winner is chosen from more than 190,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. The top educator is selected on the basis of superior ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The most important qualification is the teacher's exceptional capacity to inspire the love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

The five teacher finalists are:

- Ninth through 12th grade creative writing teacher Precious Symonette from Miami Norland Senior High School in Miami-Dade County.
- Math and science coach Amy Miller from Kissimmee Elementary School in Osceola County.
- Electricity teacher Donald Blake from Marchman Technical College in Pasco County.
- Third grade math teacher Jessica Solano from Highlands Gove Elementary School in Polk County.
- Music and band teacher for sixth through eighth grade Laurie Zentz from Switzerland Point Middle School in St Johns County.

The 2017 Teacher of the Year will receive a $20,000 award from The Department of Education and Macy’s along with an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The new Teacher of the Year will also serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State. 

WHEN: Thursday, July 14, 2016, 6:30 PM (EST) 

WHERE: Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando, 6050 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819. To livestream the event, visit "https://youtu.be/YnHhSIY-wxc" on YouTube. Select and click "2017 Florida Teacher of the Year." The event will begin livestreaming on July 14 at 6:25PM EDT through the completion of the ceremony at approximately 8:30 - 9PM.